Nekomata - The Malicious Japanese Yokai Cat

Nekomata, a type of Yōkai cat that is often told. Where it is often quoted in folklore through texts such as classic Kaidan, essays, etc. These can be said to be one of the most popular Yokais.

On second thought, cat-themed fashion in Japan is very successful. Thus, it is logical that these folklore figures are also cited. For example, Maneki-Neko, the lucky cat figure that is extremely popular in Japan.

But anyway, the subject of this article is the Nekomata. Remembering that there is a Yokai very similar to this one, Bakeneko. So don't confuse the two, they are similar but not the same.

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Nekomata and its origins

It is believed that the origin of these Nekomata cats comes from China, as similar stories are told even before the Sui dynasty of Japan.

In Japan, there are quotes in the Meigetsuki, written at the beginning of the Kamakura period, at the beginning of Tenpuku (1233). In this text, there is a statement that a Nekomata ate and killed several people in one night.

This is the first citation seen in the literature. Thus, the Nekomata was referred to as a beast in the mountains. However, in the "Meigetsuki", it describes them with the eyes of a cat, but with a body as big as a dog. With this description, many are in doubt if it is a feline.

Nekomata - the malevolent Japanese yokai cat

Stories about Nekomata

In a text by Tsurezuregusa, it is mentioned that there are also pet cats that age and turn into yokai. Then they start kidnapping people and eating them.

In the Edo period and beyond, it is generally thought that domestic cats would transform into Nekomata as they age. Soon, the aforementioned Nekomata of the mountains were interpreted as cats that ran away and came to live in the mountains.

Precisely for this reason a popular belief has emerged in every area of Japan. People have come to believe that cats shouldn't be bred for many months and years.

In the "Ansai Zuihitsu" by the ceremonial court Sadatake Ise we have another quote. It is stated that "a cat that is several years old will have two tails. Then it will become the Yōkai called Nekomata".

Nekomata - the malevolent Japanese yokai cat

Nekomata and its bad influences

Cats are often associated with death in Japan, and this particular spirit is often blamed. After all, this Yokai is darker and more malevolent than most Bakeneko.

The Nekomata are said to have necromancy powers and, upon raising the dead, will control them with ritualistic dances. These Yokai are associated with strange fires and other unexplained occurrences.

The older, and the more mistreated a cat was before its transformation, the more power the Yokai would have.

Nekomata - the malevolent Japanese yokai cat

To take revenge on those who have wronged, the spirit can haunt humans with visits from their dead relatives. Usually these spirits appear as older women. And misbehaving in public and bringing sadness and malevolence wherever they traveled.

From this insight and strange characteristics, the Nekomata have been considered devilish since time immemorial. Due to fears and popular beliefs such as the dead raised at a funeral. Or that seven generations would be cursed as a result of killing a cat, among others.

By these things, it is believed that the legend of this Yokai was born.

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Nekomata is an evil spirit

Don't be fooled by other popular descriptions. You can look at fashion with feline aspects from a good perspective. But don't think that Yoikai Nekomata is a kind-hearted folk figure.

Nyanko fashion is very much based on the Maneki Neko figure. In addition to other certain aspects of Japanese culture. But anyway, this is not the point here. The important thing is not to consider Nekomata as a cute and kind figure.

Nekomata - the malevolent Japanese yokai cat

Anyway, there may have been some doubts. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything like that, just leave your comment. Also, I ask you to share the website page on social media, it helps a lot. Anyway, thanks for reading the article so far, until next time.

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