by Max Barry

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Neko Ethnography- What's New...Pussycat?

Our Place in the World
The "neko", or "nekomimi", name attained after figures of Japan, is the popular term for Homo sapiens felis: human suspecies known for having cat-like ears on their heads and "tails". For the "neko" of Las Palmeras, it is an embarrassing term that has overshadowed the term of Tohorinese Felis. And an unfair moment of history, as our ancestors knew of Europe, and by proxy, the rest of the world since the 1st Century AD...long before Marco Polo talked about the accursed Zipang (Japan), land of our popular and grating long-lost cousins. However, much of that became irrelevant after generations of mixing with humans pushed these traits into recessive territory, with large canines being the most noticeable feature.

Fig. 1.1 Servant girl.
Original by Kaori Mori.

The European explorers anticipated the neko in part, being inspired by Isidore of Seville and Pliny the Elder's tales of Dog-Men in Asia (Colombus and many others originally thought they disembarked in Asia), and also because of the records made and repeated by several Roman historians between the 1st and 5th Centuries which were later picked up by the friars of many religious orders during the Middle Ages, art pieces -like mosaics and statues- left by the Western Roman Empire depicting the little androgynous people with cat-ears, and even a handful of artifacts from the old Tohorinese Empire.

During the Age of Discoveries, the Catholic missionaries' debate of their "humanity" or "monstrosity" put the neko in great risk of being exterminated as a sector of religious authorities thought the Neko to be Satanic pagan origin. Ultimately though, the more benign group prevailed justifying that if the ancients knew of them then they were a part of post-Flood creation still worthy of Salvation and humane treatment, not to mention the amount of praise that the 15th Century Tohorinese neko received by Humanistic thinkers for being preservers of faint but lingering Roman presence. Not to mention that the fleeting Tohorinese Empire had shown its military capabilities by driving off the Portuguese and forcing the Spanish into a surprisingly costly war of attrition while still keeping diplomatic channels open for negotiation.

By 1571 the Spaniards were ready to disembark in the American mainland, grand old civilizations like the Inca of Perú and the Aztecs and Maya of México would meet their fate. And the former "Cat Empire" would serve as an invaluable base of operations for the colonial ambitions of Spain, and also as logistical support and even as an auxiliary military force. A glimpse of what was to come of the roles of the Cat isles' inhabitants in the almost 400 years of colonial rule under the Spanish Empire.

During this period, the neko exerted a great deal of attention from scholars and naturalists and even kings, perhaps more notably than during our first 500 year-long dialogue with the Romans; many were shipped to the courts of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire just to entertain and serve nobility, initially at the behest of the Holy Roman Emperor Karl I/V: establishing their reputation in Europe as servants akin to blackamoors. Their condition as luxury servants and exotic concubines in Europe -and especially in Spain and Austria- continued until well into the 19th Century.

The neko had a profound effect on the national sex ratio over time though, something which resulted in it being titled in favor of a female majority even among seemingly human populaces in Las Palmeras: something which resulted in the applied labor power of females even in traditionally male roles such as factory work and military service.

A Mysterious Origin
How could two population groups practically identical to each-other be separated so far away? Who came first? The nekomimi in Japan or those in the Atlantic isle of Las Palmeras? Hypotheses that revolved around Trans-Pacific journeys assumed this feat was too large to originate in Japan as originally proposed; and even if island hopping could've been achievable it wouldn't have resolved why the neko didn't simply settle in South or Central America when reaching land and instead took to the sea again as would be claimed. Furthermore, coastal migration -though relatively easier- would have limited the supposed populations to the Pacific shores of the Americas unless they. Though a pole-crossing journey would have been relatively shorter, it also would have been far more perilous for a pre-industrial peoples- and these hunter-gatherers would've had to go to the sea anyways.

Nobody knows where the neko precisely came from or why they show up on the fossil record after about 12,000 BC seemingly out of the blue in Las Palmeras and in the island of Honshu in Japan exclusively. It is puzzling to verify how they went to 2 different points (going from Japan to the Americas and then setting sail towards the Atlantic, or vice-versa, presumably) more than 11,000 km away from each-other in pre-industrial times. The similarities between the "Old Cat" language and the Japanese-Ryukuan family are well known and proven, however the exact role of the neko in pre-Japanese prehistoric culture has not been understood, or why the nekomimi are a majority in the Palmeran isle and not in Japan. The term AC (Ancestral Culture) has been used to describe a hypothetical cultural ancestor or intermediary between the neko in both islands and the human populations of Japan.

Another seriously considered idea is the one of the Paleocontact Maroon hypothesis, also vulgarly known as the Linkvon Däniken dilemma, which states that the nekomimi may have an extraterrestrial origin. Other hypotheses without physical proof are those of a Prehistoric Industrial Past, which claims that the nekomimi were genetically-altered humans

Other more adventurous writers claim that Japanese and Palmeran neko were once one same group that landed in different places; thus claiming their origins are indeed extraterrestrial. However this would also imply that neko and humans would be very closely related to another third group. Or that said hypothetical group influenced in the evolution of both ancient humans and neko, which would explain why the neko are possibly the product of advanced genetic manipulation. Though a more level-headed explanation over travel could simply be the Palmerans' ancestors split from their Japanese relatives and headed westwards chasing megafauna to hunt, eventually reaching downwards to Europe and a hypothetical Atlantic land-bridge.

