Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Bakeneko are forked tailed cat demons, not to be trusted. There are different myths concerning when and why a cat’s tail splits into two and he becomes a bakeneko, including that it happens when he reaches a certain age (although what the age is specifically tends to vary with each telling); or that it is the vengeful spirit of an ill-treated cat returned to avenge itself on his tormentors. Some people say it splits when a domestic cat reaches 8 pounds or it if has eaten in the same house for 13 years – but in all the stories once a feline’s tail divides into two the cat becomes a bakeneko and has supernatural powers. Bakeneko have been credited with shapeshifting and it’s believed that Bakeneko can breathe life back into the newly dead so all cats are kept away from fresh corpses as a precaution. (It’s also been said that it can reanimates a corpse by jumping over it’s head). Bakeneko then use these zombie bodies to revenge themselves on people they felt have wronged them. To prevent their pets from turning into demons Japanese people would cut the tails off their cats and as a consequence, there is a huge number of bobtail or stumpy tailed cats here in Japan, both feral and domesticated. Bakeneko (all cats really) enjoy licking lamp oil – it’s convenient fat and protein for them. With the lamp right there playing with shadows and the inevitable distortion a shoji screen would add to the image of a cat on a table licking lamp oil, it’s easy to see why people began to speculate about cats as yokai. Some believe bakeneko can grow large enough to just snatch people up through open windows. They’ve been known to kill a person and assume his/her identity. In more than one story e Bakeneko kills a person in it’s household and hides the body in the floorboards (or sometimes just the bones – all gnawed clean) assumes the dead person’s appearance and place in the family appearing at meal times to gorge. Bakeneko are considered malevolent creatures and are usually depicted as quite ferocious and evil.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Size: 7" x 9.5" - Published: 2012 - Pages: 120 - Price: $120 -Binding: Softcover
This book is a must have. It touches on just about every integral Japanese motif, penned in Ichibays infallible hand. Hailing from Luke Atkinson's Checker Demon Press, I cannot say enough good things about this book, and more importantly, Ichibay himself was central in it's creation. Smallish so it is perfect for travelers, cover to cover black and grey sketches, this book will improve your reference library tenfold. Get one.