Hello Kitty is no stranger to spin-offs and tie-ups. But this one is pretty innovative.
Sanrio’s iconic cat character has teamed up with Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company for an exhibition in central Tokyo featuring Kitty-chan in a series of different cosplay outfits, each representing the area or city where Fukoku has a regional branch.
There are 62 illustrations of Hello Kitty in various regional garb.
This is very much old Japan meets new Japan. There are large noren traditional split curtains hanging over the entrance.
The exhibits themselves hang from the ceiling on plain white panels against a chic white floor with an abstract map of Japan. The space is designed by Naoya Iwama.
Each regional Hello Kitty character features a costume, props or other motifs representative of the respective area or city in Japan.
Here is Hello Kitty Hakodate with its famous squid.
Kagoshima and a black pig
Maebashi and a daruma doll
Nagoya and its castle
North Osaka and takoyaki
Sapporo and skiing
The event is part of a general campaign by Fukoku using Hello Kitty as brand spokesperson. The insurance firm ran a poll contest to see which Hello Kitty regional character was the most popular. Surprisingly, the owl-themed Ikebukuro Hello Kitty came out top from the nearly 150,000 votes.
You can visit the show at the Fukoku Seimei Building (the Fukoku headquarters) at 2-2-2 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku in Tokyo. The exhibition runs until June 30th.