Two Cats Keep Trying to Get Into a Japanese Art Museum … and Keep Getting Turned Away: Meet the Thwarted Felines, Ken-chan and Go-chan

Pag­ing direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki.

A com­pelling sub­ject for a fea­ture length ani­ma­tion is hang­ing around the slid­ing glass doors of Hiroshi­ma Prefecture’s Onomichi City Muse­um of Art.

In June of 2016, a black tom­cat start­ed show­ing up at the muse­um on the reg­u­lar, for rea­sons unknown.

Those open to the sort of nar­ra­tive whim­sy at which Miyaza­ki excels might choose to believe that the beast was drawn by a cat-themed exhib­it of work by not­ed wildlife pho­tog­ra­ph­er and film­mak­er Mit­sua­ki Iwa­go, a por­tion of which would have been vis­i­ble to him through the mod­ern building’s large glass win­dows.

What­ev­er his rea­sons, the cat, Ken-chan, whose own­ers run a near­by restau­rant, was refused entry by a white-gloved secu­ri­ty guard and oth­er staffers, whose efforts to send him on his way start­ed blow­ing up the Inter­net short­ly after his first appear­ance.

Even­tu­al­ly, Ken-chan start­ed bring­ing back-up in the form of a well-man­nered orange tom­cat the muse­um staff dubbed Go-chan.

Their vis­its have proved to be a boon for both the small muse­um and the city they call home.

The New York Pub­lic Library has its lions.

Boston’s Pub­lic Gar­den has its ducks.

Onomichi and its small art muse­um have Ken-chan and Go-chan, whose Inter­net fame is quick­ly out­pac­ing the sup­ply of com­mem­o­ra­tive tote bags, below.

Ten­der heart­ed fans bom­bard the museum’s Twit­ter account with requests to grant the feline pair entry, but the muse­um brass is wise­ly pri­or­i­tiz­ing dra­mat­ic ten­sion over con­sum­ma­tion.

Mean­while, offi­cials in Zelenograd­sk, a Russ­ian resort town boast­ing both a cat muse­um and giant cat street mon­u­ment have invit­ed Ken-chan, Go-chan, and muse­um staff to be their guests in March, for a cat-cen­tric hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion.

For now, Ken-chan and Go-chan are stick­ing close to home, alter­nate­ly enter­tain­ing and dis­ap­point­ing vis­i­tors who show up, cam­era in hand, hop­ing to catch them in the act.

Arm­chair trav­el­ers can enjoy a cat’s eye view tour of Onomichi, thanks to Google Street View-style 360-degree cam­era tech­nol­o­gy.

And pho­tog­ra­ph­er Iwa­go shares some pro advice for any­one seek­ing to cap­ture feline sub­jects:

…male cats are eas­i­er to pho­to­graph. Male cats seem to have more lat­i­tude and leisure in their lives. Because females do things such as raise the kit­tens, they con­cen­trate more on what goes on around them. Because males are out on patrol, it is more like­ly that you will encounter them. Because they have the free time, they’ll let you hang out and pho­to­graph them.

Depend­ing on the cat, there are a num­ber of ways to get a cat’s atten­tion. For exam­ple, when it’s start­ing to get dark out, you need to use a low­er shut­ter speed. How­ev­er, this means that the cat will be blur­ry if it moves. To avoid this, in such sit­u­a­tions, I say to the cat, ‘Stop, hold your breath!’ At that instant, when the cat is frozen, I snap the pic­ture. When you speak out to a cat, they get the mes­sage. That said, you can also get shots of good cat body lan­guage by let­ting them roam freely. They don’t need to be look­ing at the cam­era.

Even a cell­phone cam­era is enough. How­ev­er, if you don’t have a tele­pho­to lens, you’re going to have to get close to the cat you’re pho­tograph­ing. Due to this, it might be good to use a sin­gle-lens reflex (SLR) cam­era if you are pho­tograph­ing out­side. How­ev­er, if you are pho­tograph­ing the cat you live at home with, a big cam­era may prove intim­i­dat­ing. To avoid this prob­lem, it is nec­es­sary to reg­u­lar­ly put your cam­era in a place that the cat can see. It is good to start snap­ping pic­tures only after your cat has got­ten over its fear of cam­eras. If you use a flash to pho­to­graph cats indoors, their hair will look spiky and lose its soft­ness. There­fore, I rec­om­mend avoid­ing a flash. I also rec­om­mend not using a tri­pod, con­sid­er­ing the line of sight will become too high. When I am pho­tograph­ing cats, I kneel down so that I am at the same eye line as they are. It’s as if I’m crawl­ing for­ward into bat­tle.

Fol­low the Onomichi City Muse­um of Art on Twit­ter to keep up with Ken-chan and Go-chan.

via The Guardian/Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Insane­ly Cute Cat Com­mer­cials from Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, Hayao Miyazaki’s Leg­endary Ani­ma­tion Shop

Medieval Cats Behav­ing Bad­ly: Kit­ties That Left Paw Prints … and Peed … on 15th Cen­tu­ry Man­u­scripts

Free Enter­tain­ment for Cats and Dogs: Videos of Birds, Squir­rels & Oth­er Thrills

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC this Decem­ber for the 10th anniver­sary pro­duc­tion of Greg Kotis’ apoc­a­lyp­tic hol­i­day tale, The Truth About San­ta, and the next month­ly install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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