I've been living in Japan for the past year and a half, and I've noticed that cats here generally seem to behave differently from the cats in England, where I'm from. People from other European countries and the USA say the same thing.
In England, most cats are shy and will run away from an unfamiliar human, while a few others are gregarious and will approach strangers and seek affection from them. In Japan one often sees cats just sitting there and more-or-less ignoring people who pass by or approach them, which isn't something I ever really saw before coming here. (The exception would be a few cats I've known that live in a bar or a shop and have learnt to mostly ignore the customers, but in Japan one sees this behaviour all the time, just in the street.)
Similarly, in Britain, cats are very territorial and will generally fight other cats. You wouldn't expect to see two or three cats calmly sitting next to each other unless they were in an enclosed space such as a house. But it's a common sight outdoors in Japan.
Examples of these behaviours can be found on YouTube. For example, the cats in this video are probably trained, but the behaviour of average cats found in public places is often not so different.
Does anybody know the reason for this? I can think of a few possibilities. It might be genetic, or it might be because of the very high population density (of both humans and cats), or it might be because Japanese people behave differently towards cats than western people. (Cats are considered lucky in Japanese culture.) I'm interested in which if any of these explanations is correct. Have the reasons for the behavioural differences between Japanese and European cats been studied, and is the answer known?