Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

Welcome to Cat Island. No, make that Cat Islands — plural! Because, in Japan, there are at least two locations in Japan with that nickname.

Perhaps the most well-known "neko shima" (猫島) or "cat island" is Tashirojima, an island in Miyagi Prefecture. In the 1950s, over 1000 people lived on the island. Now, there are around 100, with the majority being in their 70s.

Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

Cats, however, thrive on the island and apparently outnumber the locals. Dogs are prohibited on Tashirojima, and people feed the felines, believing they bring good luck. Vets check up on them, making sure the animals are healthy. And tourism has sprouted up around the animals, with vacationers visiting the island just to see the cats.

Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

In the past, the island's fishermen kept cats around to kill mice, which would eat the silkworms needed to make fishing nets. The island is also home to a Shinto cat shrine.

There's an area of Tashirojima called "Manga Island", because manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009) designed cat-shaped lodges for visitors, which houses manga art, and has a gift shop. You can also rent fishing poles and bicycles.

Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

Recently, another "cat island", this one called Aoshima in Ehime Prefecture, has become quite popular online after Twitter user Kolmetoista uploaded the following pics of cats that inhabit the island. Only 16 people live on Aoshima, meaning that, like on Tashirojima, these four-legged friends outnumber the humans.

Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands
Cats Rule These Japanese Islands

Kolmetoista's photos are appearing on numerous Japanese blogs, and one of them was retweeted over 17,000 times.

Photos: Ishinomaki, Puchinya, Ishinomaki, トヨエツのブログ, Chunichi, ちょっと怪しいサラリーマン, しんしん "やってみよう!", Monodayori, 仙台 黒鯛 クロダイ 雑多なブログ, FujiTV, kolmetoista


Comments

    It needs to be remembered that Tashirojima was in the forefront of the tsunami caused by the undersea earthquake a couple of years ago, and I believe most if not all of these pictures were taken before that event.

    Well if your island is going to be overrun by a animal... one that covers it poo and self grooms is not so bad.

      At least these cats seem healthy and looked after. I remember visiting Athens and there are wild dogs everywhere covered in sores and fungal infections. The problem was so bad the Greek government rounded them all up during the Olympics and neutered the lot of them.

      Last edited 26/09/13 11:34 pm

    So if you were allergic to cats, I'm guessing you would die on this island

      As someone who is allergic to cats, I will mark these islands as "no go contagion" zones! If I had a map on the wall, I'd cross these islands out in red, they are dead to me.

    Wow, gaming news ahoy!

      Asian culture is part of Kotaku, always has been.

        Never like this though. (I've been reading since 2006/7)

          I've been around a while myself (Kotaku AU started in late 2007, as an aside). There are thousands upon thousands of pages that make it a bit difficult to trawl back through, but I remember there always being JCulture references on Kotaku, even on the AU site. I found a few from 2008 and early 2009 but anything I post with multiple links gets put in moderation forever.

          Plus there's the whole Kotaku East section of the US site, which has been syndicated to the AU site in varying degrees for as long as I can remember.

            In a separate post, let's try a few links to Japanese culture articles.

            http://www.kotaku.com.au/2008/01/do_you_look_like_a_japanese_otaku-2/
            http://www.kotaku.com.au/2007/11/haruhi_in_toy_car_form/
            http://www.kotaku.com.au/2007/11/the_haruhi_dance_in_prison_now/
            http://www.kotaku.com.au/2007/12/the_unofficial_crecente_fanclu/
            http://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/12/look-at-these-otaku-rooms/

      I never understood why cats are such a big part of gamer culture. Is it because the stereotype are too physically unfit to walk a dog?

      Last edited 27/09/13 7:55 am

        It's simply because cats are awesome ^_^

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