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Sanrio Co., Ltd (Japanese: 株式会社サンリオ, Kabushikigaisha Sanrio) is a Japan based company, lifestyle brand and character creator that aims to spread heart-felt emotion under the philosophy "Small Gift Big Smile". It focuses on kawaii culture.

It was founded in August 1960 as Yamanashi Silk Center Co. Ltd before changing its name to Sanrio in April 1973. In 1962, Sanrio's first original "character", Strawberry was produced; a strawberry design pattern.[1]

Sanrio is loved for its many 'cute' original characters that it creates, such as the popular Hello Kitty and other lesser known characters such as Cinnamoroll, My Melody, Kerokerokeroppi and Hangyodon. It owns rights to the Mr. Men and Little Miss franchise, and the Peanuts franchise in Japan.

Sanrio produces and licenses gifts of many kinds. It works in the publishing, video and animation industries, where it is responsible for books, film and video often featuring its characters. It has a "Sanrio Films" label.

There are two Sanrio based theme parks known as Sanrio Puroland in Tama, Tokyo and Harmonyland in Hiji, Ōita, Kyūshū, Japan.

In 1973, Sanrio opened up a restaurant in Gotanda TOC building, Tokyo called Sanrio Salon. Additionally, Sanrio is partnered with Moke's Bread & Breakfast and KFC in Japan.[2]

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Name origin[edit | edit source]

  • Sanrio's name according to Sanrio Europe comes from san ('holy') and río ('river'). Kore ga Sanrio no Himitsu Desu (これがサンリオの秘密です), rather, states that it is from an alternative reading of its older name Yamanashi [Silk Center] (Sanri) and the exclamation "ou" for excitement. Perhaps coincidentally, the name can unofficially be interpreted as "sun Leo" and -san Rio.