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A Kemono-style canine at work. Artwork by Sugandya.

Kemono (Japanese 獣, ケモノ, or けもの "beast") is a genre of Japanese art and character design that prominently features fictional anthropomorphic or sentient animal characters in human-like settings and situations. It is used widely in drawing, painting, manga, anime, and video game designs, many of which are popular in the rest of the world.

Human-like animal characters are called Jūjin (Japanese 獣人 or じゅうじん "therianthrope";).

Their unique design differs from artist to artist, but in general they combine popular character design with animal traits deemed cute and endearing. However, most kemono character designs retain a fundamentally human personality, seldom acting like the real animals after which they are designed.

As such, kemono are usually shown living the way normal humans live in the same setting: speaking normal language, wearing normal clothes, eating normal food, living in normal homes, in ways that blur their distinction from ordinary humans.

Currently, kemono art is often distributed through Japanese fanzine circles, "doujinshi." Fans of kemono are called kemona or kemoners (ケモナー kemonā), from kemono and English -er.

There is also kemono which depicts young animals, much like cub art: kemololi (female cub) / kemoshota (male cub).

Kemono and furry[edit]

Watercolor Kemono art by Mutsumi Yuu.

Though based on very different cultural ideals, kemono and furry fandom on the Internet can occasionally overlap, both geographically and in influence. Some kemono artists appeal to both at the same time.

Due to similarity in subject matter, kemono fans are also frequently interested in furry art (and vice versa.)

In early 2010, Kemonochan was created as an image board for English-speaking users who are fans of kemono artwork, but it closed in 2014, leaving VeeBooru and WildCritters as the main English-speaking boards for such work.


Some kemono fans are called Kemoner (ケモナー).[citation needed]

The term "Kemoner" has very controversial over the years.[citation needed] It is sometimes used as disparaging one,[citation needed] and some people who are regarded as Kemoner by others loath being called so.[citation needed]

Since the the middle of the 1990s,[citation needed] the term "Kemoner" had been used mainly by people outside those of equivalent to Kemono fanzine at the whole anime/manga fanzine in the quite negative context like "the sexual perverts" who have lust for animals (often confused with zoophilia)[citation needed] and the person-concerned had used it as self-torture.[clarify][citation needed] In 1998, the prominent doujinshi circle (Kemono fanzine) KEMONERS which used this term as self-calling for the first time officially was launched, and it may be after this that "Kemoner" is used in the non-negative meanings.[citation needed]

Some definitions argue that Kemoner only stands for gay people in the fanzine, and does not include the straight people[clarify][citation needed], because since the late of the 1990s they became the majority of Kemono fanzine due to the major kemono-specialized online service FANG that banished straight-adult content from the service.[citation needed]

And Kemoner is sometimes labeled on people in the neighboring genre like not only Kemomimi which stand for human-character with animal ears and tail but also Zoophiles and Transfur, and those who were labeled as Kemoner loath being called so because of the reasons listed above.[clarify][citation needed]

These facts make things more complex and it makes the term "Kemoner" very controversial.[clarify] Instead the term Kemonozuki (ケモノ好き) is sometimes used to avoid these problems and troubles though it is not so famous as Kemoner.

However, recently some people especially in the younger generations, begin to use the term Kemoner in the positive meanings, and it is strictly contradicted by the opponents, especially in the older generations.[clarify]

Kemono events[edit]

There are small scale, local furmeets and large-scale, regular conventions catering to kemono fans.

Kemono events are mainly divided into two types, fursuit events and doujin/fanzine vending events. But this is not absolute: Fullmoff also have booths for creators, and Kemoket have spaces for fursuiting, so it's not possible to simply divide into two types.

Also, Comiket, which happens twice a year, also as many attendees.

Kemono in the media[edit]

Kemono is most easily encountered outside of Japan in Anime, Manga, and Video games. Below is a selected list of popular and obscure anime that are primarily Kemono/furry (see Anime for a more complete list).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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(This is a brief list of well-distinguished kemono websites on the Internet. These websites are all link-free or have been irrevocably permitted to be linked to by their webmasters. Most of the sites are written only in Japanese, and some may contain themes perceived as mildly adult in nature. Most Kemono sites will provide links to other artist's sites as well. For more, see Category:Kemono)