The Isle before the Spanish

Fig. 1.4 The sole surviving archaic site in Home Island

The Neko in the Palmeran Isle were hampered by a lack of large resources and also modest to subpar soil in the arid island made sure the population was slow in it's rise: though the arrival of our people coincides with the Last Glacial Maximum and the Early Holocene Sea Level Rise in the 6th Millennium BC. The Archaic period of dynastic Southern kingdoms, once thought to be mythical, developed at around the 2nd Millennium BC and ended in the 1st Millennium BC, though a lot of archaeological evidence has been destroyed during the Great Fall, known as the Old Dark Age. Achievements in this time include the use of 0 in mathematical base-10 calculations -which were used for a particular interest with recording the Martian orbit. This was the age when the Isle was known as Tohorin, in honor of the land's patron solar goddess.

In the centuries during the Great Fall, mass deforestation and desertification destroyed agriculture and led to centuries of gradual decline and unrest. The over-exploitation of the soil and deforestation needed to make way for farmland, mining, and for providing fires took it's toll; famine and social unrest nearly led to a systemic collapse in most regions by the end 1st Millennia BC and a once splendorous civilization almost reverted to self-sustained farming and fragmented governance that was a shadow of it's former self. It's been noted that hieroglyphs in many sites appear to be defaced, indicating intentional vandalism since then and some researchers suspect the malcontent peasants did it. Ironically, enough, the development of a simpler bloc-based alphabet which remained in use until the Spanish Conquest began in those tumultuous times.

The end of that era would have been disastrous if not for mother being the need of innovation, in this case, a desperate seaward expansion into the Mishka-hima Islands (Azores) and Macaronesia (Madeira) during the 2nd and 1st Centuries BC led not by explorers but by sea-going fishing boats in look for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. In this context, the neko consciously but accidentally found their Human cousins in the Canary Islands and began to trade with the primitive tribal inhabitants, victoriously proclaiming them as "Tohorin's tributaries". A far more long-lasting and somewhat unequal relationship would occur when the Tohorinese made contact with the great Roman Empire, which dwarfed the isle and led to a literary tradition of historical and cultural introspection.

Despite an annual trade convoy going to and fro the Isle and European Rome (vía Cadíz and Gibraltar) for almost five centuries, a lot about of the old Tohorinese Isle remained a mystery to Western historians and Classical naturalists as the island was protected by almost 2600 km of sea from prying European ambitions, the crossing was only barely beaten by the maritime cats in "Sampans" by piggybacking over the few Atlantic islands available. However in that pagan age, it was the first time that the people and rulers of the island would come to meet their neighbors through envoys. Turqoise, Lapizlazuli, Flower Poppy analgesic plants and the occasional concubine went to Europe; Classical science, olives, garum and wine went towards Tohorin. Though contact was almost always limited to a niche: the cities of Gades, Gibraltar and within embassies.

Both Tohorinese and Roman scholars considered each-other to be Barbarians, both occasionally praised each-others' civilization and technical achievements, both snidely looked in contempt at each-others' perceived societal faults and were assured of their own peoples' superiority, both thought of each-other as a land of exotic curios, and ultimately, both saw each-other as just another group of people in a mysterious world: the "Long-Nosed Giants" and the "Little Sea Cats" mutually contemplated each-other as a part of natural history. The eventual but inevitable discovery that both groups could bear healthy children together that was reflected in the annals of Pliny and Isidore of Seville, in retrospect, was seen as our salvation when the late-Medieval Spanish arrived, as was the certain level of prestige given to our people by the Ancients in Europe remembered by Scholastic friars.

Western Alchemy and military technology vastly transformed the course of society within the Island, even after it was cut off from Rome during the Dark Ages and the homeland itself descended into seven centuries of almost perpetual civil wars. The Warring Period (489 AD to 1300s) that followed also ushered in centuries of gradual technological advancement in the form of military technology based around saltpeter. The Arts and High Culture were subservient to a growing militarism and overshadowed in historical annals. The development of gunpowder and refined tar for explosives, incendiary ceramic grenades, rustic noxious gasses and propellants and trench warfare are well known, as is the development of "personal" armor. By the time the island was once again unified under the Imperial Head and Capitol City, the Empire wasn't even a shadow of it's former self. In this weakened form, the small and professional army managed to win a Pyrrhic victory against Portugal but ultimately negotiated vassalage to Spain in a meticulously written binding contract known as the Humanity Declaration.

The only functional city of the "Tohorinese Empire" that remained diplomatically surrendered to the Crown of Castille/Spain, still speaking to the foreigners in Latin, more than 70 years after Colombus' first landing and more than a millennia after saying goodbye to Roman Hispania; however for whatever reason -be it realpolitik, negotiation after a costly war, admiration, or a condescending attitude towards the female majority neko- the local political apparatus was absorbed into Spain's in a relatively peaceful manner (in contrast to the fate of the Inca and Aztecs) despite the culture shock of late Medieval Christianity's misogyny. Within centuries, social changes spurred by mass intermarriage gradually molded today's Palmeran people....and the rest is history!

General list of Ethnic Features:

  • X-Marked haplogroup which didn't originate from the Old World.

  • Broad ethnic similarity to Asian/Siberian/Native groups despite not being within that group; though other researchers call the Neko "proto-Caucasian". Recessive reddish and auburn hair colors occur, as well as recessive eye colors like grey and green, which often prop up more often in populations that have mixed with Caucasians.

  • Extremely small set of genes belonging to some unidentified feliform mammal. Some researchers suggest genetic tampering was at work seeing as how evolutionary adaptation models find no connection; this implies some far more advanced group may have genetically engineered the neko in a remote past. It is suspect a type of hyena-like creature, and not cats, are the origin of this peculiarity.

  • Rod-rich eyes, more so than humans. Rudimentary night vision.

  • Tails are an extra appendage which seems to also act as organic "walking sticks" or motion-sensors, also capable of sensing pressure differences in air.