Catgirl

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Catgirl Wikipe-tan

A catgirl (猫娘, nekomusume) is a female kemonomimi character with cat traits, such as cat ears (猫耳, nekomimi), a cat tail, or other feline characteristics on an otherwise human body. Catgirls are found in various fiction genres and in particular Japanese anime and manga.[1]

History[edit]

The oldest mention of the term nekomusume comes from a 1700s misemono in which a cat/woman hybrid was displayed.[2] Stories of shape-shifting bakeneko prostitutes were popular during the Edo Period.[2] The popularity of the nekomusume continued throughout the Edo and Shōwa periods, with many tales of cat/woman hybrids appearing in works such as the Ehon Sayoshigure (絵本小夜時雨) and Ansei zakki (安政雑記).[2]

In Kenji Miyazawa's 1924 work, Suisenzuki no Yokka (水仙月の四日, literally The 4th of Narcissus Month) is first modern day example of a beautiful, cat-eared woman.[3] In 1936, the nekomusume experienced a revival in kamishibai.[2] The first anime involving catgirls, titled The King’s Tail (Osama no Shippo), was made in 1949 by Mitsuyo Seo.[citation needed] In America, the DC Comics character Catwoman first appeared in 1940, and Cheetah first appeared in 1943.[4]

Catgirls were further made popular in 1978 series The Star of Cottonland.[5] By the 1990s, catgirls were common in Japanese anime and manga.[6] Catgirls have since been featured in various media worldwide. Enough of a subculture has developed for various themed conventions and events to be held around the world, such as Nekocon.[7]

Reception[edit]

Japanese philosopher Hiroki Azuma has stated that catgirl characteristics such as cat ears and feline speech patterns are examples of moe-elements. Azuma argued that although some otaku sexual expression involves catgirl imagery, few otaku have the sexual awareness to understand how such imagery can be perceived as perverted.[6][8] In a 2010 critique of the manga series Loveless, the feminist writer T. A. Noonan argued that, in Japanese culture, catgirl characteristics have a similar role to that of the Playboy bunny in western culture, serving as a fetishization of youthful innocence.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Okum (2004-03-24), "Cat Girl", Manga Madness, p. 72, ISBN 978-1-58180-534-5
  2. ^ a b c d Davisson, Zack. Kaibyō : the supernatural cats of Japan (First ed.). Seattle, WA. ISBN 978-1-63405-916-9. OCLC 1006517249.
  3. ^ "Suisenzuki no yokka". www.aozora.gr.jp. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Wallace, Daniel (2010). "1940s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The first issue of Batman's self-titled comic written by Bill Finger and drawn by Bob Kane, represented a milestone in more ways than one. With Robin now a partner to the Caped Crusader, villains needed to rise to the challenge, and this issue introduced two future legends: the Joker and Catwoman.
  5. ^ Jaqueline Berndt (1995). Phänomen Manga : Comic-Kulture in Japan (in German). Berlin: Edition q. p. 111. ISBN 3-86124-289-3.
  6. ^ a b Azuma, Hiroki (2009). Otaku: Japan's database animals. Translated by Abel, Jonathan; Kono, Shion (English ed.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 47, 89. ISBN 9780816668007. OCLC 527737445.
  7. ^ "After Action Report". The Virginian-Pilot. 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  8. ^ Galbraith, Patrick W. "Moe and the Potential of Fantasy in Post-Millennial Japan". Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. 9 (3). Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  9. ^ Noonan, T. A. (Fall 2010). ""I Can't Get Excited for a Child, Ritsuka": Intersections of Gender, Identity, and Audience Ambiguity in Yun Kôga's Loveless" (PDF). MP: An Online Feminist Journal. 3 (2). ISSN 1939-330X. Retrieved 10 February 2013.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Catgirls at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of catgirl at Wiktionary