Nekomata 猫また Cat Yokai

In the Edo period many books illustrating and describing yōkai were published (yōkai emaki), with nekomata frequently depicted. The Hyakkai Zukan published in 1737 includes an illustration of a nekomata assuming the appearance of a woman playing a shamisen. Since Edo-period shamisen frequently were made using cat skins, that particular nekomata sang a sad song about its species as it plucked the strings. Understandably, the image has been interpreted as ironic.
As for the nekomata’s wearing geisha clothing, sometimes nekomata and geisha are considered related since geisha were once called “cats (neko)”

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