046 – Maneki-neko

Maneki-neko is Japanese for “beckoning cat” and they are commonly found all over Japan and China in various sizes and colors.  They are believed to bring good luck to their owner.

This one was given to me by a shop-keeper after I bought some gifts as I was departing Japan.  I think it’s better to receive them as gifts then to buy one for yourself, so I was thrilled to receive one.

From my research into these good luck charms, I could find no correlation between the size of the figure and the amount of good luck it can bring.  So, I’m going to assume this small one will do just fine.

Apparently, the origin story is not well known and I found three different accounts for how and when the figures became so popular and believed to be lucky.

I did learn that the paw up in this way mimics the Japanese hand gesture for beckoning which looks more like how we, in the West, would gesture good bye.

Didn’t know that.  Thanks internets!

Also, which paw is up can mean different things and sometimes both paws are up.   Just to cover my bases, I’ve flipped the image here.

So I have both 🙂


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