One of the most iconic fads to come from Japan is Hello Kitty. As a self-proclaimed Hello Kitty lover, I wonder what it is exactly that makes Hello Kitty so addictive. The round, open, and vacant face never changes, and a product is immediately made more appealing by its inclusion. Sanrio, the manufactorer of HK, has branded enough products that a person could decorate an entire house in Hello Kitty. Here in America, I've seen a sewing machine and electric guitar. If it has HK on it, I want it. I'm a person possessed by a stupid little circle with a few dots for eyes.
I suppose it is akin to having a favorite color or animal that a child likes having on her lunchbox, but the appeal also extends to women my age and older. Hello Kitty is a part of the kawaii culture. Perhaps Japanese females (and, increasingly, females here in America) feel the need to regress into childhood sensibilities because they also bring the associated comfort of childhood. Maybe the face also appeals to women because of maternal instinct-programmed to find a round, babyish shape appealing? Whenever anything is made HK style, it's almost always accompanied by a sugary-sweet female aesthetic. If a woman or a girl happens to like the particular style of an object, the HK face might just be the cherry on top of the cake.
Yet how does that explain combinations such as this?
I found this on a website called "Hello Kitty Hell," run by a guy married to a HK lover. They also have HK condoms, wrapped up as cutely as a pack of lolipops. Stuff like this has never made it to America, and with good reason. It crossed the realm from cute into creepy. Other examples of the extent of the HK and its penetration into Japanese culture is:
face masks for the flu
toilet paper dispenser
and of course, although i've only mentioned girls and women, I don't want to be sexist.
...and I can't wait to find this stuff in Japan.