Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Cats and dogs set to go claw to paw in race to become mayor of virtual Japan city

Information about the mayoral race of the virtual city "Konyan" is seen on this screenshot of its official website.

KONAN, Shiga -- The canines are the underdogs in an annual mayoral race to represent a virtual Japanese city for animals, having won only once in the last seven years.

Three dogs and three cats are set to go claw to paw in the 10th mayoral race in the city of "Konyan," said to be found somewhere in the Shiga Prefectural city of Konan in western Japan.

The election is carried out by the Konan Tourism Association, which came up with the idea in 2011 to promote animal protection and tourism in the area. Voting this year kicked off on March 23, with intense competition continuing for a month.

The virtual city of "Konyan," a play on words mixing the actual city name "Konan" and "nyan," the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat's meow, was established in 2011 by the Konan Tourism Association. The mayoral race is held every April, and a 1-year-old male cat named Jack was elected last year. Jack appeared in events within the city and gave charming reports on his activities as Konyan mayor.

The polls for the mayoral race are open to everyone, and can be accessed at the official Konyan website at (in Japanese). Each candidate's campaign promise, or "nyanifesto," is also displayed on the website, and some candidates post campaign videos where they are seen going for a stroll. Polls close on April 23.

A representative of the Konan Tourism Association and "election administration committee" said, "There has only been one instance in the past where a dog became mayor. The main focus of the upcoming elections is whether a cat mayor will be elected for the seventh term in a row, or whether the second dog mayor will be chosen for the first time in seven years. We ask both dog and cat lovers to take a look at the nyanifests and cast their votes."

The election results will be announced on the official Konyan website on April 24. For more inquiries, please call the Konan Tourism Association at 0748-71-2157 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Kenichi Isono, Kusatsu Resident Bureau)

Also in The Mainichi

The Mainichi on social media