Meet Asako Kanda, the World’s Biggest Hello Kitty Fan

Hello Kitty has millions of fans around the world, but none are more in love with Sanrio’s iconic character than Asako Kanda. The 39-year-old receptionist from Japan has amassed a fantastic collection of over 4,500 Hello Kitty items.

Like many other girls of her generation, Asako’s fascination with Hello Kitty began during her elementary school days. At first, she just bought little things like pencils and erasers featuring the popular kitty, but by the time she turned 11 she was so obsessed with Sanrio’s creation that she made a Hello Kitty mug in her pottery class, and an embroided Hello Kitty apron for her home economics course. But she can’t be the only girl in the world who did this kind of stuff while growing up. But that’s the thing, while most other girls move on to idolizing boy bands or movie actors, Asako Kanda remained faithful to her childhood friend. “Kitty has always been with me, almost subconsciously,” she said in an interview a few years back. Some people call her infantile, other laugh at her bad taste, but none of this has ever affected her long-term love affair with Hello Kitty. She now holds the Guinness World Record for most Hello Kitty items, 4,519, as of August 2011.

As you can imagine, almost everything in the house of the world’s biggest Hello Kitty fan is pink. Apart from the thousands of fluffy toys she has lying around everywhere, and the hundreds of posters, Kanda even has Kitty-themed appliances,  including a Hello Kitty toaster, a Hello Kitty electric fan and a Hello Kitty frying pan. She also has Hello Kitty costumes and hats, pillows, curtains, even handkerchiefs. Put simply, whatever an average person owns, Asako Kanda probably has a Hello Kitty version of. Truth be told, Sanrio, the company that created Hello Kitty, has made it pretty easy for her, releasing countless Hello Kitty themed products, from cheap marshmallows to a diamond-studded statue worth ¥10 million ($125,000). So does she ever feel tricked into buying all this stuff by Sanrio? “Well, I sometimes feel like that,” she said, but also admitted she starts to feel antsy when she’s not surrounded by Hello Kitty stuff.

Luckily, Asako’s husband, Hiroyuki, keeps her in check so she doesn’t overspend on Hello Kitty items, but he can only do so much. For their wedding, in 2000, the dedicated collector asked her mother to make cuddly-toy versions of a Hello Kitty bride and groom for their wedding reception, because at the time Sanrio wasn’t into kitty-themed nuptial gear. Since then, Sanrio realized it was missing out on even more money so it entered this segment as well. Knowing for passion for Hello Kitty, many of their friends sent them kitty-themed telegrams of congratulations.

So, with over 4,500 Hello Kitty items under her roof, does Asako Kanda thing she has enough? Definitely not, in fact she has much bigger plans. Her biggest dream is to live in a Hello Kitty house with two giant ears sticking out of the roof, and her final wish will be to have a Hello Kitty-style funeral and a tombstone to match.

Source: Japan Times

Photos: Guinness Book of Records

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