Nekomata - The Japanese Maleficent Yokai Cat

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Nekomata, a type of yōkai cat that is very counted. Where it is often cited in folklore through texts such as classic kaidan, essays, etc. These can be said to be one of the most popular yokai.

On second thought, cat-themed fashion in Japan is very successful. So it is logical that these folklore figures will also be 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, the bakeneko. So, do not confuse the two, they are similar but they are not the same.

Nekomata and its origins

In China, stories about nekomata are told that are even older than in Japan from the Sui dynasty. In Japan, there are quotes in 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.

Nekomata - o gato yokai malévolo japonês

This is the first quote seen in the literature. Thus, the nekomata was mentioned as a beast in the mountains. However, in “Meigetsuki”, it was written that the appearance, “they have eyes like a cat and have a big body like a dog”. With this description, many raise the question of whether or not it is a monster of a cat.

Stories about nekomata

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

In the Edo period and after, domestic cats are generally thought to become nekomata as they age. Soon, the aforementioned mountain nekomata came to be interpreted as cats that fled and came to live in the mountains.

Nekomata - o gato yokai malévolo japonês

It is precisely for this reason that a popular belief has emerged in every area of Japan. People have come to believe that cats should not be raised for many months and years.

In “Ansai Zuihitsu” by the Sadatake Ise ceremonial court we have another quote. It is stated that “a cat that is several years old will come to have two tails. Then you will become the yōkai called nekomata ”.

Nekomata and its bad influences

Cats they are often associated with death in Japan, and that particular spirit is often to blame. After all, this yokai is darker and malevolent than most bakeneko.

It is said that the nekomata has powers of necromancy and, by raising the dead, will control them with ritualistic dances. These yokais are associated with strange fires and other unexplained occurrences. The older, and the more ill-treated a cat was before its transformation, the more power the yokai would have.

Nekomata - o gato yokai malévolo japonês

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

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

For these things, it is believed that the legend of this yokai was born.

Nekomata is an evil spirit

Don't be fooled by other popular descriptions. You can see the fashion with feline aspects from a good perspective. But don't think that the nekomata yoikai is a kindly 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 connect nekomata with a cute and kind figure.

Nekomata - o gato yokai malévolo japonês

Anyway, some doubts may have remained. If you have any questions, suggestions or anything, just leave your comment. In addition, I ask you to share the site page on social networks, it helps a lot. In addition, thanks for reading the article so far, until the next.