百物語怪談会 Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai

Mizuki_Shigeru_Nekomata

Translated and sourced from Mizuki Shigeru’s Mujara, Yokai Jiten, Japanese Wikipedia, and other sources

Beware of keeping your sweet and patient house cat for too long. According to Japanese folklore, once that venerable pussy reaches an ancient enough age, its tail will split into two and it will begin to walk on its hind legs. Only then will your cat begins its second life as a nekomata, a cat-like yokai with a split-tail.

What does Nekomata Mean?

Nekomata is not an easy word to translate. Most translations for names of yokai depend on the kanji, and nekomata can be written in three different ways. Note that all three are pronounced the exact same way. The most ancient form was 猫また, which uses the kanji for cat 猫(neko), with the remainder written in hiragana. Words written in hiragana have no inherent meaning and often the definition can only be guessed at.

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