Hello Kitty branded items sitting on shelves at the first Hello Kitty Supermarket in Hong Kong

Owner Of The World’s Largest Hello Kitty Collection Is A Middle-Aged Man

It’s no secret that Hello Kitty collectors of all ages can be a bit fanatic. If you thought you were a big fan of all things Hello Kitty, you should know that your interest is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hello Kitty fandom. It’s probably safe to say that Masao Gunji has got you beat.

Gunji, who hails from Yotsukaido, Chiba, Japan, holds the current record for the largest collection of Hello Kitty memorabilia, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The walls, tables, floors, and pretty much every inch of usable space in Gunji’s home is covered with Hello Kitty merchandise.

What’s in the Collection?

So just how much Hello Kitty stuff does Masao Gunji have? The Guinness World Records counts his collection at an amazing 5,169 items, which are all located in his home. There doesn’t seem to be any particular fetish for any one type of item, though. Among the collection, he has a wide assortment of Hello Kitty pieces, including Bento boxes, stationery, kitchenware, bath towels, motorcycle helmets, and plushies. His home is basically a bright pink storage area for his entire collection. Gunji’s neighbors love the collection, and in fact, they were the ones who encouraged him to apply for the Guinness world record.

How it All Started

Clearly, it takes a long time to amass such an enormous collection as Mr. Gunji’s. Gunji says he started his collection about 30 years ago and began collecting Hello Kitty memorabilia because it made him happy when he was feeling low. He shares his passion with his wife, who is also a big Hello Kitty fan. With so many items in their home, it’s hard to believe that the couple can keep track of them all. In order to apply for the Guinness record, they had to take on the time-consuming task of counting all of their memorabilia themselves.

Becoming Number One

Believe it or not, there is a very close second to Masao Gunji’s unique record. The previous record holder for the largest Hello Kitty collection is a woman named Asako Kanda, also from Japan. Kanda is a 31-year-old receptionist from Tokyo who has an equally amazing 4,519 Hello Kitty items in her collection. Her Hello Kitty obsession started as a child, and she firmly asserts that she will never tire of it. Her life’s dream, she says, is “to live in a Hello Kitty-shaped house, with two ears sticking out of the roof.”

Background

Hello Kitty was created in 1974 by Yuko Shimizu. The fictional cat was then produced by Japanese corporation Sanrio. Initially, the market that Sanrio was targeting was strictly young girls. Who knew that by the 1990s, both teens and adults would also become enthralled with the white cat with a little red bow? Of course, Hello Kitty eventually went on to become a worldwide phenomenon, leading to massive collections, movies, TV shows, and merchandising that includes branded items such as cell phone cases, purses, and computers.

Future Plans

Masao Gunji is thrilled that his passion and hard work over the years have led to such a great recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records. It is icing on the cake for he and his wife, who were simply happy to pursue their passion and have their friends and family enjoy the Hello Kitty tribute displayed in their home. Gunji feels grateful to everyone who helped him to achieve the Guinness record holder status, and for now, he plans to just keep adding to his impressive collection whenever he can. Wonder how long it’ll take him to reach 10,000 items?

[Featured Image by Lam Yik Fei/Stringer/Getty Images]

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