Maneki Neko Bannière

The Maneki Neko for Good Fortune: A Cat Design

02/18/2020 0 By teeartdepartment

Whether you have already been to East Asia, or even only in an Asian restaurant or shop, you have more than certainly already come across a maneki-neko, even without knowing that it is called this way. What is a Maneki-neko and its meaning?

Knowledge

Maneki-neko are cat-like statues, animated or not, which other have an arm raised or actually wave it up and down. They are commonly considered as bringing luck to their owner. While they were traditionally made of ceramic or similar material, they can sees be found in plastic as well.

Meaning

The term “maneki-neko” comes from the verb “maneku” which means “to invite” and the word “neko” which is the Japanese word for cat. Maneki-neko can therefore be translated by “invited cat”. And indeed, its gesture of rising is considered as a welcoming gesture (on the contrary of the western world where waving an arm is more a synonym of goodbye). The Cat statue usually wave one paw or the other (very rarely both at the same time). Whether it is the right one or the left one, there is a different meaning: the left paw is for bringing fortune or clients to a business; the right paw can attract money or happiness. The meaning can vary depending on the area and the time.

Also, Maneki-nekos can come in different colors. The most common one you can encounter is calico (little black and red sports). The second most popular is all white. Less frequently they can be found in black (to repel evil spirits), red (for good health) or gold (for wealth).

Maneki-neko in History and Culture

History

The first records of the statue are from the Meji era (around 1870), but their existence could be much older than that.

Culture

Maneki-nekos are celebrated on September 29th in Japan, and more especially the Okage Yoko-cho at Ise. You can however see some of them all year long in the Gotoku-ji temple. Located in Setagaya, in the western area of Tokyo, the temple presents several thousands of maneki-nekos in a specific spot. These are brought here by people whose wish has been fulfilled.

Legend

One of the legends about the origin of maneki-neko goes like this: during the Edo ero, a lord was walking by the temple. A storm was getting close by and a cat invited himto take shelter in the temple. Once the lord got inside, the tree under which he had previously been standing got struck by a lightning.

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