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JR West hopes new 'Hello Kitty' bullet train can 'tie' customers to regions

A promotional image of the "Hello Kitty Shinkansen" bullet train to begin operations in summer 2018. (Image courtesy of West Japan Railways Co.)

OSAKA -- A new Shinkansen bullet train decked out with the popular Sanrio Co. character "Hello Kitty" is set to start running between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations this summer, West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) announced on March 14.

The outside design of the 500 high-speed train series will have a pink ribbon motif resembling that worn by Hello Kitty herself. The No. 2 non-reserved car will be decorated with the popular character, and there will be a corner in the No. 1 car introducing the regions served by JR West one by one. The train is planned to make one roundtrip between Shin-Osaka and Hakata per day.

Products bearing the popular ribbon-wearing character began sales in 1975, and her fan base stretches across generations as well as oceans, boasting enormous international and domestic popularity.

A representative of JR West stated, "We would like to connect passengers to regions with Hello Kitty's ribbon and tie them together."

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