Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » Travel Culture

The Origin Story Behind The Japanese Waving Cat, Plus Other Interesting Facts

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Aug 01, 2018 09:45 PM EDT

Text Size: A A A

fKnown by many names such as the lucky cat, the waving cat, or the beckoning cat, the Maneki Neko can be seen across the world.

While many people attribute the adorable cat to Chinese business establishments, its origins can be traced back to Japan. Now, the talisman can be found everywhere in Japanese homes and shops, having just one or both paws raised.

Although it looks like a waving cat as its paw goes up and down, its action carries a different meaning. It believed that when it raises its right paw, it is to protect the home, and when the left one is raised, it is to call for business success.

There are still debates on the city that holds claim to the talisman, but its most persistent legend is the one which involves Gotokuji in Setagaya district, Tokyo. The place even has its own amazing temple dedicated to the cute feline.

Origin Of The Maneki Neko

Situated in a peaceful neighborhood is the Gotokuji temple where tons of smiling felines can be seen. The place is a must-visiting when going to Japan. The local legend states that when the temple was only a little hut back in the 1400s, at the beginning of the Edo period, the monk who took care of it had troubles in making ends meet because of his little income.
However, the poor monk has a cat whom he loved so much. He even shared his food with his pet. One day, he asked his cat to bring good fortune to him. After a short time, a number of samurais arrived in his hut during a rainstorm and said that the cat waved to them from the road.

The monk served tea to the samurais and because of this, they were very delighted. One of the samurais, Naotaka Li, introduced himself as the lord of Hikone, in the Koshu prefecture. The lord then donated rice fields and crop lands to the temple, therefore making it the great landmark that it is today. Years later, when the cat passed away, it was enshrined as an incarnation of a god named Shobyo Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and a statue was built on the area for the cat.

Gotokuji Temple

Now, visitors of the temple leave the talisman as a symbol of gratitude for all their granted wishes. The uniform maneki-nekos are arranged to form a veritable army, whose numbers are now up by thousands.
More tailed charms are even available for guests to buy at the temple with sizes ranging from 3 centimeters to a foot tall to leave as an offering or to take to the visitor's home or business establishment. The Maneki Neko can also be found in a wide variety of comics, games, and books. For example, the Pokémon Meowth was based on this cute kitty.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
japan, legend, cat
© 2023 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Most Popular

6 Tips For Traveling With Young Children

6 Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Planning for a trip takes some time, even if it's just you g

How Traveling Can Make You Happy

How Traveling Can Make You Happy

If you have never traveled before but are thinking of doing so then

Scottish Islands: The Best Places to Reside!

Scottish Islands: The Best Places to Reside!

So there are a few islands that can be found off the Sco

How to Plan a Multi-Destination Honeymoon During COVID

How to Plan a Multi-Destination Honeymoon During COVID

You need to know how to plan appropriately and

7 Tips for Amazing Campus Visits

7 Tips for Amazing Campus Visits

A campus visit's significance could not be overstated. After all, fo

4 Tips For Curating The Perfect Gallery Wall

4 Tips For Curating The Perfect Gallery Wall

Having a gallery wall brings plenty of benefits to your

Water Travel Options That Don’t Involve a Cruise

Water Travel Options That Don’t Involve a Cruise

There is something equally relaxing and invigorati

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Things That Will Help Cost-Conscious Vacationers Save Money

There are several ways you can significan

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

How to Make Vet Visits Affordable in 2022

If the situation is minor, you might be lucky and get away

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels

Know Your Florida Driving Rules

There is so much to do in the region, but we want to focus on some of

Photo by Ging Ang from Pexels

Holidaying in your own Country: Try these Fun Trips!

Many countries are opening their borders, but if

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative from Pexels

The Best Tech Tools for Expats

Here’s a quick look at most versatile tech tools for expats on the m

Photo by Tobi from Pexels

How to Turn a Road Trip Into A Luxury Adventure

But a road trip doesn’t have to mean living on the

Australian Citizenship Test: Everything You Need to Know

Australian Citizenship Test: Everything You Need to Know

Do you want to become a citizen of Australia

Hair transplant Istanbul: Why is it so popular?

Hair Transplant Istanbul: Why is it so Popular?

Getting a hair transplant in Istanbul is affordable i

What’s Going on with Rental Cars Right Now?

What’s Going on with Rental Cars Right Now?

They are incredibly expensive, and they’re also in sh

Role of Professional companies in International Trade

Role of Professional companies in International Trade

International trade holds great importance in a

The 5 Best Wines from Germany

The 5 Best Wines from Germany

Riesling is Germany’s best-known wine, but the country makes other fi

Here's Why You Should Go Camping On Weekends

Here's Why You Should Go Camping On Weekends

There is nothing like the great outdoors –– nature

The Best Tote Bags To Travel With in 2022

The Best Tote Bags To Travel With in 2022

Who knew you could pack your entire life away into one litt

7 Captivating Attractions for Kids in San Diego

7 Captivating Attractions for Kids in San Diego

San Diego is a magnificent place, and it would not be

travelers today

© 2023 TRAVELERS TODAY All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics