The Maneki Neko, Japanese lucky cat 招き猫

The lucky Japanese cat from Japan

With a stoic or laughing air, a malicious cat invites you, with a sign of the paw, to enter such a shop or a restaurant. This iconic feline of Japanese storefronts is none other than the maneki-neko , an essential lucky charm supposed to bring luck and wealth.

In Japanese popular culture, maneki-neko comes in the form of a piggy bank, socks, patterns for noren (Japanese curtains), and other items. This cheerful looking little cat is everywhere. But where does this fascination come from and what are the benefits of this charming statuette?

In Japan, Cats Are Honored

The maneki-neko enjoys such popularity that the Japanese have dedicated a day to it, that of September 29. It is also said that he would have inspired many authors of manga, novels or creators of characters. If you have kids, they'll definitely love this lucky cat and its multiple derivatives.

More broadly, the cat is a cherished animal in Japan. It is therefore naturally celebrated on February 22 of each year, during Neko no hi.

maneki neko

Dans la culture populaire japonaise, le maneki-neko, littéralement "le chat qui invite", est un porte-bonheur.

Bong Grit

Why a cat with one or two paws in the air?

Maneki comes from the verb maneku , which means "to invite" or "to greet", and neko means "cat". The maneki-neko is therefore literally a "cat that invites" . With his left paw raised, he invites customers, while with his right, he invites fortune and luck to come to him. At least, in the most widespread belief, because there is also a contrary version ! Nevertheless, the most effective lucky charm would be the two -legged maneki-neko : it would bring good luck and good luck to both business and home.

This paw (s) in the air, palm facing forward and fingers folded inward describes the gesture that Japanese people make when they call someone in a familiar way (most often a child or an animal). It is therefore natural that this lucky cat holds its raised paw.

It is also believed that the higher the cat lifts its paw, the more it attracts fortune . This is how over the centuries, the maneki-neko have raised their paws higher and higher!


Maneki neko - - Artisanat "Seto sometsuke-yaki"

Maneki neko - - Artisanat "Seto sometsuke-yaki"

Espace Densan

The Other Attributes Of Maneki-Neko

Symbol of fortune , this cat carefully keeps a gold coin or koban in one of its paws. He most often wears a red ribbon around his neck which holds a bell , like those worn by cats from wealthy families. Sometimes the collar is associated with a red bib.

Most maneki-neko are porcelain or ceramic and more recently plastic. Some, made of plastic, are powered by a battery and their erect paws keep calling customers.

Le plus puissant des maneki-neko : le chat tricolore aux deux pattes levées

Le plus puissant des maneki-neko : le chat tricolore aux deux pattes levées





Latest Articles

Red spider lily: How to grow and care for this enchanting fall-blooming bulb

The red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) is a striking fall-blooming bulb known for its vivid red flowers that seem to appear magically on bare stalks.

Japan Visitor - manyoshu20195.jpg

The Manyoshu: Japan's oldest and most renowned poetry anthology

The Manyoshu, meaning "Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves", is the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry.

Japan Visitor - mask20192.jpg

Unmasking the Mystique and Allure of Traditional Japanese Masks

Masks have been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries, dating back to at least the 6th century.

See All (368)