“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” at JANM

Entrance to the Hello Kitty exhibit at JANM | Photo courtesy of Hello Kitty, Facebook

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) presents “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” on view from Oct. 11, 2014 - April 26, 2015. Organized as part of the global icon’s 40th anniversary celebrations, “Hello!” is the first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective in the United States. The exhibition examines the colorful history of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture. “Hello!” includes 40 years of Hello Kitty artifacts, including rare and unique items from the Sanrio archives, and 40 contemporary artworks inspired by Hello Kitty and her world. To coincide with the exhibit, JANM is hosting panels, seminars, screenings and special events.

The Strand in Manhattan Beach

The Strand in Manhattan Beach

 |  Photo: Joshua Johnson

From here it's a straight shot to the landmark Manhattan Beach Pier - you’ll likely notice the bike path traffic beginning to thicken again heading towards the pier. Once you actually reach the pier it is advisable to walk your bike as there tends to be a lot of foot traffic of folks coming and going. Dozens of bikes will be locked up to the fences surrounding the pier and if you have a lock it might be a good idea to secure your bike and explore a bit.

The Manhattan Beach Pier has a stately elegance that makes it highly photogenic. The pier is a perfect mix between the bustle of the Santa Monica Pier and the simplicity of the Venice Beach Fishing Pier. There is even a small, hands-on aquarium in a rotunda at the end. Benches line the pier so have a seat and simply enjoy the ocean view. At dusk the lamps that line the pier light up, creating a cozy ambiance. Manhattan Beach Boulevard runs uphill and inland from the pier - parking, shopping and dining options radiate from it. The closest ones to the bike path include Brewco and The Strand House.

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Photo courtesy of Hello Kitty, Facebook

The first floor of “Hello!” is curated by Christine Yano, PhD, author of “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific,” and features memorabilia from throughout Hello Kitty's four-decade history. Jamie Rivadeneira, founder and owner of the Los Angeles pop culture boutique JapanLA, curates the Hello Kitty-inspired artworks on the second floor.

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Replica of the original Hello Kitty coin purse | Photo courtesy of Hello Kitty, Facebook


Hello Kitty first appeared on a small, clear vinyl coin purse that was priced for less than a dollar. Only one of the original purses is known to exist, and it’s kept in a secure vault at Sanrio’s headquarters in Japan. The legendary 1975 coin purse was on display at the first-ever Hello Kitty Con, which took place at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on Oct. 30 - Nov. 2, 2014. Many versions of that first coin purse have been created over the years, including a Sephora makeup bag inspired by the iconic piece. A replica of the original purse is on display in the “Hello!” exhibit at JANM.

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America's Next Top Model and Lady Gaga Hello Kitty dresses at JANM | Photo courtesy of Hello Kitty, Facebook


For Hello Kitty’s 35th anniversary, superstar singer Lady Gaga was photographed by Markus Klinko and Indrani wearing custom Hello Kitty outfits. One of them was a Hello Kitty plush dress styled by GK Reid, which is on display at the JANM exhibition.

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“Super Space Titan Kitty” at JANM | Photo courtesy of Chris Valle Photography, Flickr

“Super Space Titan Kitty”

Dozens of artists from L.A. and around the world have created artworks for the exhibition that were inspired by Hello Kitty. One of the most memorable is “Super Space Titan Kitty,” a giant statue created by Florida-based Colin Christian. The statue depicts Hello Kitty as a futuristic mecha anime character, complete with red bow, pink trim and stars. Another standout is Simone Legno’s “Kittypatra,” an Egyptian-influenced statue of Hello Kitty seated on a throne.

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Wall of Hello Kitty backpacks at JANM | Photo courtesy of Hello Kitty, Facebook


"Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" is a specially ticketed exhibition. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for youth ages 6–17, and free for children ages 5 and under. All admissions are based on timed entry and no re-entry is allowed. Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly encouraged.

Exhibition tickets for Oct. 11 to Dec. 31, 2014 are on sale now. Tickets for "Hello!" in 2015 will be available starting Nov. 24, 2014. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.janm.org/exhibits/hellokitty/tickets.

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