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Entertainingly altered missionary signs elevate cats to their rightful place

Twitter user Derek Wessman is a genius to have spotted (and appropriately translated) these brilliantly vandalized Japanese missionary signs that change the word “god” into the word “cat” by removing a few small strokes.

“The kingdom of Cat is close at hand”

Sign with god character altered to read cat
The character for “god”(神)appeared on the original signs, but the world’s most meticulous vandal has erased a few of the strokes to turn them into the word for “cat,” spelled in the Japanese phonetic alphabet(ネコ)

And they just get better!

“Both earth and man are Cat’s”

Sign with god character altered to read cat

“Cat doth watch thee in thy private life”

Sign with god character altered to read cat

“Cat doth punish sin”

“Fear and honor thy Cat”

Sign with god character altered to read cat

“The day of the righteous judgement of Cat is close at hand”

Sign with god character altered to read cat

These dire warnings appear on buildings throughout Japan, put there by American missionaries of the grim “scare people straight” ilk. I only put a few here—there are many more funny ones in Derek Wessman‘s Twitter feed, and Mutantfrog has an excellent history of this odd attempt at proselytizing, if you want to explore in more depth.

And if you’d love some fresh escapist reading…

“An immersive page-turner, meticulously researched and perfectly plotted. Without question, the best book I have read all year.” —Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and CLIMB

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, altering the lives of all who possess it...read more

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Entertainingly altered missionary signs elevate cats to their rightful place Leave a comment

    • To be honest, I think they’re all out in the more rural parts of Japan—never seen one anywhere near Tokyo. I’m totally going to keep my eyes open for them. though! (And thanks for the reblog—your blog always has so many fun things on it, it really cheers me up when something I put here makes the cut! WordPress is still being pissy about letting me “like” your posts—even when I’m signed in—but I’m there every day faithfully but fruitlessly pushing the button!)

      • Thank you 🙏 I didn’t know about that. I long to be in Japan again but it seems the ticket for April is sold at 1700€ which is double the price of what you normally pay so I’m waiting AND blogging about all the lovely things I’ll see/do/eat…

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