We are thrilled to welcome you to the Museum for Art in Wood! Access to our exhibitions and permanent collection is free of charge to all visitors.
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Catland: The Soft Power of Cat Culture in Japan

October 22, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm



Catland: The Soft Power of Cat Culture in Japan | Thurs. October 22, 2020 | 6:30 – 7:30 pm | LIVE on ZOOM


Image: Cat priest Koyuki at the Nyannyanji Temple in Kyoto, photograph by Rie Yamamoto.

Join us for a fun, and fascinating discussion on the phenomenon of Japanese cat culture with author Sarah Archer.

Imagine you’re reading the news, and you come across an article about a new product or service that caters to cats. Maybe it strikes you as unusually thoughtful, or it looks exceptionally well-crafted. Perhaps it appears to have been undertaken with a seriousness of purpose and attention to detail that would rival that of any human-centered endeavor—and this seriousness, in and of itself, is irresistibly endearing. Do you have any doubt where this hypothetical cat product or service comes from? You do not: it’s from Japan.

The world of Japanese cat culture is vast. Enter, and you’ll discover Shinto and Buddhist beliefs about animals and nature, folklore about cats both real and supernatural, cats depicted in Japanese works of art and literature over the course of centuries, cat-inspired material culture and everyday objects, cat animation, the global export of cuteness, cat tourism and nekonomics—the local term for the economic boon that results from a popular cat attraction. Japan’s cat culture contains multitudes, and it transcends physical geography. You might be allergic to cats. You might not be a cat person. (Yet.) But once you’ve been beckoned inside, the chances are good that you’ll decide to stay a while. Welcome to Catland.

Catland: The Soft Power of Cat Culture in Japan is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and IndieBound. Stay tuned for news of upcoming events and book-signings! Press inquiries: please email Nicholas Teodoro at Countryman Press.

Catland includes original photographs by Lee Chapman, Giovanni Piliarvu, and Rie Yamamoto.

​Sarah Archer: Welcome! I’m an award-winning design and culture writer based in Philadelphia. My books The Midcentury Kitchen and Midcentury Christmas are available now from Countryman Press. My new book Catland: The Soft Power of Cat Culture in Japan is on shelves now.

I’m a contributing editor at American Craft Magazine, and write regularly for Hyperallergic, The Atlantic, Architectural Digest, and The New Yorker online. My articles and reviews have appeared in Curbed, Metropolis, CityLab, Slate, The Washington Post, The Magazine Antiques, Modern Magazine, The Journal of Modern Craft, and Studio Potter. I was the 2017 Jentel Visiting Critic at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. I’ve contributed essays to exhibition catalogs for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Portland Art Museum, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and the Museum of Arts and Design, as well as to the anthologies Shows and Tales, edited by Art Jewelry Forum, and The Ceramic Reader from Bloomsbury Press. I have curated exhibitions at Urban Glass and Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Prior to moving to Philadelphia to become Senior Curator at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, I was the Director of Greenwich House Pottery in New York City.

This event is free to the public. The Center for Art in Wood interprets, nurtures, and champions creative engagement and expansion of art, craft, and design in wood to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of it. A suggested donation of $5 per person enables us to provide programs and exhibitions throughout the year.

For questions contact Katie Sorenson, Community Engagement Manager at [email protected]


October 22, 2020
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


The Center for Art in Wood
141 N 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States
(215) 923-8000
View Venue Website


The Center for Art in Wood
(215) 923-8000
View Organizer Website