Showing posts with label GOTOKONEKO CAT-THE FIRE BUILDER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOTOKONEKO CAT-THE FIRE BUILDER. Show all posts

Thursday, May 12, 2016


The Gotokoneko Cat
Good afternoon my dear friends and followers and welcome to my humble blog of
legends of Japan... Today I am going to bring you to the tales of the
Gotokoneko Cat-The Fire Builder. I hope that you all find this tale interesting and fun.
The tale starts as they say in Japan: If you happen to wake up on a cold morning and see
a fire mysteriously roaring in what should be a clod fireplace, don't be afraid, It just means that
the Gotokoneko has been by, stoking up the hearth into a nice, satisfying roaring blaze. Just the kind this magical cat Enjoys. I do hope you also enjoy the wonderful Japanese traditional paintings too!
So, You are probably curious what is the Gotokoneko Cat Fire Builder. He is a type of Nekomata. The Gotokoneko who has a split-tail & has a advance age of all its kind. However, the difference from an average Nekomata is the Gotokoneko's love of fire. Most animals are Magical or otherwise are naturally terrified of fire. They enjoy the warmth of the fire, but fear the flames. The gotokoneko is not only not afraid of fire, but is often found stoking up the fire in a cold hearth, using a hifuki-dake - which is a bamboo blowing tube, to coax flames from the coals.
The gotokoneko is not the only cat-yokai associated with fire-the kasha is a flame-wrapped cat demon who drags corpses to hell. Kasha and some bakeneko are said to be able to transform into a hi-no-tama fireballs. Even the eyes of ordinary cats are said to be able to capture fire with them, sparking in the dark. But of all the various cat demons and magical cats only the Gotokoneko will actually sit down at a hearth and busy itself with the process of making a fire.
What is a Gotoko?
You might wondered? Well, In traditional Japanese homes, the Gotoko[trivets] were often found near
the sunken hearth. Hot utensils from the fire-like tea kettles or even pots and pans used for cooking were set on trivets so as not to char the tatami mats. As the name implies, the Gotokoneko were a trivet on his head like a hat.
History of the Gotokoneko-
So now the history of the Gotokoneko Cat. It was first known to appear in Tomi Mitsunobu's in the
Muromachi-period yokai collection. Hyakki Yagyo Emaki-百鬼夜行絵巻, which is Illustrated in Scroll of the Night Parade of a 100 Demons. There is no description of the Yokai, just a background figure of a cat marching in the Night Parade with a trivet on its head. It is thought that later artist had copy the trivet wearing cat and also developed a mythology to go along with it too. It is said that the
gotokoneko next appeared in the Toriyama Seiken's Edo-period Hyakki Tsurezure Bukuro period-百器徒然袋-A Bag of hundred Tedious Objects: Toriyama made a pun in the title of this collection, replacing the kanji-ki-鬼-demon; with the homophone-ki-器-objects.
The Five Virtues-
Now for the Five Virtues as written by Toriyama in his illustration:
'As the an who danced the Dance of the Seven Virtues forgot two of them, perhaps
you will also forget this cat or think it is just a dream.'
Toriyama makes both an allusion and a pun, Why? because the term 'gotoko', can mean two things either the trivet or 'The Five Virtues'. The Five Virtues- is also a reference to an very ancient tale by Shinano no Zenji Yukinaga.
In this tale by Shinano no Zenji Yukinaga its about a man who is supposed to dance the Dance of the Seven Virtues. The only one that can dance the Seven Virtues the embody of such a man that requires to be a warrior before the Tang Emperor of China. Sadly this man has forgotten two of the Virtues of this sacred Dance. He figures if he can't remember them, no one else will either and announces his Dance of the Five Virtues which he then performs Magnificently...
So Toriyama is making a pun, drawing a link between the object gotoko and the Five Virtues of Gotoko. Sometimes it is translated into English as the 'Five Virtues Cat, but that's incorrect for the legend. Aside from the homophone of the name, the Gotokoneko is clearly not an embodiment of manly virtues, but is at home in front of a hearth, blowing his bamboo tube to stroke the flames and wearing a trivet on its head. Well, I hope that you all enjoyed the tale of the Gotokoneko Cat my dears. I hope that you all have a safe and fun Friday the 13, tomorrow too.
Love you all so very much
Your friend always

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