Cat Summit Planned for May and Nov, 2024 in Japan

Cat Island Summit Planned for May and Nov, 2024 in Japan

There was Neko Matsuri in Yushima in Feb, 2024. Did you go? It is Yushima in Tokyo. If you are a real cat fan, you should know there is more important Yushima for cats. It is Yushima island in Kumamoto. 


About 250 cats reside on Yushima Island in the Kumamoto Prefecture's Kami-Amakusa City, a place known as "Cat Island."


They are striving to improve the quality of life (QOL) for these cats. The goal is to foster a harmonious coexistence among the residents who interact with cats daily, tourists who visit for the cats, and the cats themselves. To protect their ordinary daily lives, there's a plan to convene a summit by the end of the year, gathering stakeholders from Cat Islands nationwide to share nearby initiatives.


Last year ( 2023 ) we noticed one group formed in a faculty of the Tokai university was active organizing the Cat Island Summit. Not yet to confirm if the group carries out the summit this year.


2023 report was as below:

The group being called "Nekodango," comprising students from the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Community Studies and Human Information Engineering of Tokai university, held a "Nekodango Activity Midterm Report & Cat Island Summit (tentative)" meeting on November 12 in Yushima, Kami-Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture.


Yushima, home to about 250 cats, garners attention as a "Cat Island," but concerns have arisen about the deteriorating health of these cats. Since the 2022 academic year, students have been working towards improving the QOL of the cats.


In preparation for the planned "Cat Island Summit" (tentative) scheduled for May and November, 2024, they held a midterm report meeting first at the coworking space "sea glass," with about 30 participants including Nekodango members, Director Hitoshi Kinouchi of the Kumamoto Campus, local residents, and stakeholders. Professor Maeda outlined the origins of the activities, demonstrated physical measurements with the help of veterinary nurses, presented results from tourist surveys, and introduced an original site developed by Professor Murakami and his students.


"Under the guidance of Ms. Aiko Hayashi from the Regional Revitalization Cooperation Team, the cats of Yushima are well managed with details such as birthdates, names, and vaccination records. We believe this could serve as a model for other 'Cat Islands.' At the summit, we aim to invite representatives from rescue organizations on Cat Islands nationwide and university circles caring for regional cats, to discuss island development and animal tourism, fostering exchanges," he explained.


Subsequently, participants exchanged views on the current situation on Yushima and new tourism resources.


In the afternoon, they carried out various plans aiming to discover new transportation methods and tourism resources. With the cooperation of Director Kinouchi's "Kumamoto Flight Club," they conducted helicopter sightseeing flights. Associate Professor Tadashi Uchiyama of the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Community Studies led drone test flights, capturing the island's scenery on video. Later at sea glass, Professor Murakami and his students conducted a workshop using the application "Neko Deco" they developed. Divided into groups of four, participants arranged cat photos they took onto a tablet map, decorating them with stamps and text to create memory maps. Finally, they shared the charm of cats while looking at these photos. Yohhei Yasue, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Infrastructure Engineering who was involved in app development, reflected, "I wanted to create something enjoyable for everyone during events, so I started developing this as part of my graduation research. We conducted a similar workshop in October, adjusting for issues noticed then, and prepared for this event." Professor Murakami remarked, "Neko Deco serves as a means of exchange for cat lovers, and the completed maps are memorable. We're pleased to see tourists interacting with cats, bringing along printouts from our cat introduction site. In the future, we aim to develop an app that can guide visitors to our introduction site through AI facial recognition."

( Source: Sanin Chuo news, Tokai university )


Many of us are cat fans and concerned about the quality of life of cats on the islands. Please support the activity of the Tokai university and people on Yushima island!


Are you interested in the Cat Island Summit? 

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