Global icon Hello Kitty celebrates 40 year anniversary

Little Kitty, Big Kitty: A giant statue of Hello Kitty overshadows a tiny plush version on display at the Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum located in Little Tokyo. The exhibit runs until April 26, 2015. Photo credit: Trevor Stamp

by Kristine Malicse, contributor

Hello Kitty fans of all ages are now able to enjoy a world of cute inside the Japanese American National Museum. The museum hosted one of the first large-scale Hello Kitty themed exhibits in the United States.

Appropriately called Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, hundreds of Hello Kitty items, such as vintage toys and rare collectibles, can be viewed. The first floor is filled with little rooms packed with memorabilia dating back to the 1970s. Everything and anything imaginable in Hello Kitty form can be found. From a Hello Kitty toaster, a cell phone charm collection, a wall of fashionable backpacks and even a Hello Kitty robot can be seen in the vibrant exhibit.

The two-story showcase also includes contemporary artwork and interpretations of the loveable character by Audrey Kawasaki, Paul Frank and more. Along with artwork, a special room is dedicated to couture gowns worn by Lady Gaga, and Japanese Lolita-style dresses featured for any Hello Kitty fashionistas.

The exhibit is meant to celebrate and showcase the international icon’s 40th anniversary. Along with the exhibit, special events take place during select days in December. Fans can also purchase Hello Kitty-themed items inside the museum gift shop. Another separate shop is located in the building across the museum.

The next upcoming event is the Hello Kitty Vintage Film Festival on Dec. 4th. Tickets to the exhibit can be purchased inside the Japanese American National Museum and special event tickets can be purchased both online www.jannm.org or in person. The exhibit runs from Oct. 11, 2014 to April 26, 2015.