By Cara Sulieman
JAPAN’S most famous export is getting a Scottish makeover in celebration of her birthday.
Hello Kitty has been gracing lunchboxes across the world since her launch in 1974, and will be celebrating her 35th anniversary later this year.
And to celebrate, designers have come up with a special range of items clad in pink Hello Kitty tartan.
The choice harks back to the cute cat’s British heritage – she is said to live in suburban London.
Lochcarron of Scotland
A Scottish company was asked to design the tartan, which has been registered with the Tartan World Register.
A spokesman for the world-renowned designers said they were happy to promote Scottish culture abroad.
“On this, the 35th Anniversary, Lochcarron of Scotland, are proud to be involved in this project and hope that the various products using the tartan will give pleasure and enjoyment to children and the many people around the world, for ever.”
And the Scottish Government welcomed the move, saying that it strengthens the links between the two countries.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland’s links with Japan are strong and there is no better time than our year of Homecoming to celebrate them.
“Only today I was privileged to welcome to Scotland the great, great, great grandson of Thomas Glover – the Fraserburgh-born entrepreneur who was the first foreigner to be awarded one of Japan’s top honours, The Order of the Rising Sun.
“The new Hello Kitty tartan is another mark of Scotland’s strong bonds with Japan and will nurture those connections for a new generation. As Scotland celebrates its contributions to the world and global bonds of friendship and family – I’m confident that this new tartan will prove a popular success and bring Kitty closer to her cousin the Celtic Lion.”
The design will be gracing a variety of merchandise including handbags, a shawl, trinkets and a Kitty teddy bear from September ahead of the cat’s birthday on November 1.
Since the character was launched she has become a sensation, especially in Asia where she is a household institution.
But Hello Kitty is also an international hit, with over 500,000 products being sold in 70 countries around the globe.
Products featuring the cute cat include bags, clothes, fashion accessories and household goods.
The Hello Kitty fan can made toast with her face on it, have the feline emblazed on the car seats and even dress their own pet up in a Kitty outfit.