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Kokoro Co Ltd

February 9, 2012 by staff 

Kokoro Co Ltd, Sanrio Co., Ltd. is a Japanese company that designs, licenses and produces products focusing on the kawaii (cute) segment of Japanese popular culture. Their products include stationery, school supplies, gifts and accessories that are sold worldwide and at specialty brand retail stores in Japan. Sanrio’s best known character is Hello Kitty, a white cat with red bow and no visible mouth, one of the most successful marketing brands in the world.

Besides selling character goods, Sanrio takes part in movie production and publishing. They own the rights to the Peanuts characters in Japan. Their animatronics branch, called Kokoro Company, Ltd. (“Kokoro” being Japanese for “heart”), is best known for the Actroid android. They participate in the fast food industry, running a franchise of KFC in Saitama.

Sanrio was founded by Shintaro Tsuji as the Yamanashi Silk Company in 1960, using 1 million yen in capital. In 1962, Tsuji expanded his enterprise from silk to rubber sandals with flowers painted on them. Tsuji noted the profits gained by simply adding a cute design to the sandals and hired cartoonists to design cute characters for his merchandise in response. In 1973 the company was officially established under the name “Sanrio”. The company’s European website says the name comes from the Spanish words san (holy) and r?o (river.) The book korega Sanrio no himitsu desu or This is the Sanrio Company Secret gives another origin of the name. According to this book, Tsuji, Sanrio’s founder, said that Yamanashi (?±±?¢¨?), part of the company’s former name, has an alternative on’yomi reading of sanri. The remaining o was added from the ou (?‚??‚¦?) sound people make when they are excited.

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