Translated by Shannon McNaught
Japanese Encyclopedia: Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat)
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
Learn all about the history behind "maneki-neko", or "beckoning cats".
Maneki-neko are cat-shaped figurines commonly seen in Japanese stores. They came to be called maneki-neko (or "beckoning cat") because they have one paw raised as if beckoning to someone.
When its right paw is raised, it beckons financial fortune. When its left paw is raised, it beckons people. Shop owners decorate their stores with them in hopes of keeping their business thriving.
Maneki-neko are made from all sorts of materials nowadays, but they were originally ceramic. That's why Aichi Prefecture, famous for their earthenware, is one of the remaining active producers of ceramic maneki-neko.
These charming figures aren't just for booming businesses; they're also popular as character goods and interior decorations. Maneki-neko design goods have become a staple souvenir for tourists in Japan.
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