Welcome to the Lucky Cat – Maneki Neko blog!

8 Apr

If you’re reading this, you may already be a fan of the friendly-looking cat statue with the raised paw, or you may have noticed the cat at the entrance to Chinese and Japanese restaurants and wondered about it. Some people call it the “Chinese Lucky Cat,” but it actually got its start in Japan, where it is known as “Maneki Neko” (beckoning cat).

To Westerners, the cat’s upraised paw may appear to be waving, but in Japan a raised hand with the palm facing forward and the fingers folding up and down is a beckoning (“come here”) gesture (in contrast, people in North America  beckon with the back of the hand facing forward). A raised left paw is generally thought to beckon good luck and wealth, while a raised right paw beckons costumers (and perhaps friends). As with anything based on folk traditions, there are variations. For example, some people say the left paw up is for money, while the right paw is for good luck. Others say the left paw is for good fortune, the right for health. Some say the left paw up is for bars and tea houses (in Japan, someone who holds his liquor well is said to be left-handed), while the right is for other businesses.

There are also many variations of the story of the first Maneki Neko. We’ll bring you the most famous one in our next post.

7 Responses to “Welcome to the Lucky Cat – Maneki Neko blog!”

  1. Bob Steinberg May 13, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    Where can I find the Lucky cat figurine that is holding up a plate and a bottle, like the one on the current Red Robin menu?

    • Lucky Cat - Maneki Neko May 14, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

      Red Robin may have had the cat specially made to promote their new Ramen Burger. You could try asking your local Red Robin (maybe they could order one in for you, or you can purchase theirs once the promotion is finished). If I find it available through another source, I’ll leave an update.

    • Lucky Cat - Maneki Neko May 15, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      Update: one of our Facebook readers (who is a maneki neko collector) looked into the Red Robin lucky cat and apparently it is totally computer generated (sorry!)

  2. sharon mcmerrell 814 n wooster ave apt11 straburg ohio44680 December 26, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    where can i buy one

  3. Joe March 28, 2021 at 9:29 pm #

    Looks like no activity for years, but here goes….
    I’m trying (now, desperately) to find out:
    1) what are the items unique to *Chinese* Lucky Cats — *especially Hong Kong versions*, if uniquely Hong Kong versions exist?
    2) if uniquely Hong Kong versions exist, where can they be purchased in Hong Kong?

    • Lucky Cat - Maneki Neko March 29, 2021 at 10:40 am #

      Sorry, I don’t know if there are specific unique characteristics of Hong Kong Lucky Cats, or where to buy them in Hong Kong. My general observation is that Chinese Lucky Cats (particularly those made for businesses) are often gold and a little boxier in shape than Japanese Lucky Cats (with what seems like less attention to detail). However, there may be readers who can give you a better idea. I would suggest checking stores that sell small home decorative items for local or Chinese customers.

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