Masayuki Oki

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Photographer Masayuki Oki Focuses a Humorous Lens on Japan’s Feline Residents

December 9, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a motorized scooter with two cats sitting in the seat, appearing as if they will drive it.

All images © Masayuki Oki, shared with permission

The archipelago of Japan consists of more than 6,800 islands, of which around 280 are inhabited, and in a few places, known as neko-shima or “cat islands,” felines vastly outnumber the human residents. Fishing villages like the one on Aoshima, the most well-known of around a dozen cat islands, introduced the creatures in the early 20th century to combat rodent infestations. Their prolific progeny, perched on walls and scampering underfoot, have been a continuous source of fascination for photographer Masayuki Oki.

For the past eight years, Oki has documented clowders of cats in his home city of Tokyo and on islands around the nation, focusing on the feral animals’ interactions. Viewed through a an anthropomorphic lens, the images capture playful pounces and awkward entanglements with humor and a knack for good timing.

You can follow Oki’s feline adventures on his blog and Instagram. He releases annual calendars featuring some of the year’s best photographs, and he also updates a YouTube channel with short videos of furball shenanigans.

 

A photograph of two cats, one walking in the foreground and the other looking about ready to attack its mate.

A photograph of a black cat climbing down a vending machine full of drinks.

A photograph of two cats sitting on a box, one massaging the other's back.

A photograph of a cat carrying a fish in its mouth.  A photograph of a cat grabbing at a dog's leash in the street.

A photograph of a black-and-white cat playing with a flower in a pot.

A photograph of a black cat embracing or attacking a white cat.

A white cat sitting on the top of the wall, meowing at the photographer. A photograph of two cats, one with its paw on the shoulder of the other.

 

 

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