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The Most Common Cats In Japan Became As Popular Business Icon

The Most Common Japan Cat Business Background

Hello and welcome to Japanology plus with Peter Barragan. He is a cat cafe in Tokyo which as the name implies is the sort of place where you come for a cup of something and to spend time watching and or frolicking with cats. Cat cafes are apparently becoming quite popular now. He explains there are something like 300 of them all over Japan.

People enjoy at Japan cat cafe in Tokyo

Indeed, cats have recently become the most popular pets in the country too on this part we will discuss the reasons for japan’s current cat fever cats have been popular pets in japan for centuries. Many of the cats found in japan’s back alleys and parks share specific characteristics those features include rounded faces, strong noses, and short fur. The first cat cafe in the world The world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden” (貓花園), opened in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998 and eventually became a global tourist destination.

White black and tabby varieties are all common cat-like calico cats with white black and orange fur that have long been admired in japan where they are more common than in other parts of the world a feature that once set many Japanese cats apart was a very short or bent tail.

In the 20th century, these short-tailed cats became sought after in the united states they are now considered a distinct breed called the Japanese bob tale. In 2017 the number of pet cats in japan overtook the number of pet dogs there are now about 10 million of them cat cafes have harnessed that popularity to become a familiar part of Japanese life.

Japan Cat Cafe Business Background Expand To Japan Cat Hotel

A cat waits for a visitor at the Japan cat cafe

Visitors can feed, photograph, and play with the cats which roam freely. In 2005 japan had only three of these cat cafes. Now, there are around 300 each one offers a slightly different experience. Japan even has rental apartments that are designed specifically with cat owners in mind.

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There are platforms that cats can climb up to and built-in cat flaps to enable them to go outside. Cat exercise machines and self-cleaning litter trays are among the new products that are constantly appearing each year cat-related products and services generate economic activity worth over 2 trillion yen.

There is even a cat celebrity industry this is Suzume an authentic star her owner posts cute pictures of Suzume on social media attracting comments from all over the world she’s so beautiful what a gorgeous cat look at her mouth and nose with hundreds of thousands of followers Suzume gets more attention than any other cat in japan showbiz even represents her.

costumers enjoy with cats at a cat cafe in Japan

Agency Suzumi has been featured on stationery and in her own photo collections offers of work keep rolling in. In japan. Cats are more than just pets. They’re the epitome of cuteness and their popularity shows no signs of waning your mind.

Nekojima The Cat Island of Japan

Zoologist Imaizumi tataki said his various activities include the study of the Idiomoteka a critically endangered animal found only on a remote Japanese island when it comes to cats he’s one of japan’s leading authorities now was a little surprised quite honestly to hear that cats are as popular as they are in Japan right now.

Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cat owners. There’s been a real social shift there’s even an island known as Nekojima which literally means cat island there are large numbers of young men and women who started visiting the island to see the cats that live there.

It took local people by surprise the taxis that take people from the train station to the coast used to have barely any customers but recently business has been booming and it’s all thanks to the cats.

What do you think is responsible for this sudden popularity of cats well they’re easier to take care of than dogs you don’t have to walk them every day you can also leave a cat alone at home.

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For a while. That independence makes things simpler for the owner in japan small houses are widespread people have limited space that sort of environment is absolutely fine for a cat it becomes its own little world. They don’t need lots of space to exercise when you consider the social and cultural context cats are very good.

Why Japanese adopt cats?

Fit for life in japan beyond that many elderly people are living alone families are smaller lots of people are out at work all day fewer people are getting married maybe some of them feel lonely then there’s covet 19 a lot of people have been coping by themselves in situations like that a cat is an ideal companion

That’s interesting who lives there were no children in the home and started having cats although the owner didn’t actually go out and buy them they just seemed to arrive and always had cats in the house.

The dog is still the more popular pet in Japan than cats

Peter Barragan said you’re right cats can be conversation partners they listen to your everyday grumbles and sometimes it feels like they’re even sympathizing with you. It means dogs have always been popular in Japan.

the dog is more popular than the cat in japan

There are other differences in the way that people relate to dogs and the way they relate to cats the ancestors of domesticated dogs.

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Hunted in packs they had a social structure they’d be leaders deputies and then everyone else it was a hierarchical system human society is quite similar to that it has a vertical structure but cats are different one cat will hunt and live alone there’s no hierarchy and so for people who are tired of rules.

