Cats have a storied pedigree in Japanese literature. One of modern Japanese literature’s first classics, I Am a Cat by Natsume Soseki, is a parody of Meiji-era Japanese society from a cat’s point of view. (2021 saw the English-language release of a faithful manga adaptation by Chiroru Kobato, translated by Zach Davisson.) Thirty years later, the highly influential author Junichiro Tanizaki published the novella A Cat, a Man, and Two Women.

The narrator of Kou Machida’s Rip It Up is repulsive. In his introduction, translator Daniel Joseph describes him as a “toxic shit heel”. He is sexist; one woman characterizes him as “defilement incarnate”. He constantly insults other people, calling them “morons”, “idiots” and “dumbasses”.