I’m sure you’ve heard of Hello Kitty, and possibly how she’s actually a British schoolgirl (if you haven’t then read that article, and prepare to gawp with incredulity for at least 10 minutes). But what about Sanrio’s other characters? There are many of them, and they all have their own stories. In the case of My Melody, her origins are entwined with a well-known fairy tale.
My Melody is a little girl bunny, who was released by Sanrio in 1975. According to her character bio, she was born in a forest. This makes sense, as she is often depicted playing amongst trees with other woodland animals. She also wears a hood, which nowadays is usually pink, but when she was first introduced it was red. This hood was made by her grandmother.
In 1976, a children’s book was published in Japan featuring My Melody as Little Red Riding Hood. It was reprinted in 2015, and I was lucky enough to find a copy of this edition.
The title reads ‘My Melody’s Little Red Riding Hood.’ The text in red literally translates as ‘Akazukin’ which is the Japanese name for ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’
At the bottom, it says ‘Akazukin-chan! Ookami-san ni kiwotsukete!’ which translates as ‘Little Red Riding Hood! Be careful of the wolf!’
Here are some of the inside pages:
I find it interesting that Sanrio decided to use My Melody for this fairy tale. Rabbits are prey animals, especially for predators such as wolves. So in this version, the wolf is taunted by having its meal turn on it. Also, this is a good example of how fairy tales can travel and evolve for different audiences. For Japanese children, Little Red Riding Hood is a foreign fairy tale. Perhaps attaching it to a familiar character makes it more appealing to them.
My Melody is very popular in Japan. Now that I live here, I am taking full advantage of this. Many people who know me will say that I like Hello Kitty. Whilst this is true to a degree, in England I grew to like her out of lack of choice. But I’m sorry everyone, I have a confession: My Melody is actually my favourite!
Whenever I’ve needed something, I have found a My Melody option. Here are some of the more obscure ways in which she is taking over my life, filling it with her little pink ears one item at a time…
My Melody is more than just a cute character. She is a fairy tale bridge between cultures, and I’m interested to see if I can find any others during my time here.
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