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Japan castle's famous feline 'owner' stamps the purrfect gift on Cat Day

Sanjuro, the cat "owner" of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, is seen looking at a stamp bearing an illustration of himself, at the castle in Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture, on Feb. 22, 2021. (Mainichi/Kazuki Iwamoto)

TAKAHASHI, Okayama -- The tourism association of this western Japan city began selling stamps of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle with an illustration of its "owner," Sanjuro the cat, in celebration of "Cat Day" on Feb. 22.

    The stamps are sold on a sheet of paper measuring 10.6 centimeters in width and 14.8 centimeters in height. They include a cat's paw print and a picture of Sanjuro showing his belly. The sheets cost 300 yen ($2.84) each, and are sold only at the castle's ticket office.

    Tourists came to buy the stamps from the morning of Feb. 22. A couple in their 60s who visited from the prefectural city of Kurashiki smiled and said, "We came here to get the stamp. His (Sanjuro's illustration) face is really cute and heartwarming. It will be a good memento."

    Stamps bearing the family crest of Bitchu Matsuyama domain's feudal lord Itakuras have been sold at the castle since September 2020. In response to many customers demanding ones with Sanjuro's illustration, the association launched the project to sell the paw print stamps.

    A representative of the association said, "We would like people to develop an interest in the castle and also the city of Takahashi, and for them (the stamps) to be part of the enjoyment when touring around in Okayama Prefecture."

    (Japanese original by Kazuki Iwamoto, Okayama Bureau)

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