Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What’s the deal with catgirls? (About nekomimi) | Ichimon Japan 01

What’s the deal with catgirls? (About nekomimi) | Ichimon Japan 01

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Have you ever wondered what a bald cat girl (neko mimi) would look like? Do they have four ears or two ears? This image features an original character named Hagenyan (literally "Baldie Meow"). She is an attempt to answer these questions. As you can see, she has two sets of ears.

Today’s Question

On this episode of chimon Japan we ask: What’s the deal with catgirls?

Topics Discussed

  • The history and origins of the trope of the catgirl
  • What nekomimi (猫耳) means
  • The existence of “catboys” (male nekomimi characters)
  • Yōkai reminiscent of catgirls such as bakeneko nd nekomata
  • The depiction of bakeneko women in Edo era ukiyo-e woodblock prints
  • The supposed connection between catgirls and Osamu Tezuka’s amanga Ribon no Kishi (Princess Knight)
  • The 1978 manga Wata no Kunihoshi (The Star of Cotton land) by Yumiko Oshimaand its role in popularizing the trope of the catgirl in manga and anime
  • The character of Felicia from the Darkstalkers franchise
  • A list of some of the most popular catgirls in Japan in recent years
  • Whether catgirls have night vision
  • Whether catgirls use litter boxes
  • Whether catgirls have four ears or two ears
  • Whether cats with human ears are as cute as girls with cat ears
  • The Japanese title of Josie and the Pussycats
  • And more!

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

To check out the Wikipedia catgirl, check out the link below.

Below is a link to the poll mentioned in this episode. The link outlines some of the most popular catgirls in Japan as determined by Japanese voters in 2015

The link below will take you to the Japanese article mentioned during this episode that shows pictures of real cats wearing fake human ears. By the way, the article also shows dogs wearing human ears. As it pertains to cats, the article concludes that cats do not get cuter when they have human ears on. Rather than feeling that they are cuter or even just strange, the writer says that looking at a cat wearing human ears fills them will an entirely new feeling.

Below is the Japanese-language version of the theme song of the 1970 American animated TV series Josie and the Pussycats. The Japanese title of Josie and the Pussycats is Doradora Koneko to Chakachaka Musume (Roughly translates to: Lazy Cat and the Rowdy Girl(s)). As you’ll quickly find out, it is very different from the original opening theme.

If you would like to check out the episode of the Japan Station podcast featuring Dr. Jonathan Clements you can do so via the link below.

Further, I’d like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Jonathan Clements for confirming a piece of information I was in doubt about. If you’r einterested in getting one of his many books, you can start by checking out the two below. Using the links below will also help support the show at no extra cost to you since they are Amazon affiliate links.

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

Featured image: An original catgirl character named Hagenyan next to the Ichimon Japan logo. Hagenyan was drawn by rept_u (@rept_u on Twitter and @repp_u on Instagram) based on an original concept by Tony Vega. Check out rept_u on Fiverr, if yo too want some awesome artwork.

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