Home Society & Culture How Luxury Cat Furniture Shot A City In Fukuoka Into Global Prominence [Video]

How Luxury Cat Furniture Shot A City In Fukuoka Into Global Prominence [Video]

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Because your cat deserves the finest furniture money can buy.

When it comes to furniture there are few places in Japan that can compete with the city of Okawa in Fukuoka Prefecture. Not only does Okawa have close to 500 years of history making furniture, it is also home to Okawa Kagu, a consortium of over a dozen artisans committed to producing furniture of the highest quality. That being said, Okawa was not particularly well known around the world outside of perhaps enthusiasts of high end furniture. That all changed in 2017, though, when Okawa Kagu announced that they would begin selling a line of luxury furniture specifically for cats.

Unveiled in the fall of 2017, this line of diminutive furniture was given the very straightforward name of Neko Kagu (literally “cat furniture”) and consisted of a sofa and a bed, each produced by one of Okawa’s most popular makers. Coming in at 110,000 yen (~$980 USD) each, the Neko Kagu pieces were of the highest quality and Okawa Kagu made sure that they were made with the same amount of care, effort, and expertise used to build their normal-sized beds and sofas.

Neko Kagu have features like cushions that will not easily get caught on the sharp nails of cats, and wood that will not easily show scratches.

Following the unveiling of Neko Kagu, it didn’t take long for news outlets around the world to pick up the story and start spreading it. Soon, people from all over the world were finding out about the amazing skill of the carpenters of Okawa Kagu, while at the same time looking at images of cute cats on expensive miniature furniture.

In the year following the introduction of Neko Kagu, Okawa Kagu says that they have sold about 30 of the bed and sofa each. While in a sense it is certainly impressive that potentially up to 60 people have paid around $1000 for furniture for their cat, in the grand scheme of things, these sales figures are anything but. However, as a representative of Okawa City explained in an interview with Fuji News, this is fine because the primary motivation behind the project was not to sell cat beds, but rather to “publicize just how high quality the furniture and how skilled the artisans of Okawa Kagu are in an easy to understand way.”

On September 27, Okawa Kagu renewed their commitment to their Neko Kagu project by unveiling a second, even more luxurious, line of cat furniture. Consisting of five new designs, the line features three sofas, one bed, and a very natural looking platform on a tree design, which they describe as a bench (see above). The three sofas range in price from 120,000 yen (~$1,066 USD), all the way up to $270,800 JPY (~$2,406 USD). The bench and the new bed have yet to be made available to purchase.

The “Pancone” is the most expensive model in the Neko Kagu line yet, coming in at over $2,000. It is made by Marusho, a company part of the Okawa Kagu group, which is known for its designs that accentuate the natural beauty of the wood they use.

As for why exactly Okawa Kagu settled on making furniture for cats rather than dogs or any other animal, the same Okawa City representative explained that this was because cats are generally thought of as being fickle and thus hard to satisfy. In other words, they wanted to show the world that Okawa Kagu’s craftspeople are so skilled and dedicated to what they do that their work will please even the most demanding customer.

Four of the Neko Kagu series 2 models.

Given all the media coverage, the large number of inquiries the city of Okawa has received from people all around the world, and the fact that the promotional video for the first Neko Kagu line has over 600,000 views, it seems safe to say that as a PR stunt Neko Kagu has been a massive success and resulted in countless people discovering Okawa Kagu. It just goes to show that sometimes all you need to get people to notice your product is an interesting idea and, of course, a few cats.

Okawa Kagu will be holding a Neko Kagu expo in Tokyo in the Daikanyama T-Site bookstore’s Garden Gallery from November 10-11, so if you’re in the area, to see all seven Neko Kagu models in person.

For more information on Neko Kagu visit the official Okawa Kagu website here.

Watch the promotional video for the second series of Neko Kagu below.

Watch the promotional video for the first series of Neko Kagu below.

Source: FNN Prime
Image: Courtesy of Okawa Kagu

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