The Legends of Ghost Cat (kekomata) in Tokugawa Japan

In Japanese folklore, nekomata is a demon cat that possesses supernatural powers to hurt or help humans. Based on Japanese primary sources, this study will classify nekomata legends in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868) into five categories: vengeful cat, silkworm cat, fortune-telling cat, reciprocating cat, and loyal cat. It will introduce the stories associated with these five kinds of nekomata and discuss the cultural significance of nekomata in Japanese cultural history and Sino-Japanese comparative studies. Nekomata could take many different forms and maneki-neko (beckoning cat) was one of them. This study examines how nekomata was absorbed in the religious and material life of Tokugawa Japanese.

To top