A giant, four-legged creature has people in Japan has captivated residents and visitors. But don’t worry, it’s not dangerous, even if you have a pet allergy. Nicknamed “Shinjuku east exit cat” after the nearby subway station, the massive feline is the digital star of a 3D LED billboard in Tokyo. The cat is the size of a yacht on a screen three stories tall.
Although the 4K display does not officially “open” until July 12, it was installed last month and has continuously drawn crowds. The big kitty makes several brief appearances throughout the day, in between advertisements and music videos. As it moves around on the screen, it also greets fans by saying, “nyannichiwa,” a combination of “konnichiwa,” which means “hello,” and “nyan,” Japanese for “meow.”
“This giant 3D cat appeared in Tokyo on a billboard made of a 1,664 square-foot curved LED screen,” @NowThis posted in a TikTok video showing the cat. “The calico cat appears in the morning and evening, along with other 3D images.”
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Takayuki Ohkawa, a spokesman for the Japanese conglomerate Unika, one of the two companies operating the billboard, says that the cat is not an advertisement for any brand or product.
“There are many reasons we decided to display the cat,” Ohkawa told The Japan Times, “but one of the big reasons is that with corona, the world became very dark. Through the cat display, we wanted to revive Shinjuku and make it brighter.”
Three-dimensional digital billboards have become a recent trend throughout East Asia. For instance, a menacing cyclops has made himself known at a mall in Taiwan, as seen in this post by @thegraffitihub on TikTok.
In Chengdu, China, an animated lion appears to escape from the glass of the screen, and the illusion of a massive wave inside of a giant glass tank captured the attention of passersby in Seoul, South Korea.
Here it is, as posted to YouTube by @district last year.
As for the Shinjuku east exit cat, Ohkawa shared that the kitty might be up to something different on Monday.
“You’ll just have to wait and see,” he told the Japan Times.
If you want to see it for yourself but can’t make it to Tokyo, Cross Space (one of the billboard advertisers) is sharing a live stream of the billboard on YouTube: