Maneki-neko: The waving Lucky Cat

General May 27, 2019 7:18 am

No matter if as a stone, ceramic or plastic figure – the Maneki-neko is a popular lucky charm especially in Asia. In our part of the world, the cheerful waving cat is more commonly known as "Lucky Cat". Read here what this cat is all about.

The history of Maneki-neko goes back to the 17th century. Sagas and legends about luck bringing cats have been around in Japan for more than 400 years. But also in China the symbolic figure has its roots. A Japanese interpretation of the lucky cat, for example, is to be the rebirth of the goddess Kannon (grace). Her waving gesture is taken as a well-meant warning of impending misfortune.

This is also similarly told in a popular saga: In the 17th century the head of the family of the Ii-Clan is said to have visited the temple Gōtoku-ji. He had been on his way home when it suddenly started pouring out of buckets and he was looking for shelter under a tree. Near the temple he discovered a cat waving steadily at him. As he approached it, lightning struck the tree and the cat saved his life. Out of great gratitude he decided to give the poor Gōtoku-ji temple a rich gift. When the cat finally died, a figure is believed to have been made in her own image. The Gōtoku-ji near Tokyo is a popular tourist destination today. Thousands of Maneki-neko figures can be found there.

The original figures are inspired by the cat breed Japanese Bobtail – these have two to three different coat colours, a stump tail and very big ears. If you place a Maneki-neko in front of your own shop or restaurant, it is supposed to attract customers with its waving paw and to bring financial luck. Others place her – also in the hope of wealth and happiness – at their front door. Smaller versions are often given away as a lucky souvenir.

The positive effects of a lucky cat shall be numerous and apparently depend also on its color. If it has three different colors, it brings especially good luck. A white figure symbolizes innocence and purity, while a black Maneki-neko is supposed to protect against demons. If it’s gold – you can imagine it – the cat attracts wealth. Many also think that a red one is effective against diseases.

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In contrast to the lucky cat, the classic Rock-Paper-Scissors has not only leased luck. In addition to the right timing, the necessary experience values are also of great importance to win the game. You want to know more? Then take a look at our exciting blog post.