- 哺乳動物学雑誌: The Journal of the Mammalogical Society of Japan (ISSN:05460670)
- vol.4, no.4-6, pp.95-101, 1969-12-30 (Released:2015-05-19)
The domestic cats (Felis catus) with short tails are found in Japan, eastern parts of China, East Africa, Madagascar and Man of Britain. In the Island of Man, the tailless cat has been fixed as the "manx." In Japan and in some parts of China, there had been a practice of bobbing long tails, because of their tails appearing weird and of prevailing superstition that cats had taken the form of a monster cat when they had grown old. In Japan, the cats were not recorded until 889 A.D., in a diary of the Emperor Uda. However, in olden literature, no descriptions were made as to the length of the lails of cats. At the end of the 11th century, a Buddhist priest called Kakuyu painted five long-tailed cats in the two sets of scroll paintings. After the 15th century, many famous painters painted cats, and they were all long-tailed ones influenced by Chinese painting in which long tails were thought to be beautiful. However, in realistic Ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) which originated in the 18th century, painted were mostly short-tailed cats, and especially in the painting of 73 cats in a group done by Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861), 52 (71%) were short-tailed ones (among them). Hiroshige III (the third), painted 100 cats in 1878, and 97 were found short-tailed ones. However, as a matter of fact, ordinarily, the ratios between long and short tails were not so sharp as the above figures, and this should be interpreted as the direct reflection of the taste of the masses towards cats. Taking into consideration the fact that there was once a custom of bobbing tails, the writer is of the opinion that it can safely be said that in Japan after the 18th century long-tailed cats came to be disliked and elimi nated artificially and short-tailed ones increased in number instead.