Japan’s Zoomorphic Urge

Abstract

One of the Japanese conduct books in my collection substitutes cats for humans in its illustrations. For instance, in one drawing, an anthropomorphic cat giving a speech at a wedding reception makes the mistake of using the verb for cutting (kiru), and shocks the other feliform guests who are dressed in festive finery. Sometimes Japanese words are categorized as imi kotoba, language that should be avoided at weddings and other auspicious occasions. In this case, saying “to cut” might bring on the ruin of the marriage through magical association. What is interesting is that it is a cat, albeit one dressed in people’s clothing, using imi kotoba.

How to Cite

Miller, L., 2010. Japan’s Zoomorphic Urge. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 17(2), pp.69–82. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.208

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Laura Miller

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