It's a...were-something, maybe?
January 6, 2016 5:10 PM   Subscribe

There has got to be a Japanese word/term (from anime maybe) for a girl/cat shape-shifter, right?

consolation prizes offered for English or European terms (uh, probably 'witch' qualifies, but i said it first).
posted by j_curiouser to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by scruss at 5:20 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kitsune is the fox shapeshifter if that's close enough.
posted by RobotHero at 6:12 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The folkloric monster that's a cat shapeshifter is a bakeneko -- I don't think there's a girl-specific term!
posted by Jeanne at 6:14 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

In English I've seen them referred to generically as "therianthropes". That was how the subtitler translated a Japanese term that sounds to my poorly trained ears as "kyuuginjo", which is probably wrong. In case you want to check it out for yourself, it's in the first episode of "Strike the Blood" at time 06:52 of the BD rip.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:58 PM on January 6, 2016

Best answer: nekomusume - cat daughter


The phrase was probably not invented by GeGeGe no Kitaro, but certainly gained popularity from it.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:06 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: this is for a creative project i'm beginning. i'm going to go with 'nekomusume'...seems to fit the spirit of what i'm looking for better than the others. and 'were-cat' is just so mundane. now for some more research...

if anyone else has an opinion/answer/suggestion, i'll be checking back - thx!
posted by j_curiouser at 8:36 PM on January 6, 2016

Best answer: Neko Josei means cat lady... Neko-jin means cat person... nekomimi means cat's ears...

Here's another link on bakaneko which gives more food for thought on the term. In my brief research, it appears Bakeneko would probably be the closest real japanese term you're going to get.

The greek name for werecat is ailuranthrope, akin to lycanthrope for werewolves.
posted by lizbunny at 9:30 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

"nekomimi" literally means "cat ears" but idiomatically it means "cat girl".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:56 PM on January 6, 2016

Best answer: Bakeneko is a cat-shapeshifter, based on the East Asian mythology of youkai.

There is a particular female cat shapeshifter associated with prostitution and seduction that is called the Bakeneko Yuujo. If you want to be evocative of specific folklore, I'd use "bakeneko."
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast at 3:33 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks all.

I'm at the crossroads of 'nekomusume' and 'bakaneko '.

bakaNekoMusume? ;-)

off to the library.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:26 PM on January 8, 2016

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