And strict social structures keeping a pet cat can give a comforting sense of freedom. That feeling contributed to the growing popularity of cats they’re not just cute they’re independent and that’s very appealing Japanese share an inseparable bond with cats.

Cats-human relationship history 1300 years

The roots of that relationship can be traced back 1300 years. In the early day, cats put on leads much like dogs are now they were kept in the home and cherished. It’s very fashionable to keep a beautiful cat on red lead cats were rare and that line in a famous essay reflected that keeping a cat was a status symbol for the nobility.

In the 17th century and beyond japan’s cat population surged. This was prompted by a rodent problem the authorities ordered city dwellers to put cats out on the streets cats became much more visible in everyday life and soon artists began using them as subject matter.

There’s no better example than this masterpiece by Utagawa Kuniyoshi it shows 50 cats in a variety of lively poses as time went by people started attributing mysterious powers to cats ornaments called Maneki Neko embody that way of thinking they make a beckoning motion the idea is that they are welcoming in good luck.

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Japanese Believe Neko Mata Spirit Cats Lead A Successful Business

nekomata spirit

They are said to lead to business success and ward off evil since the 19th century they’ve been a common sight in shops and homes in other contexts cats have feared people believed that if a cat lived long enough it would change into spirit stories emerged of Nekomata monstrous cats with forked tails that would torment and put curses on their victims.

Nekomata and other terrifying cats were often featured in performing arts like Kabuki which cemented a fear of supernatural creatures among the public in this way cats acquired both good and bad associations in people’s minds are cats native to japan well Japan had wild cats thousands of years ago.

There is still some today but the domestic cats we know now are a totally different variety. They descend from African wild cats in western Asia when people first started farming the land they began keeping these cats the farmers had to store grain which led to a proliferation of mice and rats cats were helpful because they hunted the vermin this was about 10 000 years ago.

Cats arrive in japan in the 6th century

Cats were said to have arrived in Japan in the 6th century they came via china at roughly the same time as Buddhism. However, it seems Japan had some cats even earlier than that.

The remains of a domestic cat were discovered at an archaeological site in southwest japan those bones were dated to the 1st-century bc and were they something of an exotic creature in the early days around the year 1000 emperor Ichijou ruled japan.

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He came into possession of a cat imported from china the emperor treated that cat as a precious treasure. He entrusted its care to the noble women at court and gave it a social standing as high as any aristocrat which was pretty astonishing an unheard-of privilege.

The story shows exactly how exotic and cherished cats were as with most things in Japanese history they belonged almost exclusively to the aristocracy for a long time and then eventually when we come to the Edo period in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Finally, the man in the street gets access to them as well and this seems to have happened with cats too.

Indeed. It was prompted by an increase in the population of cats which meant that cat ownership was no longer confined to the aristocracy. The general public started keeping them too which was responsible for the increase in the number of cats the Edo period was a time of peace and security society prospered and food was abundant that drawing rodents and other vermin.

Their presence can make food inedible so keeping a cat came to be seen as a hygienic thing for a family to do the cats caught the rodents which led to Maneki nickel. The idea that cats attract good luck they were incredibly popular and that brings us to the subject of Calico cats. Their fur is orange black and white people loved that beautiful balance of colors.

Calico cats

calico cats were touched by a visitor on Nekojima island

For genetic reasons, Calico cats are almost all female males and are only born at a rate of one every thirty or fifty thousand so they’re seen as extremely valuable the scarcity of calico cats. It is one reason why they are associated with good luck.

So there was generally this image of cats bringing good fortune but at other times there was the opposite image as well wasn’t there why was that something that’s found?

Cats are perception bring luck or unlucky

Throughout the world. There are different ways of thinking about the same thing in one region white cats might be seen as lucky but in another region, they might be seen as unlucky. The complete opposite in Europe it seems that’s the case with black cats. It’s with black cats whether they come from the right side or the left side or indeed.

Calico cat in nekojima island

And so a growing number of people in Japan saw cats as unsettling or even scary creatures when cats with long tails got old their tails were said to split apart they became spirits with forked tails. These creatures would bring about the misfortune that the story arrived from china and people in Japan became afraid of long-tailed cats. Was there any factual basis at all for that no none at all?

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It was just a story but cat owners absolutely hated long tails. There are even stories of kittens having their tails cut off just after birth. However, genetically speaking that’s not where short-tailed cats came from we know that for certain they actually came from natural variations.

