Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maneki Neko

A long time ago one of my pen pals from Japan sent me a Maneki Neko figurine. That would be the one with the yellow eyes on the left of this picture. I love cats, so this was a fun addition to my collection of cat figurines. Later on, I found the one in the ceramic basket at a yard sale. I think I bought it for a quarter. It says Japan on the bottom, but I have no idea where it was originally purchased. The little tiny one was given to my by my sister-in-law and the biggest one I bought at a Barnes & Noble bookstore here in Montana. These four are all I have in my collection.

Maneki Neko means Beckoning Cat, but is also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, or Fortune Cat. It's common in Japanese art design and you've probably seen these cats at some point. The cat is probably a Japanese bobtail and is usually sculpted with one paw up in the air. Everything on these figures has some sort of symbol or meaning. If the left paw is raised, it is believed to help bring in customers. You might have seen these cats in restaurants or gift shops. If the right paw is raised, it is believed to bring wealth and good luck. The collar, bib, and bell all have meanings too. Click on the click above if you'd like to learn more.

Anyway, since my last post was pretty depressing, I wanted to write about something a little more pleasant. As I said, I only have four Maneki Neko figures in my collection right now. I keep them in my china cabinet along with a slew of other knick-knacks. I don't come across these little figures too often, especially in Montana.

Does anyone else have a Maneki Neko figurine?


  1. Hi Rena, when you have a moment, check out my K post under Kids. :o))

  2. I was reading WOOL N' NUTS when I saw your question. My dream is one day going to New Zealand, and my incomplete research tells me sodas are called "fizzies."

    Thought I'd try to help. I was an English teacher in another life, and it's a habit.

    Come check out my blog, WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS, if you're of a mind and inclination. As a courtesy only I am providing a link :

    Have a healing tomorrow, Roland

  3. Thanks, Roland. Fizzies, huh? That's a neat one.

  4. Montana's an awesome state. Been there a few times. Missoula, Butte, The Great Divide. I've got to get back someday. Love the picture of the goat. Or is it a ram?

    Stephen Tremp

  5. Are they the same cats I've seen in markets that actually wave?

    I've just awarded you the "Beautiul Blogger Award" Rena. Details on my blog.

  6. Sweet. They look familiar. I must have seen one, but who knows where or when.

  7. Stephen -- Yes, it's a mountain goat. Ironically, it were the mountain goats of Glacier National Park (about an hour from here) that inspired me to start writing for children. So, because of that, they hold a special fondness for me.

    Kate -- Yes, I've read that some are mechanical and actually wave their paws up and down. I'll have to check out your blog. Thank you!

  8. Our friend from Japan who has gifted us several calls them "Calling Cats." You're supposed to face them towards your main entrance of your house to bring in good luck and fortune. Of course we do that!

  9. Oh, I had one of those in college! That brings me back :)
    Nice to meet you btw, I found your blog via Hilary Wagner's blogsharing post today!

  10. Thanks, Lydia! I've had a lot of fun checking out the bloggers from Hilary's post today! :)

  11. In answer to your question, no I don't have one, but I want one now. And I think if your cat has a Japan label on it, it could be quite expensive. Depends on what the label says though.

    Thanks for joining my fun over at Piedmont Writer. I'm joining yours too.

  12. Wow, I’ve always regarded whether maneki-neko was a Japanese people or Chinese
    phenomenon, shops in Singapore has a lot of them and many are exchanged in
    Chinatown, yet I’ve mainly regarded they were Japanese people. Otherwise, why
    would Arashi be promotion Japan with them? this cat keep the lucky phase
    of anything. So most of the people of Japan keep a moneki-neko cat in
    their home. I have also in my home and got it from PIJ.Very
    happy to get this.http://bit.ly/manekinekos