Maneki-Neko: The Story of the Happy Cat

culture story

What is actually behind it? Have you ever asked yourself that?

Many different stories and legends entwine around Maneki-Neko, the famous waving cat:

One day, the wealthy Prince Noatakai from Hikone was traveling near Tokyo when a severe storm hit. He found shelter under a tree, very close to a temple. A poor priest lived in the simple temple with his faithful cat "Tama". Tama was a three-colored cat. Tricolor cats are known as lucky cats in Japan and are also considered lucky charms. A genetic defect means that they have red, black and white patches of fur in some places.
When the storm became heavier and the prince was in need, he saw Tama sitting at the entrance door of the temple. Tama moved her paws in an inviting gesture and she waved him inside. The prince accepted this invitation and suddenly lightning struck the once saving tree. So the cat had saved the prince from great harm. Thereupon the prince gave presents to the poor priest and became a friend of the temple. From then on, the temple was littered with prosperity and luck and the waving cat became a symbol of luck. When Tama died, she was buried with full honors and the legend was born. In Japan, the Gotokuji Temple was built in Tokyo in honor of Maneki Neko.


The color of the cat has the following meaning:
White stands for purity and innocence, black wards off demons, red strengthens love and gold provides wealth. If the cat waves to the left, it is a symbol of happiness for attracting a large number of customers and business success. If the cat is waving to the right, this should bring happiness and wealth. Often there is also a gold coin called a koban in the right paw. Some designs also wave with both paws to attract guests and happiness. In Japan this gesture is seen as exaggerated and is frowned upon.


In many cases the waving cat can also be seen as a Japanese coin, called a Koban. Japanese characters can often be found on the coin, e.g. stand for 10 million ryo (ryo stands for one monetary unit). In a figurative sense, it means that you promise yourself or the recipient with the lucky charm "an excess of money".

High-quality waving cats like ours are made of ceramic or porcelain. In addition, there is a money slot on the back to continue to accumulate the "wealth" ;-)

You can find many more exciting gift ideas here.


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