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The Vampire Cat of Nabéshima

The Vampire Cat of Nabéshima is one of the tales collected by the British far east diplomat Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford. It was published in 1871 as "Tales of Old Japan" and tells the story of a shape shifting Bakeneko supernatural cat who after murdering the love of the Prince of Hizen assumes her form and begins to bewitch and consume him with sickness and the low ranking but wily foot soldier, Ito Soda who solves the puzzle, overcomes the demon and is handsomely rewarded.


The Nabéshima are vampiric cats from the folklore of ancient Japan and although during the day looks like a common enough cat, it can shape shift into a specific person and uses this tactic to get close to its intended prey, whose forebearers had in many cases committed offence against the cat’s previous owners. The cat then chokes its victim unconscious and then drains them of their blood.

The last report of a Nabéshima attack was made on July 14th, 1929, in which it was reported that the vampire cat of Nebéshima was harassing the wives of the descendants of samurai.



There are two woodblocks carved by Beth S. Robinson with 5 and 7 colours each and an image of blood-soaked cat’s paws in this new edited version.

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The Type and Plate

The main type used in both editions is 14pt Baskerville and cast by Nick Gill at Effra Press with plates of the Japanese style titles designed by Mark Askam made by Lyme Bay Press.

The Edition

This title comes in 2 editions printed by James Freemantle at his St James Park Press.

The 10 specials with 2 woodblocks with 5 and 7 colours are printed on Zerkall Smooth White paper and housed in a Japanese folding case (Chitsu) covered in Katazome-Shi Pearl & Dean paper.

The 40 standard copies are printed on Shin Obani paper with covered in specially designed Suminagashi paper designed by Lucy McGrath at her Marmor Paperie studio with black and white woodblock images.

Both editions have the same bloody red cats paw image.

The book is bound by Roger Grech in endpapers. 

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Ordinaries at £220 with optional slipcase at £45 and coloured specials (all sold) housed in a folding slip case at £440.

​Only the ordinary edition remaining for sale.

P&P at cost.


Octavo, 235 x 180mm

24, pp.

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