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

Le Bakeneko, un chat pas ordinaire

The Bakeneko, an unusual cat

Fudo Myo.com

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

wikia.com

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

Latest Articles

Kenzo Tange, the influential Japanese architect who shaped modern architecture

Kenzo Tange (丹下 健三) is widely considered one of the most influential and honored Japanese architects of the 20th century.

Japan Visitor - miko7.jpg

Miko Shrine Maidens: Japan's Traditional Shinto Priestesses

In the enchanting world of Japanese Shinto tradition, miko shrine maidens stand as iconic figures, bridging the gap between the earthly and divine realms.

Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy in Japanese Buddhism

Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, is one of the most beloved and widely venerated deities in Japanese Buddhism.