Unlike the humans, the cat population of Tashirojima is thriving and probably looking forward to the day when they can have the island all to themselves.
In its hey day Tashirojima’s main industry was the farming of silkworms. The silk produced was then used to supply local fishermen with nets. The cats were willingly employed to keep mouse populations under control, they did their bit and got more than their fill of mammals to eat.
The island was also a popular stop-off for travelling fishermen in the late 1800’s, the cats weren’t daft and would follow them to the local inns and beg for scraps. The fishermen obliged. Over the years the relationship between the fishermen and the cats took a bit of a weird turn: the Japanese fishing gangs started to look to the cat’s behaviour as an omen. The fishermen would watch the cats closely and interpret their behaviour to gleam clues about approaching weather or the catch of the day.
They kind of look a bit sinister in that photo don’t they?
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