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Omatsu Daigongen (Anan)

History

A short drive from central Anan is the Omatsu Daigongen shrine to vengeful cat. In the early the Edo period, the headman of Kamo Village borrowed money from a wealthy man to save the village during a famine. He repaid the debt, but the wealthy man falsely accused him of not paying. In despair, the village headman died of an illness, and the rich man confiscated the land as collateral for the debt. When the village headman's wife, Omatsu, complained to the magistrate's office, the magistrate, bribed by the rich man, gave an unfair judgement. Then, when Omatsu tried to complain directly to the daimyo, she was executed. Omatsu's pet cat became a vengeful spirit and drove the families of the wealthy man and the corrupt magistrate to ruin. Omatsu's grave lies within the shrine, among every kind of cat statuary and art. The shrine is also home to a fluffy grey cat who catches mice.