The Red Cat in Japanese Stores? Maneki-Neko

Learn Japanese through Japanese culture: Maneki-Neko

What is Maneki-Neko?

 

There are several tales regarding the origin of Maneki-Neko (招き猫尾). Some believe that Maneki-Neko originated as a Chinese money cat, or that it came from Osaka or Edo. Some slushy stories also existed, “Once, a cat slashed a woman in kimono and got beheaded” or “A hungry cat was fed and the paw indicates gratefulness”.

The most well-known story is of the Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo. During a thunderstorm, the feudal lord once took shelter in the temple because a cat was beckoning at him. He felt grateful towards the cat, that later after it died, he made a huge donation. Now, if you visit the Gotokuji Temple, you can see the Maneki-Neko of all sizes and colors are being sold there.

Also, there are myths regarding paws. The rising right paws symbolize wealth, with the left paw symbolize attraction for customers.Finally, the more the paw is raised, the more prosperity it brings. Even with the uncertain origin, Maneki-Neko has an omnipresence in Japanese culture. Whether the myths regarding wealth are true or not, everyone loves the presence of it.

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