Anyone who knows me knows that my wife, Mandy, and I love cats. We have a pet cat called Yuki, a five-year-old Scottish Fold with mostly white fur and an adorable personality. He lives with us (on his cat tower) in our Matsusaka apartment, and allows us to dote on him. So many of our Japanese friends fawn over Yuki when they visit, and my students at school exclaim, “Kawaii!” (So cute!)
There are also approximately a dozen cat islands in Japan, the most famous of which is probably Aoshima in Ehime prefecture, where felines outnumber people six to one, or perhaps Tashirojima, in Miyagi. Hence, many people refer to these islands as “Nekojima” (i.e. Cat Island). Many of these islands are used for fishing, and the cats protect the silk worms (silk is used in producing fishing nets) by hunting mice. The cats also enjoy some fish treats as rewards from time to time, no doubt. So everyone is happy, including the many cat-loving tourists who frequently visit there. Check out this article on the subject by Gwynn Guilford.
Cats have been depicted throughout history in art and literature. Two artists famous for their Ukiyoe (woodblock prints, most popular in the Tokugawa era from 1603 to 1868), Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Ando Hiroshige, often featured cats in their works of art. In the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), the famous Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki wrote the popular novel, ‘I Am a Cat’ (‘Wagahai wa Neko de Aru’ in Japanese). I had the opportunity to read this book while studying at Seikei University in Kichijoji in Tokyo, and it was a wonderful and satirical story about 19th century life from a cats point of view. See more here:
Have a great week! Warmest regards,