Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things

These artworks were made by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), one of the last great Japanese masters of the ukiyo-e style were really a novelty of its age. Kuniyoshi started to use cats instead of humans in satirical kabuki prints in the early 1840s.

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Cats Enjoying The Evening Cool, 1839-1842

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Tokyo National Museum

Engaged in Various Activities, 1840

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things

via Matome

Practicing Their Music, 1841

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Wikimedia Commons

Dancing, 1841

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Livedoor

Three cats at an indoor party, playing a game of ken, 1841

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Suttonde

Two cats as sumo wrestlers in a famous scene from the kabuki theater

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Kuniyoshiproject

Cats imitating the tenth chapter of the novel The Tales of Genji, 1842

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Kuniyoshiproject

Cats' kabuki with some degatari chanters, c. 1842

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Kuniyoshiproject

"Six Immortal Poets" or "Six Cats with Fur of Different Colors" (the title is a pun, so both are correct), 1843-1846

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Tokyo National Museum

The view of Yoshiwara, 1846

Illustration for article titled Even In 19th Century Japan, People Loved To See Cats Doing Human Things
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via Living Lets

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