If you have ever visited a Japanese arcade, gastropub, or underground mall, you have probably noticed a waving cat figurine quietly perched in the window. This Maneki Neko, or beckoning cat ( 招き猫), attracts wealth and prosperity. When its left paw is raised, the Maneki Neko brings in customers. A raised right arm invites in good luck and money. Higher paws draw in extra luck, while shorter paws bring in faster luck.
To double your good fortune, some Maneki Nekos have had both paws raised in a banzai pose. Banzai (万歳 ) is a Japanese cheer that means "live long" or "10,000 years". But the traditional Japanese exclamation can also mean bankruptcy or surrender. That is why banzai Maneki Nekos are often considered unlucky.
Are you feeling down on your luck? Need a powerful good luck charm for the cat lover in your life? From traditional to kawaii, here are 10 Maneki Neko gifts that will turn the wheel of fate in your favor.
Maneki Neko Stud Earrings
Every day is a lucky day with these Maneki Neko earrings. With a gold tone finish, these white beckoning cat studs will bring you clarity, cleansing, and new beginnings.
Maneki Neko: The Tale of the Beckoning Cat
During the Edo period (江戸時代), a poor Buddhist monk befriends a tricolor Japanese bobtail. He calls her Tama, meaning “lucky” or “ball” in Japanese. They live a simple life at the Kotoku Monastery in Setagaya Mura (世田谷村), Tokyo.
When a powerful storm rips through the farming town, Tama is stuck under the eaves of a small shrine. A noble samurai named Ii Naotaka passes by on his horse. The white cat seems to be beckoning him while she cleans her face and whiskers, curling her paw. Curious, the daimyo urges his horse forward. Then a lightning bolt strikes the tree behind him and splits it in two. Because Tama saved the feudal warlord’s life, he shares his wealth with the monk. He also transforms the
Maneki Neko Flower Pot
This Maneki Neko flower pot is guaranteed to bless your green thumb. It features two calico beckoning cats riding a red and white koi. This giant carp is called a kōhaku (紅白) or "lipstick" fish. It represents career success and long-lasting romantic relationships.
Maneki Neko Piggy Bank
This porcelain Maneki Neko piggy bank is sure to elicit financial success. The tricolor beckoning cat has a good luck (or fu 福) bib, a red rope collar, and a golden bell. It also has let riches and treasures come in (or zhaocai jinbao, 招财进宝) on its arm and leg. This Maneki Neko is riding a red and gold carp that symbolizes luck, joy, and happiness. In Chinese mythology, the carp has the scales and whiskers of a dragon. When the carp is strong enough to leap over a waterfall, it becomes a weather-controlling dragon.
Japanese Nesting Doll Set
These hand-painted Japanese nesting dolls will let you hold luck in your hands. They are based on the Seven Gods of Fortune (shichifukujin, 七福神). Each layer has a special meaning.
The 1st doll features cherry blossoms or sakura. They represent the cycle of reincarnation.
The 2nd and 3rd nesting dolls are a geisha and her Maneki Neko. According to Japanese legend, a daimyo beheaded the geisha's cat because it would not stop pulling on her robes. Then its severed head attacked a snake poised to kill the feudal lord's honored guests. In remorse, the nobleman created a waving lucky cat statue for the geisha. He also put it in the southeastern corner of his house.
The 4th nesting doll features a chrysanthemum or kiku. As the national flower of Japan, it symbolizes the sun and immortality. The 5th nesting doll highlights the Japanese flag.
3D Wooden Maneki Neko Puzzle
This 3D waving lucky cat puzzle will help all the pieces of your life fit together. The 3.72-by-4.47-inch figurine has a red collar, gold bell, and fan that says "thousands of dollars." Paint this 27-piece puzzle pink (ピンク) to attract love and romance or blue (青) to create more opportunities for peace, happiness, and harmony.
Limited-Edition Waving Lucky Cat Notebook
Start a straight A streak with this limited-edition beckoning cat notebook. Made from moleskin, it comes with a Maneki Neko bookmark and stickers. The 240-page journal also has a red (赤) placeholder ribbon and "in case of loss" on its front flyleaf.
Japanese Waving Lucky Cat T-Shirt
Strike it lucky in this Maneki Neko t-shirt. It is available in three fit types and 10 modern colors, including baby blue. This yellow (黄色) beckoning cat also holds an oval-shaped gold coin called a koban (小判). The text on the gold coin reads "sen man ryō" (千万両) or 10,000,000 ryō. Ryō coins were used during the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867). One ryō was equal to 225 pounds of rice.
Waving Lucky Cat Ceramic Tea Pot
Banish bad luck with this waving lucky cat tea set. The calico Maneki Neko teapot holds 10 ounces. It also contains a stainless steel tea infuser, making it easy to brew loose tea leaves. The black and white beckoning cat tea cups are four ounces. They also feature classic Japanese motifs like a giant blue wave, a pink koi, and a daruma doll.
Waving Lucky Cat Chopstick Rest
In Japan, they eat fermented soybeans, nameko mushrooms, mozuku seaweed, okra, mountain yams, and raw eggs for good luck. These slimy, sticky dishes are called neba-neba (ねばねば). When you lift them with chopsticks, they stick together and leave a trail. Use these ceramic tri-colored Maneki Neko chopstick holders to multiply your luck.