Realistic-looking neko no ryukkusakku (猫のリュックサック) or “cat rucksacks” went viral earlier this year. Japanese TV now warns of clumsy knockoffs being sold as if they’re the real thing!
In the above image, you can see the real cat rucksack on the right, and the phony one on the left. The Japanese word nisemono (ニセモノ or 偽物) means “counterfeit” or “fake”, while honmono (本物) refers to the real thing.
The price for the pictured imitation bag was 6,000 yen ($55), and even that seems high. Created by an artist named Pico, a genuine neko no ryukkusakku can cost over a thousand dollars.
According to ANA News, the faux ones are being made at Chinese factories and sold via websites featuring photos of Pico-san’s creations. A month after Pico’s bags went viral, factories were already pumping out knock-offs. A spokesperson from the factory said some customers are waiting about a month and the factory is receiving orders from around the world.
Pico has been making realistic cats for approximately ten years. Because she makes each cat by hand, Pico is only able to produce a limited number each year. It can take between three and six months to finish one, with more time necessary to get some creations just right. On Pico’s online shop, prices start at 130,000 yen ($1,180), but currently, none are for sale.
These aren’t just viral cat bags, but desirable handicrafts, which is why it’s a shame to see others try to cash in. It’s not just one retailer, it seems, but multiple ones that keep popping up, claiming to selling neko no ryukkusakku. Some retailers even try to pass themselves off as Pico, writing “Pic0" as their user name. Pico has called all this “frightening.”