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Japan Photo Journal: Novel 'cat-cept'

(Mainichi/Masahiko Endo)

Wooden cats sporting masks are seen at Unrinji temple in the western Japan city of Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on March 15, 2020. Although the "cat temple" is closed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, it posted pictures of the masked cats on its Twitter and Facebook accounts, which garnered positive responses including comments such as "The patterns on their masks are so cute!" and "They give me such comfort." Chief priest Jisei Sumida, 49, said, "I thought people are probably feeling depressed about the day in, day out virus news, so I wanted to give everyone a laugh." The temple will be closed until the end of March, and Sumida intends to display the cats with the handmade masks for a while after reopening.

    (Japanese original by Masahiko Endo, Hagi Local Bureau)

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