Miffy vs Cathy vs Musti — Holland vs Japan vs Belgium

Quick. Can you tell the difference between the two rabbit characters below?
One is Japanese “Cathy” and the other is “Miffy” of Holland, but which is which?
miffy vs cathy

Dutch court:
Miffy yes, Sanrio no

The Japan Times | Nov. 4, 2010—
A court in Amsterdam on Tuesday ordered creator Sanrio Co. to halt production of goods related to its rabbit character Cathy on the ground that it is a close imitation of famous Dutch rabbit character Miffy….The court said Cathy is an imitation of Miffy and called for an immediate halt of production, sales and marketing of Cathy goods in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and told Sanrio to pay 25,000 euro a day in the event of noncompliance. …more…

musti_vs_hello-kitty I have to say that I never saw Miffy before I came to Japan. The first time I saw Miffy in a Japanese bank promotion in the 1980s, I just assumed it was a rip-off of Hello Kitty and that some lawyer slapped a “Dick Bruna” copyright to prevent lawsuits.

Little did I know that Miffy was created in 1955* and that Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and her friends are rendered using a similar line style way later in 1975*.

It turns out that Hello Kitty actually was a “copycat” of Musti, a cartoon character, created by Flemish graphic artist Ray Goossens in 1945. Sanrio’s “Cathy” was just created a few 36 years ago as a brand extension of Hello Kitty (and now has totally disappeared from Sanrio website.)

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

5 thoughts on “Miffy vs Cathy vs Musti — Holland vs Japan vs Belgium”

  1. Taro, the Cathy rabbit was not “just created a few years ago”—Cathy is a 36 year old obasan.

    Miffy was created in 1955, while Cathy has been marketed since 1976 as one of the friends of Hello Kitty, a character that made its debut in in 1974.
    via Hello Kitty creator miffed
    straitstimes.com 2010/11/04

  2. Musti is a cartoon character, created by Flemish graphic artist Ray Goossens in 1945. Dick Bruna used Musti as reference to create Miffy 10 years later in 1955. Dick Bruna denies that Miffy resembles Musti in any way.

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