Fact Check

Does Hello Kitty's 'Boyfriend', Dear Daniel, Identify As a Girl?

"Just found out that Hello Kitty is dating a genderqueer girl," one social media user commented.

Published July 29, 2023

 (Reddit user @epicazeroth)
Image Via Reddit user @epicazeroth
Hello Kitty's 'boyfriend,' Dear Daniel, identifies as a girl.

Hello Kitty is a fictional character created in 1974 that gained worldwide popularity among teenagers and adults with various items featuring its likeness. An image went viral in 2023 supposedly depicting the "boyfriend" of Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, with a description claiming a press statement issued by Hello Kitty's creator read: "He's a cartoon character. He is a little girl." The image had been shared since 2018 on various platforms, such as TikTok, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, and meme pages iFunny and Know Your Meme.

@a.dumbmymelodykin real#cuteart #deardaniel #hellokitty #hellokittysboyfriend #deardaniel #is #a #trans #icon ♬ Real Men - Mitski

"Just found out that Hello Kitty is dating a genderqueer girl," someone commented.

Just found out that Hello Kitty is dating a genderqueer girl.
by u/epicazeroth in actuallesbians

Other social media users claimed, "Daniel is a he/him lesbian we love that."

Some comments suggested that the claim was originally posted by NewNation, a former satirical news site in Singapore. NewNation website was not available at the time of this writing; however, its URL redirected to the website TwoWay AI. Using Wayback Machine, a digital archive of web pages, we found an archived article published by NewNation in August 2014 that displayed the claim.

(Wayback Machine screenshot)

To check if the rumor was true, we looked at the official website for Sanrio, a Japanese entertainment company that created Hello Kitty. It said:

Dear Daniel is a childhood friend and boyfriend of Hello Kitty. The spiky hair is his signature look. Dear Daniel is a sensitive and attentive guy. He likes cheesecake and yogurt. He is good at dancing and playing the piano, and he enjoys photographing animals. Dear Daniel went to Africa with his photographer father but came back from New York after traveling the world to be with Hello Kitty.He wants to become a cameraman or maybe even make his debut in the show business.

We found a similar description of Dear Daniel on the Hello Kitty fandom website. It read:

Dear Daniel (ディアダニエル, Dia Danieru), also known by his full name Daniel Starr (ダニエル・スター, Danieru Sutā), is a Japanese male bobtail cat just like Hello Kitty herself, Daniel is a cat based character from the Japanese company Sanrio. He is Hello Kitty's childhood friend and also her boyfriend. His birthday is on May 3rd, which makes his zodiac sign Taurus. He's the same age as her and they've known each other since they were kittens. He gave a pet hamster named Sugar to her. He finds wonder in even the smallest things and pays special attention to how he looks – very trendy, sensitive and naive.

Both websites clearly stated that Hello Kitty's "boyfriend" identified as a boy. Moreover, there was no evidence of Dear Daniel's gender identity changing at any point in the Hello Kitty universe. We therefore have rated this claim as "False."

The August 2014 article by NewNation was published around the same time reputable news outlets reported that the character of Hello Kitty was "a little girl" and not a cat.

In 2014, in a Los Angeles Times interview, Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii who has spent years studying the phenomenon of Hello Kitty, claimed Sanrio considered this famous character to be a girl:

Hello Kitty is not a cat.

You read that right. When Yano was preparing her written texts for the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum, she says she described Hello Kitty as a cat. "I was corrected — very firmly," she says. "That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty."

I grew up with Hello Kitty everything and all I have to say is, MIND BLOWN.

That news went viral, as many people were surprised that Hello Kitty was not a cat, and the issue was covered by reputable news sites, including The Washington Post, Time, and BBCSanrio officially confirmed the character was "a bright little girl," writing in its official biography:

As tall as five apples, and as heavy as three, Hello Kitty is a bright little girl with a heart of gold. She loves to bake cookies and play the piano, and dreams of one day becoming a pianist or maybe even a poet. She has a gift for music and English, and a soft spot for Mama's apple pie. Hello Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy are the best of friends.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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