Japanese Grandmother and Her Cat Capture Netizens’ Hearts

Japanese grandmother with her cat

Photographer Ihara Miyoko has been photographing Granny Misao (88) for the past twelve years. Then, eight years ago, Misao started to keep a cat, who she named ‘Fukumaru’, meaning that the gods of fortune (Fuku no kamisama) would come, and everything would be completely peaceful (Maruku osamaru). With his white fur and differently-coloured eyes, Fukumaru certainly seems to live up to his name.

This series of photographs, portraying the lives of Granny Misao and Fukumaru as they go out every day to work in the fields, has captured the hearts of Japanese netizens, earning thousands of tweets and Facebook likes, as well as hundreds of blog entries. While Ihara has also released a photo-book of their life together, netizens are thankful that these beautiful pictures have been freely shared online.

From Hamusoku.com:

Granny and the cat sit together in the Japanese-style room

Fukumaru sits with granny and her friend


Comments from Hamsoku.com:

ハムスターちゃんねる:

Lovely
Our cat only gives me any attention when he’s hungry or sleepy (´;ω;`)

ハムスター名無し:

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I just couldn’t help crying. This is the first time I’ve ever felt like this because of a photo series.

ハムスター名無し:

That old woman is disgusting.

ハムスター名無し:

I cried. This is so lovely…

ハムスターちゃんねる:

So wonderful.
Cat and Granny, I hope you’re always this happy!

ハムスター名無し:

Granny’s happy, smiling face, and Fukumaru being at Granny’s side…I just started crying and didn’t know what to do! I want both of them to live for a long time.

ハムスター名無し:

Misao-san is just too cute!

ハムスター名無し:

This is such a lovely article~ My eyes started to burn. I hope you two are always friends.

ハムスター名無し:

I remembered my grandmother who died, and almost started crying at work. I wish I’d taken photos like this.

ハムスターちゃんねる:

If you live with another living thing, no matter if your partner is a human or an animal, then at some point you have to face a situation where one will die first and leave the other, so I think that people who say that older people shouldn’t have pets are really horrible…(´・ω・`)

藤岡亨 :

I agree.

ハムスター名無し:

This is the worst kind of stealth marketing. I couldn’t stop crying. Hamsoku should apologise!

ハムスター名無し:

I enjoyed looking at the colour photographs more because the cat has different-coloured eyes. The cat is so cute and fluffy. I’m so jealous that they can always be together! Seems like most people like photograph number two, but I like number three. It’s also nice that the cat is like ‘I love you Granny!’ and all affectionate and friendly.

ハムスターちゃんねる:

Lovely!

ハムスターちゃんねる:

This was also on some other blogs. I guess you guys have no content these days?

ハムスターちゃんねる:

I was reminded of my grandmother who died last year. I wish I could have made her smile like that more often. I’m so sorry for being such a crap grandchild…Seriously, you guys should treat your grandpa and grandma as precious. It’s too late once they’ve gone.

ハムスター名無し:

Go check out Ihara’s website. There are great pictures there…there are tits〜tits〜

ハムスターちゃんねる:

I suppose my cat is like this with me? Mine is also affectionate. Cats, it’s good to be friendly!

ハムスターちゃんねる:

These two are great together, but her grandson’s eye for photographs is really something. Fukumaru is such a cute name! (´ω`*)

ハムスターちゃんねる:

I really relaxed seeing this picture collection (*´д`*) aaaaah.

Comments from Twitter:

ニア:

For some reason I’m crying (T^T) I mean, it’s years since I last cried (^_^;?

レンジ(冬眠中):

That relaxed me…

Rootstock tw:

‘Misao and Fukumaru’. This is really splendid. I’m warmed to the core of my heart.

めたみんはヨドバシがスキ:

Tears are falling.

九(ここの)@会計委員長:

It’s been a while since I saw such a beautiful article on Hamsoku.

don_seagel:

This is the ideal way to live with an animal. No greed, no fuss, just blends into every day life. I want everyone to see this. This is also one of the great things about Japan.

