Sui San | ©

It has been just over 3 months since the discovery of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, which as of March 2020 has spread to multiple countries across the globe and has forced the world to declare it a global pandemic.

Disruption has been felt far and wide, with many countries closing their borders and bringing in new enforcement measures to help control the spread of the disease. Even Japan has seen a strong influence from the virus, with many facilities around the country closing their doors temporarily and the government bringing in measures to discourage large gatherings.

One of the many venues across the country that has closed its doors due to the virus is Sanrio Puroland, an indoor theme park run by Sanrio Co, the company behind Japan’s popular loveable characters Hello Kitty, Chococat, and Cinnamoroll amongst many others.

So far, the theme park has announced that it will be closed from February 22 to early April of 2020 in consideration of the health of visitors and employees. However, visitors, supporters and lovers of Sanrio Puroland have not been forgotten, as on March 22 the park released a video to their Youtube Channel of Hello Kitty sharing a heartwarming message.

The video, titled From Puroland to You, shows Hello Kitty taking to the dimly lit stage of Sanrio Puroland, where she begins “I wonder where everyone is…”.

The much loved character then goes on to read extracts from the book, The Wizard of Oz, where she conveys a hidden message by making some comparisons between Dorothy’s house and Sanrio Puroland. Whilst Hello Kitty reads from the book, the screen jumps to other Sanrio characters, who can be seen cleaning the park alongside Sanrio Puroland staff. The video ends with a text which reads “There is a rainbow over everyone”, a positive message which tells people that we are all together in this struggle and that we will overcome these hardships.

People have taken to twitter and the comments section to respond to the video, with some saying the video brought tears to their eyes and others praising the park for its efforts both during the current situation and in general.

It is a hard sight to see a lively park like Sanrio Puroland with it’s doors closed, lights off and sans the sound of laughter, but whilst it is closed, the staff and characters are working hard to clean and check attractions at the venue, so that they can be prepared with open arms for when it finally reopens.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.