Pretty Neko Cat with Sakura Cherry Blossoms and Waka Japanese Poem
About the Artwork
A pretty cat (called “neko” in Japanese) with blue eyes, heart-shaped pink nose and wreath of sakura or cherry blossoms on her head. She is out at night with the gorgeous, delicate pink petals of the cherry blossoms contrasting with the dark blue sky. The waka or Japanese poem on the left says:
On a mountain slope
Stands a cherry tree.
Except for you, lonely friend,
To others I am unknown.
It was written by a 12th-century abbot named Gyoson, and became part of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a poetry anthology of one hundred poems by an equal number of poets. There are several contemporary translations these days (see this or this) but I used the 1917 version by Clay MacCauley. The translation is written at the bottom of the image.
I had a fun time drawing this cat. She was inspired by a white stray cat I sometimes see at a local park. The night sakura or yozakura theme is one of my favorites; looking forward to seeing them each Spring. I hope you like the illustration, too! Makes a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys cats, Japanese themes, cherry blossoms, Spring colors or animals and flowers in general.
Here’s the Pinterest-friendly version, a poster mockup without my watermark in the center of the image: