How does a cat say in Japanese?

May 20, 2019 Juju Kurihara Animals, Culture, History, Language Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

How does a cat say in your language? In Japanese, it’s nyaa nyaa (ニャーニャー). But it wasn’t always this way.




In Heian period (794-1192) it was nen nen (ねんねん) and in Kamakura period (1185-1333) it was neu neu (ねうねう). Then during the Edo period (1603-1868) when people started having cats as a pet and the sound changed to nyaa nyaa as it is now. Ukiyoe artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa (歌川国芳 1798-1861) was known as a cat lover and in his work, “Hayari Neko no kyogenzukushi” (流行猫の狂言づくし), the cat which makes a statement says at the end, nyagu nyagu (にゃぐにゃぐ).


How does a cat say in your language? 







Yahoo News! Japan :

擬音語・擬態語辞典 : Nakami Yamaguchi (山口仲美)

子猫のへや :


  1. Lue 4 years Reply


  2. Beth M Parkhurst 4 years Reply

    In American English, cats say “meow.” Kittens say “mew mew.”

    Thank you for your interesting post! I love cats.

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