10 Questions for Yuko Yamaguchi

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Jun Takagi for TIME

Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi

Did you ever imagine that Hello Kitty would be big worldwide?
Maya Castro, Miami
No, not at all. When I started I didn't even know whether she would sell in Japan. I was told that Hello Kitty was only for children and that Westerners wouldn't carry her around.

Why doesn't Hello Kitty have a mouth?
Sandi Saksena, Dubai
It's so that people who look at her can project their own feelings onto her face, because she has an expressionless face....