Welcome to the Kawaii World of Sanrio!

Welcome to the Kawaii World of Sanrio!

Welcome to the Kawaii World of Sanrio!

Sanrio is a lot of things to many people. To some, Sanrio is a Japanese company. But to kawaii fanatics, Sanrio is a magical realm where cute characters come to life! It's a  cute and colorful place where every day is brighter, every smile is wider, and every moment is a chance to spread happiness.

Thanks to Sanrio, we have cuties to guide us into the kawaii-sphere like Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll, My Melody, Gudetama, and so many, many more!  Are you ready to hop on a rainbow and learn more about the kawaii world of Sanrio? Let's go!

  • Japanese name: サンリオ (san-ree-oh) 
  • Company motto: Small gift, big smile
  • Date of establishment: August 10, 1960 
  • Original name: Yamanashi Silk Company
  • Number of characters: More than 450 Sanrio Characters
  • Fun fact: Sanrio’s journey into the world of kawaii began with cute strawberry products! 
Sanrio GIF



Sanrio Town

Answering in real-world terms, Sanrio is a Japanese entertainment company. Its focus is bringing people into the magical world of everything cute and kawaii. Sanrio is known for super cute characters that everyone around the world knows and loves! That includes the kawaii superstar Hello Kitty and her cute Sanrio siblings like Kuromi, Pompompurin, the Little Twin Stars, and Hangyodon



Sanrio’s journey into the kawaii sphere began when it was created on August 10, 1960. Back then though it wasn’t called Sanrio and it had nothing to do with the world of kawaii. It was called the Yamanashi Silk Company, a business focused on producing nice textiles. That’s a lot different from what Sanrio’s known for today!



Sanrio Founder

The Yamanashi Silk Company was created by the Japanese entrepreneur Shintaro Tsuji. Expanding from silk to rubber sandals with flowery designs in 1962, Tsuji noticed that customers liked cute designs. He incorporated cute strawberry designs into the products he sold. 


Sanrio PNG

They were a big hit! Seeing how cute designs did well in the market, Tsuji started using existing cartoon characters in the 60s like Snoopy. Eventually, he hired designers to create Sanrio cuties of his own like Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll, Kuromi, and more. 



Sanrio Exhibition

That’s pretty easy! First you say “san,” then you say “ree,” and then you say “oh.” All together it’s “san-ree-oh.” Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, wouldn’t you agree? Sanrio is easy to say and it’s super kawaii to the ears to boot! 



Sanrio Figures

As cute as its characters are, the story behind Sanrio’s name is complicated and not as kawaii as everyone would expect. Remember how Sanrio was originally named the Yamanashi Silk Company in the 60s? After deciding to expand his product range, Tsuji decided to give his company a fresh name in 1973.


Sanrio Logo

The name was Sanrio. According to Tsuji, Sanri from Sanrio was taken from the onyomi Japanese reading of the word Yamanashi. Tsuji then added “ou,” the sound Japanese people make when they’re excited. So, technically speaking, Sanrio is the exciting version of the word, Yamanashi! 



Hello Kitty Island Adventure

When Sanrio became more and more famous for its kawaii characters, fans started asking the company why it didn’t have a more detailed story behind its name. Updating the company’s lore, Tsuji decided that Sanrio would come from the Spanish word San + Rio, meaning “Saint River” in English. 


Sanrio River

Tsuji wanted to name the company after sacred rivers in the hopes of building a peaceful kawaii culture on the riverbanks. He wanted to tie Sanrio with rivers, the palace where humans first began to make homes for themselves. The founder hoped that Sanrio would be able to create a community of people who could live in kawaii harmony! 



Sanrio has been around for more than half a century! That's right, it's been making people smile with its kawaii characters for that long. We predict that Sanrio will keep making everyone happy for fifty, no a hundred years more to come! 




No, it’s not Hello Kitty. The first-ever character from Tsuji’s design team was the cute laid-back bear, Corochan. His name comes from his cheeks that look like croquettes! The character was created in 1973, the same year the Yamanashi company was officially renamed to Sanrio



Yes, of course! If it isn’t clear enough, Hello Kitty is Sanrio’s cute and playful poster child. A year after Corochan was born, Sanrio designer Yuko Shimizu created the white ribbon-wearing girl cat, Hello Kitty. Also known as Kitty White, this cutie is as tall as five apples! 


Hello Kitty

Though she’s had her fair share of ups and downs, Hello Kitty has become a kawaii icon for people around the world! Appearing in films, shows, musicals, theme parks, international collaborations, and more, Hello Kitty has become synonymous with kawaii culture.                          



Sanrio Characters

Since the creation of Hello Kitty, Sanrio has been pumping out kawaii characters for people to fall in love with. As of the moment, it has over 450 cuties with their own backstories and charm points. While most Sanrio characters are anthropomorphized animals, there are also some quirky humans, objects, and even food characters! 


