Bakeneko Cat

Looking up Japanese cat woodblock prints, I have come across the giant cat demons and ghost cats: Bakeneko and Nekomata. These huge cats get up to all kind of devilry and the thought of them toying with you, a mere puny human is terrifying!

A Bakeneko can walk on its hind legs, take a humanoid form, enter someone’s dreams, devour people and steal their identities and eat anything, no matter what it is. But there are also faithful and benevolent Bake-neko. The popular Maneki Neko beckoning cat that is supposed to bring good fortune to the storekeeper is a Bakeneko’s doing. A Bakeneko once entered a dream of an impoverished old mistress telling her to manufacture its image in clay in order to bring her wealth. This lucky cat charm has spread all over the world.

They look a little Scottish to me…

bakeneko cats

Here is the Bakeneko festival full of cat costumes and cat cos play.

Cat festival

Nekomata – The Split-Tailed Cat, another cat afterlife demon

One of the most famous accounts of nekomata is the story The Nekomata Fire, which tells the tale of a samurai whose house is taken over by a poltergeist-like haunting that is only ended when the family cat is killed and revealed to have two tails.



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