The Inspiration Behind Hello Kitty – Shintaro Tsuji, Founder and CEO of Sanrio

Shintaro Tsuji is truly inspired to spread happiness to people. Looking at his early years, you can see how this led him to create a company based on gift-giving and fostering friendship. Shintaro Tsuji Photo Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Shintaro Tsuji was born in 1928. As a kindergarten student attending a school named after Canadian missionary Martha J. Cartmell, he learned the value of giving. The students of the school, which included children of well-off foreigners, were encouraged to give food and clothes to local beggars. The look of happiness on their faces was an image he wouldn’t forget.

Mr. Tsuji was also influenced by the custom of celebrating birthdays with parties and presents at the school. This was a surprise to him as it was not customary to commemorate birthdays in this way in Japan.

Sadly, at age 13, Mr. Tsuji’s mother passed away and he was sent to live with his aunt. He remembers this time in his life as being lonely.

After World War II, Mr. Tsuji who had studied chemistry sold soaps and condiments. Then, he went on to work for the government until he realized he didn’t like the bureaucracy and left. With his severance pay, he founded a company in 1960 which would later become Sanrio. It wasn’t until 1974 that Hello Kitty along with several other original characters would be introduced.

Mr. Tsuji is inspired by the belief that the most important thing in life is to have people around you that you can open your heart to and talk about anything. Gift giving is one way to show your appreciation to people who you care about whether it’s because they’re sick or have done something nice for you or for no reason. Why something cute? An expensive gift is too formal, a humorous gift might be taken as making fun of the person and something with skulls or other such images just doesn’t seem friendly.

But, something cute just makes your heart feel good.

Japan’s King of Cute
Shintaro Tsuji, CEO, Sanrio
Cute Inc.


6 Responses to “The Inspiration Behind Hello Kitty – Shintaro Tsuji, Founder and CEO of Sanrio”

  1. 1 Jenny Lee October 6, 2009 at 10:27 am

    hi im jenny lee and im researching my senior project on the founder of hello kitty which is Shintaro Tsuji. and how he inspired to make the icon of hello kitty so if you have anything to help me with it please help and email me back about anything about him please help!

    thank you so much

    Jenny Lee

  2. 3 Candy February 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Hello Im Candy! I have to do research about Shintaro Tsuji as well. Do you have more information about him. Could you help me,please

  3. 4 LAURA January 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I love HELLO KITTY ..

  4. 5 maiya liepina January 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

    hi im Maiya 🙂 im currently doing my main project in school on SANRIO. i would be very grateful if you could email me some idea`s on where i can get more info 🙂 specifically hello kitty.

  5. 6 roegshana April 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I just love hello kitty and its the best gifts to give someone for there special day even though you can’t always aford it but is the best…

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