>> April 2, 2009
Barbie just doesn’t cut it for little girls in Japan, who would rather play with Licca-Chan, a rival doll. So instead, Mattel, Inc. will cater to adult brides when it launches the Barbie Bridal line, a collection of wedding gowns complete with ruffles and bows embroidered with the Barbie logo, only in Japan in June. “Once our apparel brand is established, then we can go back to our core target, kids,” said John Cullen, vice president of Mattel Brands. Offering Barbie-themed wedding dresses seems like a disastrous plan for Mattel to bolster the Barbie brand in Japan, but really, it’s not at all far-fetched.
Theme weddings have gained in popularity in Japan, where expensive Shinto weddings used to be preferred, recently. One rather normal theme to our Western eyes is the Christian-style wedding. Another is the Hello Kitty theme wedding, which reflects Japan’s devotion to pop culture. Japanese hotels, like the Hankyu Hotel chain, offers Hello Kitty Princess weddings complete with a glass slipper, Hello Kitty floral arrangement, and a Hello Kitty dress emblazoned with the popular feline’s face. Even Sanrio, maker of Hello Kitty, has offered Hello Kitty and her less popular companion Dear Daniel as nuptial witnesses.
For those that think Hello Kitty and Barbie are too sweet and girly, couples can turn their romance story into an original comic book story, called ”Wedding Story Manga.” The plot usually revolves around the couple’s first meeting or proposal, and the characters are drawn to resemble the actual people.