There are lots of cat-related items in Japan, and people tend to be fond of cats. This fondness may date well back in the past, since mice are a predator of silkworms, which the Japanese have raised for silk since long. Cats used to be protected to reduce the mouse population. Also, some Japanese legends relate cats to good fortune, which makes them popular. Maneki-neko is a symbol of good luck.
Kasha is a cat-like demon coming from the sky and taking away corpses. Other “cats” are downright ominous. Bakeneko are monster-cats that menace households, having some supernatural powers similar to the kitsune, fox, and tanuki, the raccoon dog. Especially old and/or heavy cats can transform into bakeneko. They can grow a second tail. This story, as well as that of an ancient cat that set its tail on fire and ran through the town, burning down many buildings, may have made people cut the cats’ tails off. Though the Japanese Bobtails, cats without tails, are considered to be a mutation.
One cat in Kurashiki City:
Near Osaka Castle:
Akashi fish market: