The bakeneko, the legend of the "monster cat" 化け猫

Le Bakeneko, un chat pas ordinaire

The Bakeneko, an unusual cat


A centuries-old superstition still very present today

At the origin of a centuries-old superstition, the bakeneko or "monster-cat" is both feared and celebrated...Its long tail allows it to stand up, and it is even said to have the gift of raising the dead! Today, a festival is held every year in his honor in the small Tokyo district of Kagurazaka!


Literally "cat-monster", the bakeneko is a yôkai (spirit of Japanese folklore) taking on the appearance of a long-tailed cat. This tail would allow it to walk on two legs, and some special abilities like speech, metamorphism, and even the resurrection of the dead!

On a slightly more horrifying note, a cat transformed into a bakeneko would even go so far as to kill its master to take his place and thus control the entire household!

But don't worry, not every cat is a bakeneko!

To become a bakeneko, a cat must meet certain criteria: be at least 13 years old, weigh more than 3.5 kg, and have an abnormally long tail. A characteristic that launched a fashion in the 17th century: the short-tailed cats!

Représentation d'un Bakeneko

Representation of a Bakeneko

Japanese bobtail, short-tailed cat

Japanese bobtail, short-tailed cat

Un défilé de Bakeneko à Kagurazaka

A Bakeneko parade in Kagurazaka

Flick/LSP Tokyo

Les enfants profitent aussi du festival

Children also enjoy the festival

Flick/LSP Tokyo

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