Sanrio Characters

Some of the most popular cuties from Sanrio are animals like Cinnamoroll, Pompompurin, Kuromi, My Melody, and more. If you'd like to learn more about all the cuties that Sanrio has to offer, you can check out our Ultimate List of Sanrio characters! We have to warn you though, it can get really, really long! 



Sanrio Characters

Have you ever wondered which Sanrio character you're most like? Well don’t worry, there are tons of online personality tests to help you figure out whether you’re as sweet as My Melody, as rebellious as Kuromi, or as laid back as Gudetama. Each Sanrio character has a unique personality, making them relatable and lovable to all. 



It depends really. The answer changes every year, and in some places, some characters are more well-liked than others. You see, Sanrio has a popularity ranking for its characters every year. It keeps a list of overall winners as well as a list of the top three winners in major countries. 


Sanrio Ranking

In 2023, the overall top three cuties were Cinnamoroll (first place), Pompompurin (second place), and Kuromi (third place). From country to country, the results would vary. Sometimes Cinnamoroll would take the top spot, in other places it would be Pompompurin, Kuromi, Gudetama, Pochacco, and the new rock and roll cat, Yoshikitty.




Hate is such a strong word. In the kawaii sphere, there’s very little room for hate. However, in the world of Sanrio, some characters aren’t as liked compared to others. In the 2023, list the character that got the last place in the yearly Sanrio ranking was Littlelovin. This cutie is a boy dog with brown fur, droopy black ears, a white hat, and a blue bow tie. 



Sanrio Puroland

If you have time and money you can see your favorite Sanrio characters at the official Sanrio theme park, Sanrio Puroland! Located in Tama New Town, Tokyo, the theme park has tons of Sanrio attractions as well as live shows showcasing beloved characters like Hello Kitty, Gudetama, the Little Twin Stars, Pochacco, and more. It also has parades, the main one being the Miracle Gift Parade! 


Like most of Japan which loves to celebrate the seasons, Puroland updates its offerings to go along with the changing periods. It has different shows for spring, summer, fall, and winter. During Christmas, Puroland gets festive decorations, a special Christmas menu, and Christmas merch! 



That’s not all of course! You can also check out Harmony Land in the town of Hiji in the Oita prefecture of Japan. Like Puroland, Harmony Land has tons of Sanrio-themed rides and shows for people to enjoy. 



Sanrio Hello Kitty Town

The very first Sanrio theme park outside Japan was the Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Malaysia. It had a lot of fun Sanrio character-themed rides, rooms, and attractions. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, Hello Kitty Town had to close down. Now, Sanrio fans have to book tickets to Japan to get the Sanrio theme park experience. 



If it's a live show you want, then it’s a live show you’ll get! Sanrio hosts multiple musicals at Sanrio Puroland. That includes Kawaii Kabuki, a Sanrio-themed kabuki adaptation of the Japanese story, Momotaru. Puroland has also had musicals like Hello Kitty in Wonderland, Little Mermaid, Memory Boys, and more. 


Sanrio Musical

Besides Puroland, Sanrio occasionally holds serious musical outfits like the From Hello Kitty musical at the IHI Stage Around Tokyo in 2019. The musical gathered together Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, Cinnamoroll, Pompompurin, My Melody, and the Little Twin Stars to give fans a deeper look at the stories of Sanrio's popular cuties.  



It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are quite several anime shows that feature Sanrio characters. Some characters have their very own shows dedicated to them like. These shows includes Aggretsuko, Gudetama, Sugarbunnies, Kuromis' Pretty Journey, Show By Rock, Mewkledreamy, Jewelpet: Magical Change, Bosanimal, and the classic anime series, Hello Kitty's Animation Theater.


Sanrio Danshi Boys

There's also a very unique anime series focused on boys who love Sanrio cuties. It's called Sanrio Danshi, a shoujo series that showcases Pompompurin-loving high school boy Kouta Hasegawa. Shamed for liking girly Sanrio characters, Kouta ends up meeting other guys who also like Sanrio cuties. It's a really wholesome series! 



Sanrio Manga

Because of their popularity, various Sanrio characters have been receiving their own manga throughout the years. Hello Kitty has classic manga like Hello Kitty Peace. She also has a modern manga series called Ichigoman, a superhero manga in which Hello Kitty turns into Ichigoman! 


Sanrio Danshi Boys

Besides Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll also has his own manga called Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll. Jewelpet also has its own manga series. Sanrio Danshi has two different manga adaptations. The first is Sanrio Danshi: Oretachi, Seishun, Hajimemashita, a manga that showcases the boys' daily lives. Sanrio Danshi: Oretachi, Koi, Hajimemashita on the other hand features one of the Danshi boys dating a girl. 



