The Kitty Cat Delivery Service Turns 40 in Style!
by Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass
Yamato Transport has been as much a Japanese institution as UPS is to the US. The company has been in business since 1919, and survived World War II. However, their most popular "Takkyoubin" (Home Delivery Mail) service is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and they are celebrating with a wild commercial featuring dancing black cats and a traditional melody given a funky danceable twist.
Yamato has been connected with Asian Pop Culture since way back when the anime Uchū Senkan Yamato (known as Space Battleship Yamato and Star Blazers) first aired in 1974. Here's a commercial featuring some Space Battleship Yamato action advertising Yamato Transport's services.
But even more beloved for Anime fans is that Yamato was on the Production Committee for Kiki's Delivery Service, the beloved Studio Ghibli feature. The book the movie was based on actually did use Yamato's descriptive phrase "Takkyoubin" to describe Kiki's flying delivery business, and the little talking black cat Jiji was inspired by the black cat logo of the delivery company. The book was a hit, Yamato was pleased by the plug, and so when Miyazaki's film was in pre-production Yamato was more than happy to get more good publicity by backing the film.
Yamato Transport and its trademark mom cat and kitten logo have been animated many times in commercials. Here's one from 1981:
And here's another one from a bit later on.
However, real cats have also made an appearance in their commercials. Last year featured a live-action black cat showing how clever he or she is putting together a small package shipping box.
Of course, it took more than a few takes to get it right...
However, Yamato realized that no matter how cute that commercial was, it took something a little more impressive to get Japanese millennials to use their services. Enter the super-jumbo Vender Cat, which was deployed all over Japan in train stations. People lined up for gifts that the big black cat would deliver right to their waiting hands after they booped its nose.
Not only the pictures and videos from the appearances of Vender Cat popped up on social media, but some of the company's boxes have shown up in viral videos of -- what else? -- cats. Here's an example.
So without any further ado, here's the new video featuring dancing cats, funky music, and one adorable real life kitty as the MC. If this cat inspires you to cosplay as the dancing cat, or to show up as one at a Halloween party, we've found a tuxedo cat plush full-head mask at Hot Topic. If not, just enjoy the dancing and the groove. We think this video is pretty cool.