“Crybabies? Are there any crybabies? Hmm… I sense tears!”
Source：manga “Yomawari Neko”
- A student works to help out his family, even though it is prohibited by the school. When his classmates find out that he works, he gets threatened by them.
- The student, however, does not forget to buy flowers on his mother’s birthday.
- A boy who pretends to not notice that the girl he likes started dating his best friend.
- A woman who silently greeted people she passed on the street by saying, “Have a good day, stay safe” in her head, for 23 years.
- A self-conscious man, who mistakes the popularity of his dog as his own, when he meets a neighborhood woman while walking his dog.
It depicts both sadness and small happiness of the people who are facing various issues in society. Heizo Endo, a cat who wears Hanten jacket and a can on his head, is able to detect the scent of tears in these people and seek them out.
While Heizo the cat listens to the people who are crying, he does not help solve their problems.
This is the set-up for an 8-frame comic strip called “Yomawari Neko,” which originated on Twitter.
People are being moved by reading this Manga story, in which humans are consoled by a cat.
■ The number of cats as a pet has exceeded that of dogs for the first time ~ what people are seeking.
According to the “National Dog and Cat Pet Survey” conducted at the end of 2017, the number of pet cats (9,520,000 animals) has exceeded dogs (8,920,000 animals) for the first time since the survey started in 1994.
This survey showed that the No. 1 reason, making up over 30% of the answers, for getting a cat was to “seek comfort and consolation.”
Apparently, many people are feeling worn-out in this current society.
But why are people choosing cats over dogs?
The cost of having them and the need to take them on walks seem to not be the only reasons.
Both cats and dogs offer “cuteness.” Cats, unlike dogs, also offer “mysteriousness” and “independence.”
There is a thought that we are attracted to the projections of ourselves (e.g. cats).
The result of the survey, which showed that people are looking for “comfort and consolation,” could mean that they are looking for fulfillment by enjoying mild changes, while maintaining their own lifestyle, in this stressful social environment.
“Mysteriousness” is a representation of their attraction for things with unpredictable changes, and “independence” is a reflection of their desire to be themselves.
■ Future of the content market based on cats
There seems to be another aspect to the popularity of cats: the ease as a sharable topic.
In the report published on February 5, 2016 entitled, “The economic effects of Nekonomics*,” Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a Professor Emeritus at Kansai University, calculated that cat-related market is valued at ￥2.3162 trillion (in 2015).
*”Nekonomics” is a term that combines the word “neko” (cat) and economics, coined from the current administration’s policies “Abenomics.”
Of that, the cat-content market, including goods, books, and videos, makes up ￥3 billion.
3 volumes of the aforementioned “Yomawari Neko” comic have been published, and make up a chunk of that number.
Even in the realm of a popular blockchain technology, “CryptoKitties,” where you can virtually sell/buy/breed cats, was the first dApps (decentralized applications) game to become popular.
It was cats, again.
Various types of cats based on chance and the genetic algorithm, based on 8 attributes (eye shape, mouth shape, accent color, etc.).
From a Japanese perspective, it is an odd design.
People are crazy about breeding the cats to get the rare “FANCY” types.
Some of the motivations may be the attention a unique cat brings, and the possibility of selling it at a high price.
Since its launch on November 28, 2017, the highest price for a cat was 253 ETH (at the time of the deal, it was equivalent to $110,707 or about ￥12,000,000), recorded on December 7, 2017.
Historical price ranking for the virtual cats sold on “Cryptokitties.”
Presently, cat pictures and videos are very popular on social media.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that there is a risk when using a person as a subject, even if it does not officially become an issue with the right of likeness, and using existing characters may cause copyright infringement.
As mentioned above, cats are loveable, and also offer freedom and are easy to edit.
Popular things involving cats have the potential to lead to other projects and business.
Considering ”Cryptokitties” as an example, a dApps game popularized by cats was quickly adapted to and popularized for a variety of different characters.
The names and the designs of each site bring a smile to my face.
For “cryptocelebrities,” when you replace “celebrities” with “idols,” you can just imagine the possibilities.
In addition to the game itself, token economy is a large part of dApps games. It is a world where intangible products, such as characters, items, and skills, are openly marketable.
As shared assets, these intangible products go beyond individual applications, along with a variety of transaction data.
Though it carries many problems with it, it allows us to envision a variety of possibilities for the future.
From cross-media to cross-applications, then to cross-chains.
In a few years, dApps gamer might replace YouTuber as one of the most desired professions by the kids.
People learn a lot of things from cats.
I have a cat at home, and also play with cats on “CryptoKitties.”
Author’s cat and his virtual cat on ”Cryptokitties.”
Thank goodness for the cats.
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（Author: Kazuya Yoshida）
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.