Using “I Am A Cat” (吾輩は猫である) To Sell Anything

吾輩(わがはい)は猫(ねこ)である or “I Am A Cat,” is a classic work of fiction by the world famous author 夏目漱石 (Natsume Soseki). Most of you who haven’t heard of it will eventually, and many of you will probably attempt to read it. Every Japanese person alive knows of this book. And that means taking advantage of this in every possible way to make money.

i am a cat 8

The phrase 吾輩は猫である is an old high class way of saying “I’m a cat.”

吾輩 (sometimes spelled 我輩) = 私 = I
である = です (である is still used today but in a bit of a different way)

So when you have a catchy phrase what do you do? Create as many variations as humanly possible. And use them as titles of completely unrelated books everywhere.

Some of my favorites:

I Am Also A Cat

I am a cat 1

I Am Not A Cat

I am a cat 2

I Am a Disgusting Person

I am a cat 3

I Am A Beer

I am a cat 4

I Am London

I am a cat 5

I Am A Freelance Programmer With A Wife, Child, And A Cat

I am a cat 6

I Am A Dog That Speaks English That Must Not Be Spoken

I am a cat 7

I Am Japanese Level Up

I am a cat 9

I know, I shouldn’t have…


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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Using “I Am A Cat” (吾輩は猫である) To Sell Anything — 6 Comments

  1. 吾輩は笑い猫である。
    I hadn’t heard of it until now, but it actually comes up as a spelling suggestion when I start typing it!… Talk about well known.

    • 吾輩は猫である。名前はまだない。
      It appears everywhere in media too, from anime and music, to other books and articles.

      • Indeed! Hopefully no one will object if I link to another excerpt from “スケッチブック ~full color’s~” but I think this is where I first heard of the novel:

        This also provides an example of how people may react to you based on your choice of personal pronoun.

        Another fun thing to do is to search for variations of the title with other animals to see how people riff on it. I was surprised by how many pages there are with 吾輩はタコである!

  2. I have seen this phrase foe the first time in Tae Kim’s grammar guide. And didn’t understand what the hell it meant. Just forced myself to absorb it. Thank you so much for clearing it up!

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