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|A History of the Maneki Neko
or Beckoning Cat (Lucky Cats)
From long ago, stories have been told about the "lucky cat" who holds up either its right or left paw, facing outward in the Japanese manner.
|Left Paw = inviting customers to a business
Right Paw = inviting wealth and prosperity
White = inviting happiness
Yellow or Gold = beckoning prosperity
Black = beckoning good health
Originally, there was only White Cat tradition. Now the cats are also found in other colors. Other colors, including Red and Purple, are relatively new and may be influenced by Chinese traditions. These colors seem to invite an even larger amount of wealth, health, and prosperity than the originals.
Maneki Neko - The Legend (from actioncat.com )
In the 17th century, there was a rundown and poverty-stricken temple in Tokyo. The temple's priest was very poor, but he shared what little food he had with his pet cat, Tama.
One day, a wealthy and important man was caught in a storm while hunting and he took refuge under a big tree near the temple. While he waited for the storm to pass, the man noticed a cat beckoning him to come inside the temple gate. This was so startling that he left the shelter of the tree to have a closer look at this unusual cat. At that moment, the tree was struck by lighting.
As a result, the wealthy man became friends with the poor priest, and the temple became prosperous. The priest and his cat never went hungry again. When Tama died he was buried in the Goutokuji Temple's cat cemetery with respect and love, and the Maneki Neko was made in honor of him.
A Maneki Neko in your place of business, your home or on your website is said to bring in good luck and visitors. Maneki Neko is Japanese for "beckoning cat." The message he's holding says "Please come in. You are welcome!" and he is beckoning you with his paw . (In Japan, the gesture of beckoning is pretty much the reverse of the gesture used in the West.)
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