7 Attractive Points of Lucky Cats in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

7 Attractive Points of Lucky Cats in Japan

By Yae Apr 14, 2018

This post is also available in: Italian

If you’re living in Japan or have spent time in Japan as a tourist, walking around the streets and eating food at the restaurants, have you ever seen the ornament of cat standing with raising its right hand or left hand or both hands up?
We call this ornament as “Manekineko” in Japanese and we’re going to show you what this lovely cat stands for.
By the end of reading this article, you may want to get one for yourself and you will see what they mean for Japanese people.


1. Is there Any Meaning for Left Hand Raised Manekineko?

If you look carefully of Manekineko, you would realize that each Manekineko raise different hands. What’s the meaning if Manekineko raise the left hand?
Manekineko raising their left hand are female cats and considered a lucky charm for inviting many good customers. This Manekineko is popular for those who are running business like restaurants or shops which needs full of customers continuously.

If you have the chance to stop by any restaurants, ramen shops, beauty shops, bars, izakaya or any shops that require customers, try to look around inside. You may find the cute left hand raising Manekineko by chance.


2. Any Meaning for Right Hand Raised Manekineko?

How about Manekineko raising their right hand? Manekineko raising their right hands are male cats and considered a lucky charm for the economic fortune and success for running business. This Manekineko is popular for anyone who want economic fortune.
You can find right hand raising Manekineko at Japanese peoples’ homes and restaurants wishing for prosperous business.
If you want to invite money, its better to have one Manekineko with their right hand raising. The raised right hand is a means to inviting much more money.


3. Is there Any Meaning for Both Hands Raised Manekineko?

What about Manekineko with both right and left hands raised? This means this lucky cat will invite both good customers and money simultaneously. If the Manekineko is raising its hands higher than its ears, this means you can get the unaffordable wish of a big dream. On the other hand, if Manekineko is raising both hands under it’s ears, this means you can get the happiness near at hand.
However, some Japanese people believe it is too greedy to wish for both good customers and money and Manekineko with both hands raised actually means the cat is saying,


“I’m in over my head. Sorry, I can’t handle both wishes.”


4. Different Color Manekineko for Different Good Luck

When the first Manekineko was created in Japan, their basic color was either white or black but now we have a different color variety of Manekineko because Japanese people love feng shui. Here are the 9 different color meanings such as follows:

・White Manekineko stand for general good luck.
・Black Manekineko stand for protective charm or safety of your families.
・Gold Manekineko stand for inviting a great fortune.
・Red Manekineko stand for a long healthy life.
・Pink Manekineko stand for success in romance.
・Yellow Manekineko stand for success in marriage.
・Blue Manekineko stand for good luck in academic ability.
・Green Manekineko stand for good traffic safety.
・Leopard Manekineko stand for a high cast in votes.


5. Why Japanese People Created Manekineko?

Do you have any idea why Japanese people have created Manekineko and what was the start? It all started from Edo Period (the year of 1603-1868) and Mr. Naotaka Ii was walking along the Gotoku Temple (Setagaya area in Tokyo city) and he suddenly saw a cat raising her hand as if she was welcoming him to the Gotoku Temple. Somehow, he decided to stop by that temple to take a rest for a while. After that, a thunderstorm came, and he realized that because he took refuge in the temple, he didn’t get wet, and it was all thanks to the cat.

According to this fortunate event, Japanese people started to believe that the cats with raised hands give people good luck. This is how Manekineko was created in Japan.


6. Manekineko Holding a Gold Coin

If you look the Manekineko carefully, you can see the lucky cat is holding Japanese oval gold coin. However, the basic Manekineko wasn’t holding anything, only was wearing a bell.
Manekineko started to carry the Japanese oval gold coin from the year 1945 in Japan. The interesting thing is that the level of gold coin has changed such as follows:

・1,000 ryou ( about 50,000 yen for current value)
・10,000 ryou (about one hundred million yen for current value)

The price is getting higher over time and people say this means many people are getting greedy.The more money people make, the greedier they become. It makes sense, right?


7. September 29th is the Date for Manekineko

Do you know that there is a date for Manekineko in Japan?
That special day is always on September 29th every year in Japan and the number of 9 can read as “Come” and the number of 29 can read as “Good fortune” as well.
This date was created by game of making puns in Japan, but through this you can see how important the Manekineko is for Japanese people.

Do you now see why there are so many Manekineko everywhere in Japan and why many Japanese people keep them, and they treasure Manekineko so much?
Do you wish for something now? Why not find your own lucky cat Manekineko in Japan and display it at your home? You can find Manekineko everywhere, but they are quite popular in shops at Asakusa or Kamakura. The money boxes of Manekineko is stereotypical in Japan.

If you can dream it, you can do it! Find your own lucky cat Manekineko in Japan!