One woman and her cat: The extraordinary friendship between Misa, 88, and her odd-eyed feline friend Fukumaru
- Thirteen years ago, photographer Miyoko Ihara began snapping pictures of her 88-year-old grandmother, Misa, and her odd-eyed cat Fukumaru
- Misa found the cat abandoned in a shed in 2003
- A book of the pair’s friendship has taken the Japan by storm
Thirteen years ago, photographer Miyoko Ihara began snapping pictures of the budding relationship between her now 88-year-old grandmother, Misa, and her tiny kitten, Fukumaru.
The odd-eyed white cat is always in Misa’s shadow whether she is farming the land, cooking, relaxing or even having a bath.
Now their images have been published in a photo book, the pair have stormed to popularity in Japan with the unlikely bestseller flying off the shelves and becoming a viral sensation in the United States.
Dedicated friends: Spanning over 12 years, the woman’s granddaughter, Miyoko Ihara, photographed their enduring relationship
Inseparable: Ever since the day Misa found Fukumaru, which breaks up to mean ‘good fortune’ and ‘circle’ in Japanese, in the shed, they have firm friends
Keepsake: Their beautiful friendship is documented in a photo book: Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat
The author says that she names the kitten ‘Fukumaru in hope that ‘God of fuku (good fortune) comes and everything will be smoothed over like maru (circle).’
Now over a decade later the pair have shared many experiences as well as birthdays.
Happy to watch: Fukumaru watches Misa go about her work cleaning the vegetables
Growing old together: The pair have barely ever been apart and their friendship has blossomed over the years
The author writes: ‘The grandmother whose hearing become weak and Fukumaru who has hearing disabilities are always looking into each other’s eyes and feeling warmth each other’
Loving friends: The companions share a kiss in a quick snapshot
Every day Misao goes out to her land in Chiba to farm and Fukumaru follows her.
The cat usually curls up in the warmth of the sun watching her owner work as well as wandering over to see what she is is doing.
Fukumaru accompanies Misao when she takes a bath and eats dinner as well as lazing across her companion when they are relaxing.
‘Partly because they are both hard of hearing, my grandmother and Fukumaru are always looking into each other’s eyes. They’re really close,” Miyoko Ihara told Nippon.com.
Sharing time: Fukumaru watched as Misao takes a bath of fruit
Happy: Miyoko says: ‘Fukumaru is so happy and contented at my grandmother’s side. When I take a picture of the two of them together it’s like I’m photographing myself as a little girl’
‘Fukumaru is so happy and contented at my grandmother’s side. When I take a picture of the two of them together it’s like I’m photographing myself as a little girl.’ she explained.
‘When I see the way my grandmother is living her life, I really feel that she has a kind of strength that my generation simply can’t match. She gets up with the sun, and goes to bed when it sets.
‘She loves her cat and the vegetables in her field like her own children. If her vegetables come out well, she’s happy. She doesn’t have to worry about questions like ’what is the point of my work?’ Her way of life fills me with admiration and a sort of envy,’ Miyoko Ihara said.
Their adventures are documented in Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat.
Comfortable companions: Since Misa found the cat abandoned in a shed, the pair have barely ever been apart
History: Fukumaru is an ‘odd-eyed’ cat, with one yellow eye and one blue, born to a stray cat in a barn on the Ihara family¿s land
Fun in the sun: Fukumaru curls up in a basket contentedly as his owner juggles oranges
Perfect pairing: The pair are happy companions and Misao is always in his owner’s shadow