Did you know that Sanrio used to produce its own movies under the label Sanrio Films? It started in 1977 with the movie Joe and the Rose (バラの花とジョ), an animated short film. Since then it's had other hits like Cinnamoroll the Movie, Onegai My Melody: Yu & Ai, as well as Jewelpet Attack Travel


Hello Kitty Movie

In 2015, Sanrio Films announced that it was working on a Hello Kitty movie for Sanrio together with New Line Cinema. Originally set for 2019, there's been very little word about the Hello Kitty movie. We hope that it pushes through! 



There are many different videogames featuring Sanrio characters, however, only one game is directly published by Sanrio.That game is Hello Kitty Island Adventure. Developed by Sunblink, Hello Kitty Island Adventure is a life-simulation app where players can make an avatar, walk, swim, fly around, and bond with Sanrio cuties. You can even play the game as a 2-player co-op! 


Puzzle and Dragons Sanrio

Sanrio also has occasional crossovers with prominent videogames. That shouldn't really come as a surprise, Sanrio characters are big kawaii stars! Sanrio has worked together to host fun gaming events with big names like Animal Crossing, Identity V, Puzzle & Dragons, and even Mobile Legends. 



Sanrio Cafe

In the past, Sanrio characters have had their own different pop-up and permanent cafes. There have been tons of cafes dedicated to Hello Kitty, My Melody, Kuromi, and other Sanrio cuties. In 2020, Sanrio fans finally got the SANRIO CAFE Ikebukuro Store, a permanent Sanrio-themed cafe that showcased popular Sanrio cuties. The cafe had Sanrio character-themed donuts, burgers, drinks, desserts, and special merch! 


Sanrio Characters Garden Cafe

We would be remiss to not mention the Sanrio Characters Garden Cafe in Taita City, Ueno. The cafe offers Sanrio character-themed meal sets, ala carte dining, and takeout goodies! Sanrio Character Garden Cafe is unique in that the cafe is also designed to have an interior linked to the natural resources of Ueno. Not only does the cafe have Sanrio character decor, but it also has cherry blossoms and autumn leaves depending on the season! 


Of course, enjoying the world of Sanrio in Puroland Japan won't be complete without Sanrio-themed meals and snacks. That's why the theme park is filled with Sanrio cafes such as the Sanrio Rainbow World Restaurant and Restaurant Yakata!



Sanrio Collab Crocs

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that everyone wants to work together with Sanrio. After all, the company is one of the biggest names in the world of kawaii! Sanrio has worked with so many big names over the years. That includes Crocs, Doc Martens, Haagen Das, Nike, H&M, Pocky, Top Ramen, and so many, many more. 


Sanrio Sailor Moon

Brand deals aren’t the only collabs that Sanrio’s had though. The company has also worked together with big anime franchises to produce cute and unique merch. Sanrio’s had collabs with Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Gundam, Rurouni Kenshin, and Attack on Titan. It’s always fun to stumble on kawaii anime crossovers with Sanrio!



Sanrio Merchandise

Sanrio fanatics have no shortage of goodies to add to their kawaii collection. There are tons of Sanrio stickers, Sanrio pouches, Sanrio plushies, Sanrio home goods, and more to choose from. Most of these Sanrio collectibles can be found in shops in Japan like Sanrio World Ginza which is the company’s flagship store in Japan! 


Sanrio USA

Of course, there are also a few Sanrio Shops in the US like Like Sanrio Irvine in Irvine California, Sanrio Japanese Village Plaza in Los Angeles, and Sanrio Surprises in Honolulu, Hawaii. If you’re hoping to get legitimate Japanese Sanrio products without having to fly to Japan, you can always check out our Sanrio Collection on Blippo. 



Did you know that Sanrio gives out small freebies every time customers shop at their stores in Japan? These freebies are called “premiums” that fans can collect. Some of the “premiums” look like miniature items while others look like charms. The company has been giving them to customers since the 70s! 



Sanrio Strawberry News

Sanrio also has its own magazine called The Strawberry News. A Japan-only print media publication, The Strawberry News has been running since March 1975. Not only does it contain the latest news from Sanrio, but it also has interesting articles about crafts, fan art, fan mail, and calls for contests where fans can get the chance to receive exclusive merch! 


Sanrio Outro

Well, that’s everything you need to know about Sanrio. Starting off as a textile company, Sanrio has become the world’s biggest kawaii company to date. Not only does it have cute merch featuring tons of kawaii Sanrio characters, but it also has a ton of movies, anime, and manga showcasing the cuties that it’s created. 


Sanrio Goodbye

Did you learn a lot about Sanrio today? Who’s your favorite Sanrio character? Which Sanrio theme park do you want to visit the most? Don’t be shy and feel free to write down your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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