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What is "Maneki-neko", a figure of a beckoning cat?

It is a symbol of a thriving business, called "Maneki-neko".

If you have ever visited shops in the countryside in Japan, you have probably seen a beckoning cat at least once.

This adorable cat holding a gold oval coin in one hand and raising one hand is not just a decoration, it actually has special meanings.

Today we are talking about the beckoning cat called "Maneki-neko", which brings good luck to our home or shop. 

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What is Maneki-neko?

Recently, maneki-neko has gotten more popular in countries other than Japan as a lucky figure that brings happiness.

Recently, maneki-neko has gotten more popular in countries other than Japan as a lucky figure that brings happiness.

The birth of maneki-neko goes back to the late Edo period (1800s) in Japan. Here in Japan, it has long been believed that cats bring good luck. In the old days when sericultural industry was flourished, as it was a cat that exterminated a mouse which was a natural enemy, a cat was considered as a servant of God.

Besides there are a lot of legends concerning a cat in the various parts of Japan, and it is not uncommon for some area to enshrine cats as God.

Then, since a cat believed to bring good fortune, the beckoning cat displayed at the entrance in shop or home is a symbol of a flourishing business. The pose, which a cat raises one hand and invites a person means the exact behavior to call many customers into the shop.

Type of Maneki-neko

There are many kinds of maneki-neko in a variety of colors or posing, and also having different kinds of tools in a hand.

There are many kinds of maneki-neko in a variety of colors or posing, and also having different kinds of tools in a hand. 

Each color has a different meaning, so that a white is the most standard one believed to "bring and invite good luck", a black means "warding off evil" as a protective charm, a red one is "healthy and longevity", a blue one is believed to bring "academic achievement",  a yellow one wishes "luck with money and good match", a green one for "well-being of one's family" and "traffic safety", a pink one is believed to bring "the fulfillment in love", and a gold one is "rising fortunes with money" to the owner.

The meaning of Maneki-neko

The meaning and benefit change depending on which hand a beckoning cat raises.

The meaning and benefit change depending on which hand a beckoning cat raises.

The cat raising its right hand is regarded as a cat causing fortune, so it is a maneki-neko to pray for healthy and longevity, or peace.

The cat raising its left hand is a cat calling people and it is a beckoning cat seen often in shops or restaurants which are praying for their business prosperity.

There is also a beckoning cat raising both hands among them. It is generally said that it calls both good luck and luck with money, however some people avoid it because that pose is the same as when people raise both hands to show ''surrender'' or ''give up something''. 

In addition, the height to raise a hand varies according to each maneki-neko and it is said that the cat raising its hand highly can bring much luck or beckon people from far away.

Place to display Maneki-neko

Maneki-neko is usually displayed at the entrance where people come and go, but if you want to display it at home, you can put it in some places where family often gathers or where it is easy to see, such as the living room.

Maneki-neko is usually displayed at the entrance where people come and go, but if you want to display it at home, you can put it in some places where family often gathers or where it is easy to see, such as the living room.

It is believed that choosing a higher place than a lower place to display maneki-neko invites more good fortune. There are many cases which a maneki-neko is enshrined in a Shinto altar in shops.

It doesn't necessarily have to be displayed in a high position, but it's a good idea to keep that in mind when choosing a place.

Let's display Maneki-neko as your luck charm!

All around the world, people like something that brings good luck to us.

The lovely and lively figure of the beckoning cat is sure to spark conversations with family or guests.

Would you like to bring good luck to your home or shop with the traditional Japanese lucky charm "Maneki-neko"?

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