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Sanrio Originals vs Sanrio Licensed- What's the difference?

January 04, 2024 2 min read

Established in 1973, Sanrio is a Japanese company that focuses on the kawaii part of Japanese pop culture. In 1974, they introduced Hello Kitty to the world and they've been capturing hearts worldwide ever since. 

At Colorful Cute, we carry two types of Sanrio goodies- Sanrio Original and Sanrio Licensed. 

Sanrio Original products are designed, manufactured, and exported by the Sanrio Company in Japan for the Asian market. These items are really high quality, have lots of great details, and are the items you would find in a Sanrio store or a specialty shop like ours. Many times, these products are produced one time in a limited amount and are rarely offered again. 

The majority of Sanrio goodies in the United States aren't Sanrio Original, they're Licensed. This means a North American company bought the rights to the Sanrio characters to design, manufacture, and distribute products for the North American market. 

These items vary greatly in price, quality, and availability. Licensed Sanrio products are what you find in stores like Five Below, Target, Hot Topic, Walmart, BoxLunch, etc. More often than not, these products are produced repeatedly and in larger amounts than a Sanrio Original. 

Some items we carry are also Licensed, but we specialize in Sanrio Original.

So, how can you tell if you're looking at a Sanrio Original product or a Sanrio Licensed product? Check the tag! A Sanrio Original will always say so on the tag. The tag will also have Japanese text. 

If it doesn't say Sanrio Original on the tag, it's licensed. It's that simple!

Here are two Kuromi plushies. One is a Sanrio Original and the other is a Sanrio License. Can you tell which is which?

 Kuromi Plushies

This is the tag for the Kuromi plush on the left side:

Sanrio Originals Tag

This is the tag for the Kuromi plush on the right side:

Sanrio Licensed Tag

The Kuromi on the left is the Sanrio Original and the Kuromi on the right is made by Gund with the licensing rights from Sanrio. They're both adorable!

Some collectors will prefer to stick to Sanrio Original and other collectors aren't as discerning. It's up to your personal taste and many collections have a delightful mix of both. 

Either way you go, our shop has lots of wonderful Sanrio Original and Licensed items to check out. We get regular shipments and constantly update inventory. Come by the shop to see it in person, or browse our Sanrio collection online. 

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