Heartwarming story behind ‘Nameneko’

Heartwarming story behind ‘Nameneko’

What is Nameneko?


(Photo source: http://mocha-fuwari.jugem.jp/?eid=123)

In Japan, Nameneko (Don’t Pelorian! / Perlorian / Namennayo) became a big hit in the early 1980s and everyone loved these cats in costumes with juvenile delinquent behavior such as smoking in bathroom and being motorcycle gang. These Perlorian cats appeared in over 500 different pieces of merchandise at that time.
(Source: Wikipedia – Perlorian)


(Source: http://blog.homemate.co.jp/image_entry/4/2/1/4214/3/NjF3dG1qakpqNExfX1NTNDAwX4LIgt-C8YLIguaUTIJRr74.jpg)


(Source: Nameneko drivers licence)

How Nameneko was born?

Satoru Tsuda, the creator of Nameneko love animals. Even 10 years before he started Nameneko photos, he had many pets such as rabbit, dog, guinea pig, duck, pigeon, hamster, parakeet, sparrow and turtle at his office. At first, he wasn’t very fond of cats since cats harmed his pigeon and parakeet but later on he fell in love with chinchilla golden cat. (Photo in the middle below. )

スクリーンショット 2016-03-19 23.19.51

He was already working as photographer taking photos of cats for posters and calendars like this.

In 1979, Satoru took in 4 tiny kittens he found abandoned at a dry cleaner’s shop and he took care of them just like kittens mom. When he found the kittens, they were so small that he didn’t know if the kittens could live – their eyes weren’t even open – so he took them to his office every day, fed them milk, wiped them. Kittens thought of him as their mom, followed him everywhere. When he went to toilet, kittens would follow him and do toilet there, too. They slept on same bed together. One day after a few months, he saw Matakichi (the kitten named after the dry cleaner where he found kittens) was playing with doll clothes which his girlfriend at that time left. He thought it might be interesting to have them wear doll clothes and took photos with them in doll clothes. Idea of Nameneko was born from it.

The decline of popularity caused by the rumor of animal cruelty – which was not true.

According to interview with Satoru Tsuda by Excite news on Feb 3rd 2005, Nameneko photo shoot was done 10 times while kittens were between 50 days old and 80 days old (duration only for a month). Once you put clothes on to kittens, photo shoot must be done within 10 minutes before they get bored. There were 7 to 8 staffs who were in charge of Nameneko photo shoot such as camera man, person in charge for kitten to change clothes, person in charge to arrange stage set, foxtail to play with. All staffs were cat lovers, they all had cats. Size of bed, window, bike were made in one sixth of the human size. Making clothes was the hardest part. All clothes were hand sewed, leather jacket costed 150,000 yen to make.

In official website, Satoru explained how to make cats look like they are standing.

スクリーンショット 2016-03-20 0.14.43

As you can see from the picture, the kitten (Matakichi) is sitting, not standing. There were criticism from people like “it must be using dead cat”, “it must be using a stick to make it stand”. “It must be using wires to hold kitten straight””it must be dosing kittens” – Everyday, there were interviewers from magazines and TV cameras came to see the photo shoot of Nameneko so that such ridiculous rumors faded away gradually.

What happened to these kittens afterwards?

After Nameneko photo shoot were done, kittens were taken good care by their owners and Matakichi (who was dressed in boy’s clothes but in fact it was a girl cat) had 4 babies and lived 16 years.

スクリーンショット 2016-03-20 0.30.21

Mikeko (who was dressed as girl) lived 20 years. Both of them were over 100 years old in human age. (Source: official website)

スクリーンショット 2016-03-20 0.31.47

These kittens in Nameneko had a very good iife.

Some Nameneko goods on Amazon you can find!

You can find Nameneko goods on Amazon! Nameneko goods are still trending!

Nameneko card & gum



(Source: Amazon Namenayo Movie)


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