Sanrio's infamous Hello Kitty shoulder massager is back. What's more, it's available in Hong Kong. Though the company says the 'tension relief' device will only be sold in Japan, enterprising types have been shipping it to the city - and it is finding its way into sex shops.
Back in November Sanrio reintroduced its most controversial product based on the mouthless feline. It has insisted the device - with Kitty at the top holding a teddy bear - is not a sex toy but is for massaging the shoulders. However, it is still best known by everyone else as the infamous Kitty vibrator, which indeed features adjustable vibrating intensity.
A decade ago, Sanrio abruptly cancelled its contract with Genyo Co - the licensed maker of the good-vibes Kitty - after it learned that people were applying the device to parts of their bodies for which it was not designed.
After it was discontinued, the vibrator, I mean shoulder massager, became a collector's item and could fetch as much as US$100 on eBay. Well, not anymore. Sanrio is now making and selling the 13.8-cm-long device for 1,260 yen (HK$90) on its own website (shop.sanrio.jp).
Perhaps it has finally seen the light. After all, you can't dictate how people use your products. All over the world, emergency doctors have treated people - both men and women - who have used vacuum cleaners, for example, for strange and dangerous self-recreational activities. What are vacuum cleaner manufacturers to do - stop selling them?
In Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, a sex toy chain is selling the shoulder massager for HK$158. 'They sell really well,' says store manager Joe. 'Many women love them. They come in with boyfriends or husbands and that's what they buy. They don't even look at other shop items.'