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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. Shintaro Tsuji was the founder of the company. In 2020, Shintaro Tsuji stepped down and his grandson Tomokuni Tsuji became the president.

In 1962, Sanrio's first original brand, 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

  • Kore ga Sanrio no Himitsu Desu. (これがサンリオの秘密です。) states that Sanrio is an alternative reading of its older name Yamanashi [Silk Center] (Sanri) and the exclamation "ou" for excitement. Of note, an old nickname of Shintaro Tsuji's is the "Strawberry King" (king, 王 is ou) (not to be confused with the character).
    • This meaning seems to have been lost to time, with even Sanrio Europe claiming it comes from san ('holy') and río ('river').