‘Cat Lord’ of castle in western Japan boosts tourism after flood disaster

A Japanese cat was granted “lordship” over an ancient castle which happens to be the highest structure with a tower in the country.

The three-year-old feline, named Sanjuro, assumed his title at Bitchu Matsuyama Castle in Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture on Dec. 16.

The cat, named after local samurai Tani Sanjuro, settled at the castle atop a 430-meter-high (1,410-foot-high) mountain after he went missing from his home, Sankei reported.

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He originally lived with 40-year-old Megumi Namba in Takahashi before disappearing on July 14 during a torrential rain that caused floods and mudslides in western Japan.

A man working at the castle discovered Sanjuro a week later and decided to take care of him.

Eventually, the cat caught the attention of Hideo Aihara, executive director of the tourism association that oversees the castle.

In mid-October, Namba attempted to retrieve her pet after hearing that it found shelter in the castle.
However, she soon agreed to let him stay with the association.

Sanjuro then became the castle’s official “cat lord” — and for good reason.

Since he started occupying its premises, the number of visitors surged, making a quick recovery from the calamity and even topping off figures from October 2017.

“He is our savior as he brought back visitors. We will take good care of him as the castle’s new representative,” said Aihara, according to The Mainichi.

Needless to say, many are thrilled to visit the castle, which was built in 1240, and pay their respects to Lord Sanjuro.

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