Fun Link Friday: The Most Loyal Cat in Japan

Unrelated cat photo taken by Travis at Yanaka Cemetery in Tokyo, June 2013.

Louise Hung is an American writer currently living in Japan. Her latest post on The Order of the Good Death, entitled “Paying my respects to the most loyal cat in Japan,” relates her adventure in visiting the grave of the Hachikô of cats.

Maybe Nagai really did have a cat he dearly loved. Maybe that cat did appear to be distraught when his master didn’t come home. Maybe somebody got confused and when a cat died near the grave, they conflated the cats and a legend was born. Maybe the people at the time needed such a story. Why look a good legend in the mouth?

And if nothing else, the story of Nagai’s cat led me to a cheery, little graveyard (for a warlord) that I might not have ever known existed. Death folklore (with cats!) plus historic graves? I’ll take it!

To read the rest of the story, check out The Order of the Good Death. And follow Louise on Twitter for more stories about death, folklore, and cats.

About Travis

I am a scholar of Japanese & Okinawan history with a particular interest in the history of arts and culture, and inter-Asia interactions, in the early modern period. I have been fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to live in Okinawa for six months in 2016-17, and in mainland Japan on multiple occasions, including from Sept 2019 to now.
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