The “wonky Japanense language, culture” blog Tofugo isn’t exactly breaking news so much as reading Wikipedia and scouring YouTube, but it bears repeating, especially in light of yesterday’s New York Times investigation: there is an island in Japan called Cat Island. And the internet goes wild! But it really does exist — Tashiro Island (田代島) — and only about 100 people live there; nearly everyone is over 60-years-old. The rest of the island is run by cats or made up of cat-related things, like houses or shrines. Video above and pictures after the jump.
Via the online encyclopedia:
There is a small cat shrine (neko jinja (猫神社?)) in the middle of the island, roughly situated between the two villages. 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).
There are at least ten cat shrines in Miyagi Prefecture. There are also 51 stone monuments in the shape of cats, which is an unusually high number compared to the other prefectures. In particular, these shrines and monuments are concentrated in the southern area of the island, overlapping with the regions where silkworms were raised.
Just thought that you should know.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 13, 2010