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Nameneko: 4 Adopted Cats That Inspired A Girl Group’s Debut & Have Their Own Driving Licences


You give animals from the shelter new lives by adopting them. Materialising this notion to the fullest, Nameneko (なめ猫) is a brand that follows 4 cats on their road to fame post-adoption. From being featured in a drama promotional video to inspiring a former Japanese girl group’s debut, these cats have done more than sufficient to be hailed the greatest celebrities among their kind.

Inspired a series of merch 

Image adapted from:
Nameneko Genius Co.,Ltd

Taken in by a photographer and made the star of a brand in 1980, 4 abandoned cats were given new identities as the face of the Nameneko brand. One of its first few products, which were driving licence stickers of its 4 representative cats, featured ID photos of the adorable cats all dressed up in costumes.   

Image adapted from:
Nameneko Genius Co.,Ltd

The Nameneko driving licence stickers, which ended up being a big hit among both adults and children, can be bought via Rakuten’s website from ¥215 (~USD1.45) onwards. Other Nameneko merch include shirts made in collaboration with the Japanese clothing brand ACDC RAG.

Image credit:
ACDC RAG 原宿竹下通り店 and Rakuten 

The cute Nameneko x ACDC RAG shirts are also available on Rakuten’s website, starting from ¥2,090 (~USD14.10) each.

Multiple collaborations

Within a year of its establishment in 1981, Nameneko collaborated with the Japanese Public Relations Office to feature its cats as campaign mascots. The campaign advertisement was eventually published in the The Nikkei, one of the 4 national newspapers in Japan.

Image adapted from:
Satoru Tsuda

The feline brand then starred in special in-game events for various games, one example being the Japanese game Pocket Dungeon 2 (ポケットダンジョン2).

Pocket Dungeon 2.
Image credit: Aetas, Inc.

In 2016, Nameneko LINE stickers were also released. There are presently 4 sticker sets available for purchase on the popular messaging platform, each set costing ¥146.62 (~USD0.99) or ¥294.67 (~USD1.99) depending on your choice.

Image adapted from: Satoru Tsuda, GignoSystem Japan,Inc., and LINE Corporation

Venturing into even the manga world, Nameneko published its first manga volume in 2018 titled Don’t Underestimate Salaryman Nameneko!! (なめ猫さん~サラリーマン、にゃめんなよ!!~). The electronic Nameneko manga can be purchased via Amazon at ¥680 (~USD4.59).

Image credit:

Similarly in 2018, Nameneko starred in 6 promotional videos for the Japanese manga-turned-drama Kyō Kara Ore Wa!! (今日から俺は!!).

Image adapted from:
HJ Holdings, Inc.

While the videos are no longer available for viewing, catch a glimpse of the video thumbnails via the official website.

Inspired a former J-girl group

To give you a sense of how influential they were, the cats inspired the formation of a Japanese girl group, Namennayo Harajuku (なめんなよ原宿), back in 2016. While the line-up changed several times, the group was confirmed to consist of 5 members: Yūki Akimoto, Yumi Yamanōchi, Mami Aikawa, Norika Ichimiya, and Mikuna Koshimizu.

Image credit: @namennayospi

Following a contract expiration between Nameneko and Namennayo Harajuku’s agency, SPIRAL MUSIC, the girl group disbanded in December 2018. Nonetheless, you can still view their past music videos on the Namennaya Harajuku official YouTube channel.

Continued popularity of Nameneko

While the 4 cats have passed due to old age, their legacy lives on and they remain popular across the globe. We guess you can say that the adorable feline creatures went from zero to hero after getting adopted. 

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Cover image adapted from: @namennayospi, ACDC RAG 原宿竹下通り店/Rakuten, Nameneko Genius Co.,Ltd