If our post on Sushi cat and デブ猫 was any indication, or perhaps the enormously popular antics of Maru-chan, you already know that Japan has a ridiculous and wide-spread love of adorable cats. Honestly, most of us here at Shinpai deshou do as well, which is why today’s fun link is not only hilarious, but gets our gears turning as to how we can get to Tashiro Island田代島 in Miyagi prefecture as quickly as possible. Why, you may ask? Because it is an island of cats!
Well, cats and the elderly. No, really. The site tofugu featured an article early last month detailing this island, which thanks to the fishing industry after the Edo period (1600 -1868) is now home to so many stray cats that the island is teeming with them. According to the article:
In the past, the islanders raised silkworms for silk, and cats were kept in order to keep the mouse population down (because mice are a natural predator of silkworms). Fixed-net fishing was popular on the island after the Edo Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island overnight. The cats would go to the inns where the fishermen were staying and beg for scraps. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. One day, when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fixed-nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island.
Of the approximately 100 residents of the island only one person (yes, one) is under the age of 60, so residents are naturally hoping that their little island will become a prosperous tourist attraction to bring in new blood and a healthy economy to the island (Pssst, it’s working! Buy me a ferry ticket!). The original article is loaded with pictures and videos, so we won’t put them all up here, but be sure to check it out and get a glimpse and what looks to me like a must-see location for my next trip back to Japan.