Happy Cat Day From Japan 02

Happy Cat Day from Japan! Since 2/22 sounds like nyan nyan nyan to the Japanese, today has been designated as a special day to do something nice for our feline companions.

You probably know about the deep love the Japanese have of neko (cats), thanks to the Internet. You might know that Japan has a “cat island” that’s overrun with adorable cats that tourists can visit. (Actually, there are 11 of these islands.) And you might know that in a rural train station near Osaka, a cat named Tama was named honorary stationmaster, causing millions to flock to the station to photograph the famous cat, bringing tons of money into the regional economy. A travel agency even uses cats with little suitcases around their necks to promote local tourism.

Yes, cats are everywhere in Japan, providing warm friendship and making our lives better. In many ways, Japan’s love of cats represents the great peace and prosperity the country enjoys. A man named Mitsuaki Iwago has the rather awesome job title of “professional cat photographer,” and travels all over the world (for example, a village in Croatia) following families of cats as they interact with each other and nearby humans, while his HD cameras capture it all. Japan has the surplus economic and leisure resources to concern themselves with the welfare of random cats on the other side of the world is amazing to me.

I like to investigate the origins of things and how they relate to Japan. Cats seem to be a relatively recent part of life in Japan, with the first known cats dating to 1 B.C., imported from China to control mice. It took centuries for cats to show up in literature and historical documents, but by the Nara Period (710-794) they had firmly established themselves. According to a 10th-century book that listed known plants and animals at the time, the word neko originally was shortened from nezumi wo konomu or “that which loves to eat mice.” Another theory says that neko comes from characters that mean “sleeping child,” which describes our new kitten Ku-chan, who does nothing but sleep, or hide whenever I come near.

If you love cats, we’ve got some amazing and kawaii cat-related products from Japan to show you!

Girls Und Panzer Nintendo Switch 02

We love selling region-free anime games from Japan, for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. And guess what? We got some new games, including the awesome Girls und Panzer Dream Tank Match, a fun game in which you get to become your favorite GalPan character and pilot tanks into battle. Fully compatible with all Nintendo Switch hardware anywhere in the world! Browse all the new import anime games here.

About the author

Peter Payne

I live in Japan and I run J-List, an anime shop famous for shimapan and Tentacle Grape. I love being able to bring Japanese culture to the world.