The statues that grace this page are
usually called "Fortune Cats", "Happy Cats", or "Beckoning
Cats". In Japan, the Beckoning Cat is called the Maneki-Neko.
This cat, long long ago, stood in the door of the Gotoku-ji temple and
raised her paw in the traditional Japanese beckoning gesture to a feudal
lord who was passing by. The feudal lord followed the cat into the
temple and instantly, a lightning bolt struck the place where the lord
had been standing. Thus the cat had saved his life. From then
on, the maneki-neko was considered an incarnation of the Goddess of Mercy.
The Gotoku-ji Temple now houses dozens of statues of this Cat, and owners
of lost or sick cats stick up prayer boards with the image of the Beckoning
Cat in this temple. In business the maneki-neko is said to bring
success. This is because her raised paw beckons in customers. It also welcomes
in personal happiness and harmony. A black Beckoning Cat brings health,
while a gold one, which is quite rare, brings in riches.
Beckoning Cats are often sold as coin banks and in your house they are supposed to beckon in good friends.
Welcome, Kon'nichi Wa!