高島由夢:

Oh I go weak for this kind of thing. ・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。

やまだいぬなの?:

Both the cat and granny are cute.

( ^ω^p小内藤qスラアク使い:

Check this out. This is the historic and correct Japanese way! It made me feel relaxed and nostalgic (*´∇`*)

ウメッスン:

This warmed my heart.

りさ:

This is so wonderful. I almost started to cry for no reason at all!

吉田 紘希 (如何に崇高な…):

It’s frustrating that I can’t express this feeling!

城伊景季:

I want the photo book! It made me cry!

s u(k):

It think the cat must also be lovely to have developed this kind of relationship with Granny Misao. I particularly like pictures 11, 22, and 23. This little cat, with his white fur and differently-coloured eyes is just magical.

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  • Brett

    I mean, owning a pet and having someone to keep you company in old age is nice, but this wasn’t a tear-jerking story for me. Do Japanese netizens usually get this blubbery over pet pics?

    • bluesummers

      It’s the “old age” thing that moves them more than anything. Mortality is a touchy subject in Japanese culture.

      Ever looked around after a screening of Okuribito/Departures? Not a dry eye in the house.

      • redgirls

        I also cried when i watched departures.

  • besudesu

    For me, what’s interesting about this is that the photographs depict an alternative way of life for older Japanese people. Japan has a rapidly aging population, and representing the elderly in cultural expressions like this is something we should see more of. Misao is 88, but she is independent, active, and most importantly, she seems to be content to live with Fukumaru. For older people in Japan, then, this is a very positive portrayal; it moves away from the idea of older people just being a burden on the younger generations. Plus the cat…. so kawaii.

  • Paul

    I loved that book! They had a copy at my local cafe in Korea.

    If you dont get it, you have to read it. They live super rural and isolated.

  • Paul M

    What an awesome cat.

  • Kate

    Awwwww moggies are awesome! I know my fat cat is one of my best friends, love the pictures ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.williams.50159 Anthony Williams

    What a cool duo..

  • 3ayo

    They were nice photos, but didn’t move me to tears. And I’m not a fan of its eyes at all. D:

  • dim mak

    dam kitty wat wrong wit yo eyes

  • PixelPulse

    Very sweet, but not enough to move me to tears. Its nice to know that she has wonderful company around.

  • smithintaiwan

    They are wonderful pictures. They’ve also already been published as a complete book. I flipped through it in the new books section of my bookstore in Taiwan just last week. Nice photos, but I wonder who buys a book full of someone else’s grandmother and her cat.

  • linette lee

    雙依為命……

    bitter sweet. Loneliness is common among old people. It’s good to have a pet.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    I love cats to death but in the 1st & 2nd photo he looks like the devil.
    On another note, this granny is retired ninja. Take a look at those Tabi boots she’s wearing.
    And now that I think of it, the cat is probably a distant ancestor or relative fallen in battle and has come back in the form of a cat. This also explains how the cat is testing granny’s 地所観念技 or awareness technique in photo #7.

    • Akhemu

      the devil recognise its own kind? Perhaps you too are a ninja to recognise her as one?

  • Akhemu

    No one says anything about the cat’s eye. Its mystical. Mystique.

  • sabine

    was für wunderschöne bilder. schön, dass sie beide sich haben.

  • Serpico

    Heterochromia is a perfect disease.

  • Learner4Life

    I am amazed that an 88 year old must continue to work in the fields! She should be at that stage of her life where she is reaping the rewards for her hard work all of these years! I am glad that she has a wonderful friend, co-worker, confidant, and companion to share her days!

  • SuperHappyCow

    “Look at my eyes. One of them is a fake cause I lost it in an accident. Since then, I’ve seen the past in one eye, and the present in the other. I thought I could only see patches of reality, never the whole picture. I felt like I was watching a dream I could never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was all–

    meow meow meow meow!”

    Too bad it’s not a tiger striped cat. Then I could’ve really gotten into it.

  • http://twitter.com/barcelonaloca barcelonaloca
  • http://twitter.com/KcChano KC Chano

    Facebook Page of this two lovely character is @ https://www.facebook.com/MisaoAndFukumaru

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