When photographer Akiko DuPont of Tokyo, Japan brought an unwanted ginger kitten home, she had no idea how much he’d change the life of her grandfather, Jiji.
Akiko tells iHeartCats that she saved the kitten from a friend who no longer wanted him. Since she didn’t ask her family for permission to take him home, she hid the kitty, named Kinako, in her room for a month!
But one day, Jiji wandered into her room – and everything changed…
Jiji The Grandpa
“His eyes shined full of happiness and that was how they met,” she tells iHeartCats.
After seeing the sudden and drastic change in her grandfather, the photographer decided to document the adorable pair.
Up until that point, Akiko’s grandfather had been sad and lonely for years. “Since the War ended, for 64 years, Jiji commuted to his office, but in 2009 he was sent to the hospital,” she explained in a story by Bored Panda. “The doctor said he was sick. The once outgoing man gradually lost his interest in life and became grumpier than ever.”
With his hiding spot uncovered, the DuPont family embraced their new furry family member. But it was Kinako’s special bond with her grandfather that Akiko wanted to catch on film.
“There was no intention to share the photographs and the story to anyone when I first began documenting them,” she explained to iHeartCats. “However, seeing these two [together], wrapping the family with a veil of warmth, I thought that they may be able to provide heartwarming moments to someone out there as well, not just us family.”
Side By Side
And boy, was she right! The beautiful photos have taken the internet by storm. Perhaps it’s because they capture the therapeutic healing power that cats can have on us humans.
While the attention has been a little overwhelming, Akiko says that she cannot thank the publications enough who’ve shared her story, and she’s thrilled that it’s been able to bring so much joy to people. “Every day I receive [emails] and I want to say ‘arigato’ to each and every one of the readers,” she said.
“Kinako lifts up Jiji by simply being Kinako, and Jiji being Jiji, pours love to Kinako, just like he always does with the others,” Akiko said.
“They are quite funny and adorable [to watch],” she added.
“I’ll Be Watching You”
“Who would have thought that a timid kitten would befriend a grumpy old man?!” she said in the Bored Panda story.
Pen Fence, Paw Fence
Kinako The Cat
Every Night, Working Together
“Off I Go. Me Time!”
Along With The Sun. Breakfast Together
Itadakimasu: Jiji’s Dinner
Gochisosama: Was Kinako’s Dinner
There Will Be Days Like This