Maneki Neko (Maneke Neko, Lucky Cat)

This is Maneke Neko, the ubiquitous beckoning cat. She is used as a good luck charm, and is found in many homes and businesses throughout Japan, where she is expected to bring prosperity. Maneki comes in several colors; some of these have additional meanings- black Nekos protect against evil; red protects from spirits or illness. Modern versions come in a variety of colors- gold for money, pink for love, and so on.

There are various stories about the origin of Maneke Neko. The most popular tales involve a cat who belongs to a poor but generous Monk. In the story, the cat variously welcomes a wealthy man in from the rain, or saves his life; the grateful rich man bequeaths his fortune to the temple. Eventually, the cat dies, and the grateful monk creates the Maneki Neko as a memorial statue.

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November 29, 2009 at 3:05 am


Julian October 14, 2016 at 6:34 am

Just a heads up, it’s misspelt. It’s “Maneki-Neko” not “Maneke-Neko”. In the original Japanese it’s written 招き猫 – Notice the き (ki).

Jennifer November 13, 2016 at 4:34 am

You might notice i alternate spellings in the title an text; this is to aid people using search engines as in American pop culture both spellings are common. :)

Nana August 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Evil Signs are evil. I see this in Chinese restaurant

Joseph August 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm

The thing is, I went to China. Saw that in Silk Street market. The vendor said it did bring good luck, but he also said it had Chinese origins. So are you sure this is Japanese?

Julian October 14, 2016 at 6:37 am

It is orginally Japanese. Because of its novelty, it was adopted by China. Culturally similar or geographically proximate cultures adapt things from one another, like how English adapted french words into everyday use, like “rendezvous” or “touche”.

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