neko japanese


Seven Manifestations of the Golden Flower 1862 by Blue Ruin 1

“Kinka shichi henge” (Seven manifestations of the Golden Flower) is a kusazoshi or ukiyo-e graphic novel about a cat monster. According to Japanese folklore, a neko (cat) that has lived for a long time can become a kind of youkai (supernatural monster) called a nekomata (fork-tailed cat). It was believed that after a cat reached ten years of age, its tail would slowly split into two tails, and it would develop magical powers. Nekomata have the ability to shape-shift into human form and are generally hostile to people.

This woodblock-print book is illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada, also known as Toyokuni III, who produced multiple editions of this story, including this 1862 edition.