By TammyWhite
1 years ago

Maneki Neko (招き猫) and its history

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We have all seen the typical figure of that cat that moves his hand as if he were waving. That cute feline so common in Asian restaurants is nothing more nor less than the popular Maneki Neko, an amulet that according to Japanese beliefs "calls good fortune" attracting new customers to business. Let's see below their meanings and their origin.


Maneki Neko literally means "The flame cat", and it is a figure of a cat that has one of its legs raised, with which it "calls" or "invites" the clients and the opportune visits. In his figures he is almost always depicted with a necklace that has a rattle that drives away evil spirits, and also on his right leg almost always has an old Japanese currency called "Koban", which is believed to attract wealth.

Depending on their colors and the leg they lift, their meaning is completely different. For example, it is believed that if the Maneki Neko raises its right leg it attracts prosperity and wealth. However, if the leg it raises is the left, that means it attracts timely visits and customers. But if it has both legs raised it means that it attracts everything good for home and finances. On the other hand, it is believed that the higher the leg of the Maneki Neko goes, it will attract more customers from faraway places.

Not all are the same color, and each color has a particular meaning. For example, if it is white, it means that it attracts customers and good people to your life, and if it is golden it means that it attracts good fortune in abundance. If it is black, it is said to be a great amulet against the bad energies of the business and the home, and if it is red, it moves away the diseases. Those who are green give good luck in studies and exams, and it is believed that the pink ones attract the ideal couple. On the other hand, if it is blue it is believed that it gives protection and security.


In the West there are many people who still believe that the Maneki Neko is a figure from China, since the Chinese also tend to have this amulet in their business. But that is totally wrong, since this lucky figure emerged in Japan during the Edo period. There are several stories about how Maneki Neko originated, and among them the most popular one is about the cat of a very poor monk, who saved the life of an important feudal lord of the Tokugawa shogunate.

The story goes that during a stormy night, a rich feudal lord was sheltering under a tree that was very close to the Goutokuji temple. At one point, the feudal lord sees a cat lean out from that temple, and begins to beckon him with his paw to get out of there. Following these signs, the feudal lord walked towards the door of the temple, where the cat was, and a few moments later a strong beam struck on that tree where he was taking refuge before.

If he had not been warned by the signals of that cat, he would have lost his life instantly. That is why in gratitude to the nice animal that alerted him during the storm, this feudal lord gave an important donation to the Goutokuji temple, and struck up a very strong friendship with the monk of this temple, who was the owner of the cat, whose name was "Tama" When the cat died, his remains were buried in this temple and in his honor he became the first figure of Maneki Neko. It was a huge statue of a cat with its leg raised as if it were calling or inviting to enter, and later its smaller versions began to be sold as good luck charms.

Of course, this temple exists and is in Tokyo, in the neighborhood of Setagaya. A very quiet area away from the bustle of the city. Tourists call it "The Temple of the Cats", since inside it there are several altars full of Maneki Neko figures of all sizes. Undoubtedly a destination that is worth visiting if you walk around Tokyo, and even more if you want to see where this traditional Japanese amulet originated.

What do you think of the Maneki Neko story? Would you like to visit the temple of cats?


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OlgaLifeLover Miauw
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Justin Nice
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soncee Nice
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MegyBella Nice
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Lorso I now this figurine! Great work!
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Violeta Great article
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Laboresmely Que monada 😍
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TammyWhite A que si @Laboresmely

It's my Xmas gif @Lorso. I open the sakura box to take the pic
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Melsdename Great article
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dorageorg So nice!
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Ravidxb so niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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