Japan’s most famous cat

I once heard somewhere that 80% of all content on the internet is porn. But surely that can’t be true. If you ask me, 80% of all content on the internet consists of funny cat pictures.

The most famous website with funny cat pictures is ‘I can has cheezburger‘. It features pictures of cats with comments in slightly distorted English. While some people might argue about the comic value of ‘lolcats’, as these pictures are commonly known (geek humor is not for everyone), there can be no doubt about the fact that this site has made a huge contribution to the explosion of cute and funny cat pictures on the internet.

lolcats

An example of ‘lolcats’

Since Japanese people love all things cute, naturally the Japanese also participate in the phenomenon of cute online cats. Japan’s most famous online cat* is called Shiro, which means white. It’s owner has a YouTube channel and a blog where he or she posts daily video’s of Shiro. Shiro is apparently quite famous in Japan, because I have come across Shironeko merchandise like calendars and birthday cards.

shironeko blog

Close-up of Shiro

 The Shironeko videos are not just videos of a cat doing your average cat things. The reason that Shiro is so famous, is because its owner has a habit of piling things on top of Shiro’s head. And amazingly, Shiro puts up with it. When I imagine doing the same thing to my cat, scenes of a madly screaming and flailing cat come to mind.

Have a look at Shiro with a ramen bowl on his head:

If you think a ramen bowl is impressive, check out the video below:

Apparently the owner has several other, equally docile cats:

The thing I love most about these videos is actually not the cute cats, but the glimpses of Japan that are in the background, like the beautiful screen doors in the ramen video or the scenery of the Japanese mountains in the videos outside. Apparently the owner lives in a beautiful secluded home somewhere in the mountains. Having lived in an almost entirely flat country like Belgium for most of my life, the beauty of the Japanese mountains has made a big impression on me.

;

Just as I was finishing up this article, I found out that there is another Japanese internet cat that is a lot more famous than Shiro. His name is Maru, his videos get millions of views and he has been featured in the New York Times. There is no denying it, the title of most famous cat in Japan goes to Maru. But I do remain a Shiro fan. The Shiro videos are just so wonderfully odd!

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9 thoughts on “Japan’s most famous cat

  1. Pingback: Japanese landscape through a cat’s eyes | The Japans

    • Haha, so true! My cat would throw a huge fit and I would have to be careful no to loose an eye if I tried any of the things in the videos on him.

      Actually I have seen many Japanese cats accept things that no cat I ever knew in Belgium would allow. I wonder why that is. Could it be a racial thing or are they just brought up different?

      • Probably because of the environment and how owners treat their cats differently. I’d say in other countries, cats tend to be more aware of their surroundings, afraid that others might harm them. But I’m not sure about Japan.. probably much more love for them, having the best living environment for them till they are really comfortable! It’s interesting that the way humans live affect their pets too!

  2. I so should be working and NOT looking at cat pictures. And I was doing so well at keeping away from I can has cheezburger, sigh. I hold YOU solely responsible for foiling my attempt of abstinece 😉
    Have you heard of Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld’s cat? Now there’s a seriously famous cat for you. Google at will, I dare you.

  3. I will have to read up on Shiro, the only famous cat I knew of was Maru. While on vacation I recently found a picture book that is full of pictures of Maru.

    • I have also heard of that book. I think it’s called ‘Maru desu’ (I am Maru). It never ceases to amaze me how these internet things can suddenly start to lead a life of their own. Imagine posting some videos of your cat and ending up with a wordlwide book publication and an article in the New York Times… Aaah, the wonderous place that is the internet (*´▽`*)

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