When you have a large population of cats some are born with unusual characteristics. In Japan, one of those characteristics was a short tale people thought that cats with short tails wouldn’t change into a monstrous spirit that’s why in the Edo period the Japanese public actually preferred short-tailed cats, and that variety became known as the Japanese cat.

Cats have some extraordinary skills

Although. There is no idea who gave them that name and are those cats still around? Now, in recent years breeds such as Siamese cats have become available in Japan. They’re attractive and stylish with long tails.

Other examples include American short hairs and British short hairs their numbers increased and short-tailed cats have now become pretty unusual.

Certainly in Europe and in America to cats have this kind of supernatural image about them. As well is that something that’s common in Japan too is that compared to human beings cats have some extraordinary skills. For example, their ability to see in the dark from our perspective it’s amazing.

It comes from their pupils in the daytime the pupils become narrow so cats aren’t dazzled by the light then at night. They open widely according to one theory in the Edo period people were able to tell the time based on the dilation of a cat’s pupils' abilities. Such night vision contributed to the image of cats as supernatural today a new phenomenon is changing Japan’s long-held relationship with cats.

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The explosive rise in feral cats

With the explosive rise in feral cats a single pair of cats and their offspring can increase the population by as many as 100 animals a year. There are currently around 100 000 feral cats in Tokyo alone. This is causing all sorts of problems the cats leave poor marks and scratches on cars and their droppings result in a bad smell.

In the past, all the feral cats that were caught were put down. These days more local authorities put feral cats in shelters but even now around 27 000 are killed each year in some places residents are seeking alternatives to putting cats down.

They include initiatives backed by the local government to stop feral cats from breeding the animals are captured, spayed, or neutered, and then released. Also, a notch is cut out of one ear this is to distinguish them from other cats that have not yet undergone it.

Japanese people work together to provide food for cats in the Neighborhood cat project

In the procedure residents work together to provide food for the animals. It’s known as the neighborhood cat project however some local people oppose the initiative this has divided the community and caused tension.

calico cat waiting for food from a visitor in nekojima island

In response, the local government stepped in and assigned a mediator and is backing the neighborhood cat project. The mediator visits frequently to speak to residents and aims for good neighborhood relations today. she’s visiting someone who works on the neighborhood cat project there have been complaints about the way she feeds feral cats.

Don’t put cat food directly on the ground

But we’ve had complaints, people say you put food directly on the ground but the cats follow me around. still, it’s important not to put food directly on the ground the leftovers rot and attract pests. Concerns about feral cats have led to disagreements among residents about rules and manners it’s not just about the cats the problem lies with the people too.

The first step is to resolve those matters and build a bridge then hopefully the neighborhood cat project can go smoothly. Cats are increasingly popular but the search continues for ways to enable happy coexistence between cats and people.

Why do you think it is that the number of alicats or unwanted cats has become so large? There are many reasons that cats may simply be unwanted perhaps their owners grew too old to take care of them or perhaps their owners moved away.

People feel sorry for feral cats and so they feed them. But the result of that is an increase in the number of feral cats.

Cat increase problem rules, how to implement them?

Giving food to cats out of sympathy just exacerbates the problem. Neutering of cats and dogs happens elsewhere too ethically. How do you feel about that good spaying and neutering are processes that don’t occur in the wild?

Some say they take away a cat’s dignity as a living being those people oppose the practice fiercely it’s a complicated issue.

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In some cases, don’t think having a choice but to come up with rules and implement them can’t just let the cat population grow but rural areas maybe don’t need those rules. The cats are not going to understand those rules.

These are human rules. Cats always live the way they wish they were free. Back in the Edo period of the 17th, and 19th centuries. There were large numbers of cats did they have the same problems as too many cats. Back in those days too and if they did have a problem how did they deal with it in the Edo period food supply?

Improved so the population of cats increased actually it shot up however even if a cat had lots of offspring not all of them would make it to adulthood only one or two of them would survive. So it’s like people at the time a cat dying was just something that happened. Everyone simply accepted it but now people feel sorry for them.

They look after them that’s why the number of cats has shot up more and more people are devoted to cats that number is rocketing up. It’s a big change. Of course, it’s important to care for them but don’t think should cast cats in the same light as human beings and give them the same rights.

That’s going a little too far it leads to conflict right it means regardless of cats. The relationship between human beings and animals, in general, is something that’s been in the news quite a lot. Humans and cats are very different. It’s important for us to understand.