All about Maneki Neko – The “Lucky Cat”

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A very familiar image but few people know this cat well! 

Maneki Neko – “The cat waving his hand” or “The Lucky Cat”, “The Beckoning Cat” is a very popular statue in Japan, China, Korea or Vietnam. It usually made of ceramic or porcelain, it sculpted a short-tailed cat holding up “hands” to look like it was waving or waving to people.

Maneki Neko is considered a symbol of luck, that will bring good fortune to families or stores that place statues at the entrance. This belief have originated from an ancient Chinese tradition: “When cats put their feet to rub their eyes, they will come to the house.” If you have a chance to visit Japan or China, you will see the image of this cat in most stores, companies or banks here. 

Source There are many legends about the birth of Maneki Neko but the most popular is the legend of Gotokuji temple. 

In the 17th century, a poor monk lived in a small temple in Tokyo. Although life is very difficult, he still shares his meager meal for his pet cat Tama. One day, Lord Nakaota Li of Hikone district, on his way hunting, suddenly met a storm and have to stay under a big tree near the temple. He noticed a cat raised one leg as if waving him to the temple. Curious, he left the tree, headed for the temple to see the strange cat. At the same time, a lightning bolt struck the tree he had just stood. 

Thanks to the cat, the lord became a patron of the temple, contributed to repair and expand the temple and renamed it to Gotokuji Temple in 1697. When Tama died, he was buried in the graveyard with the cats, in the temple, a statue of Maneki Neko was made to commemorate this special cat. 

Maneki Neko, Classify By Shape

Maneki Neko has 3 types. The left-waving cat brings more customers while the cat waving the right leg brings luck and money. If the cat raises both feet up, it means protection for your family and business. People believe that when they put a cat in their front door, the customer, money or luck will come to the store more and more. 

The image of cat Maneki Neko usually has accessories around the neck, but the most common one is a necklace with a bell. This is because in the Edo period (1603 – 1868), cats were an expensive pet, so to keep it from running away from the their master, they put on each cat’s neck a bell. Today, we also see a picture of this cat holding a big gold coin, this is the Koban, used in the Edo period, one is counted as ryou and the money that the Maneki Neko cat is worth up to 10 million ryou.

Maneki Neko, Classify By Color 

Maneki Neko can be found in many different colors and each color has its own meaning: 

– Triangle (mix of 3 colors): is the most popular color and is also considered the luckiest. 

 – White: symbolizing purity, purity – Black: bring health, ward off evil spirits. Today, the black Maneki Neko is popular among Japanese women to help protect them from dangerous harassers. 

 – Red: also works to help us avoid evil and disease. 

 – Pink: not a traditional color, but now it is very popular in praying for love.

 – Green: Advantages in studying. 

 – Gold: symbolizes wealth, money is full of houses. 

If you have a chance, buy a Maneki Neko right away to bring your fortune and luck! 

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