Back in 2006, Hau Sheng Hospital in Yuanlin, located 95 miles outside of Taipei, latched on to the benevolent cartoon symbol associated with all things cute, pink, and cuddly—Hello Kitty. Visitors of the hospital’s maternity ward (which has now delivered about 2,000 babies since its adoption of the Hello Kitty theme) are inundated with images of the cheery, mouthless anime icon, which is appearing exclusively on everything from nurse’s uniforms to blankets to room decor to birth certificates.
Emily Co of Kaboodle writes,
The Hau Sheng clinic was built in 2006 with a capacity of 30 beds, and its Kitty theme has been officially approved by Sanrio Co., Ltd. Hospital director Tsai Tsung-chi told Reuters his reasoning behind this madness: “I wish that everyone who comes here, mothers who suffer while giving birth and children who suffer from an illness, can get medical care while seeing these kitties and bring a smile to their faces, helping forget about discomfort and recover faster.”
The brainchild of Hospital Owner Tsai Tsung-ji, the Hello Kitty theme was actually the suggestion of his family—specifically his wife, mother and daughter—under the pretense the ominpresent symbol would be a calming influence on patients. “When new moms feel anxious and lost about how to deal with their new babies, Hello Kitty can make them more relaxed and reduce their sense of discomfort while giving birth,” said Tsai. (Source: Debby Wu, Associated Press.)
Among the first mothers to give birth in the Hello Kitty themed hospital was Chen Shing-chiu, 38, mother of a newborn baby boy. “Unlike traditional hospitals that are mostly white, I feel this one is pretty good,” she said. “I like Hello Kitty very much myself.”
The Hello Kitty brand celebrated its 34th birthday this year and still retains a healthy fan base both in its native Japan and abroad, mainly made up of young females who consider her the epitome of cuteness. Earlier this year the cartoon character even graced the cover of Japanese Vogue. (Source: Junior’s Book)
[Reuters Photo Credit/Christine Lu.]
The Hau Sheng hospital claims to be one of a kind in terms of its “therapeutic” feline decor, but considering the popularity of Hello Kitty, it’s only a matter of time before that status will change.