Maneki Neko

maneki-neko

- Maneki Neko Collection -

Have you ever seen a Maneki Neko? ­čÉ▒

In English, they are also called "Lucky Cats" because they are used as a kind of talisman or lucky charm. These whimsical cat figures have become one of Japan's best-known symbols.

The name "mankei neko" can be traced back to the cat's inviting paw, as the literal translation is "waving cat".

Lucky cats are usually made of ceramic, but they can also be made of all kinds of materials - from wood or plastic to luxurious lucky cats made of jade or gold. Even in modern times, maneki neko are still widespread in Japan.

It is not uncommon to see the statues in shrines or as decoration. You can also find their slowly waving mechanical paws welcoming you to restaurants, pachinko parlours and other places around the country.

 

6 Different Maneki Neko Colors

 

The Maneki Neko comes in several colors, each with its own meaning.

Three-colored Maneki Neko

The most common is the tricolor cat. It is said that the tricolor Maneki Neko brings good luck to its owner.

White Maneki Neko

The White Maneki Neko, is supposed to bring happiness and calmness to its owner.

Gold Maneki Neko

If you get a gold Maneki Neko, it shall bring you great wealth.

Red Maneki Neko

The red Maneki Neko cat keeps illness away, especially for children. 

Pink Maneki Neko

It is ideal for those who have a sense of romance because this cat is supposed to bring love into your life and strengthen a relation.

Green Maneki Neko

The green Maneki Neko should probably be given out during the first week of college as it is supposed to bring prosperity to your studies.

Black Maneki Neko

Perhaps the most fascinating of all the colors is the black Maneki Neko. While black cats in Western culture are considered a symbol of bad luck, the black Maneki Neko figurine is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Maneki Neko Origins

When trying to determine the exact origins of the Maneki Neko, one can only conclude that its birthplace is uncertain.

There is some debate as to whether the cats were originally created in Tokyo or Osaka, although it is generally agreed that they were first seen sometime in the late Edo period.

Uncertainty about the history of maneki neko has led to a few different legends explaining their beginnings.

Maneki neko have also appeared in various forms in popular culture. The cats have been found in literature, anime and even video games.

These cats have become ubiquitous, appearing on almost every continent. Maneki neko have become a favourite among fans of Japanese culture, as well as those interested in good luck charms.

They can be found nestled among trinkets in Asian specialty shops or as decorations at Japanese festivals around the world.

Most cats usually have a decoration around their neck: a collar, a bib and a bell.

These items are most likely an imitation of what was the usual clothing for cats in wealthy households during the Edo period.

The small bells were attached for decoration and to keep track of the cat's whereabouts.

Many cats are depicted holding a coin, usually a gold coin called a koban, which was used during the Edo period in Japan.

One koban was worth one ryo, another early Japanese monetary unit.

Although the koban held by most maneki-neko is said to be worth ten million ryo. The coin obviously refers to the cat's role in bringing luck and wealth.