Once all fiat currencies collapse, relegated to the trash heap of paper money throughout history, we will inevitably be forced back to using sound money backed by something tangible. It may be through direct exchange of commodities, or a paper currency backed with gold, but a forward-thinking Japanese monetarist would stockpile vaults full of cuteness under Tokyo, package it into individual bars, and then distribute the resulting Hello Kitty Money to the masses, perhaps by helicopter in true Bernanke style.
The Asakusa shopping and tourist area of Tokyo is going partially in that direction as it’s going to be soon issuing real Hello Kitty Money that can be used in the area for exchange. It’s more of a marketing gimmick than an attempt at a real local currency, but with 500 participating shops it’s at least going to be widespread enough to make sense as a way to engage tourists and get them into the shops.
Asakusa is known for being a “traditional” part of Tokyo, and the temple and old-style shops there draw in crowds of visitors every weekend. These coins capitalize on another thing that Sanrio does very well, which is localize its products even down to particular train stations. Carrying around a coin with President Kitty on it basically puts her in charge.
Come to think of it, Hello Kitty Money that is backed by nothing but good feelings and an iconic character isn’t a whole lot different from U.S. dollars!