Maneki neko (Beckoning cat)

A maneki-neko is a statue of a cat beckoning passers-by.

The statue is often found in restaurants and shops and is displayed as a charm to attract customers.


1. Origin


One story relates that the maneki-neko originated in Edo, present day Tokyo.


Long ago, Hikone castle lord, Ii Naotaka(井伊直孝)was walking near Gotokuji-temple.(豪徳寺) He spotted a cat in front of the temple gate beckoning to him. He entered and rested. Immediately afterwards, a thunder started. Feeling lucky having avoided the rain, Naotaka donated money and made Gotokuji the Ii’s family temple. 


Today, a maneki-neko is enshrined as Kannon or goddess of mercy there. People dedicate maneki-neko figures when their wishes are answered.


2. Styles and colors of Maneki-neko


Manaki-neko comes in different styles and colors. A maneki-neko with its right paw raised brings wealth, while its left paw raised attracts customers.


The most common maneki-neko is white, but black one drive away evil spirits, and red one expel disease. Blue maneki-neko bring academic success, and green one safety from traffic accidents. Pink lures love.


3. Conclusion


So, maneki-neko bring all kind of happiness. It is popular souvenirs among visitors to Japan. In the Nakamise shopping arcade in Asakusa, Tokyo, there is a shop selling only maneki-nekos. Why don't you drop by the small shop?


4. Reference


(1) An English text by PEP English school