These unusual Maneki Neko with laughing open mouths caught the eye of photographer James Kemlo in a craft shop in Atami on the Izu peninsula, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. The Lucky Cats hold fans, swords, umbrellas and fish, rather than the usual gold coin. Instead of sitting straight up in the standard beckoning cat pose, they lounge around, looking quite casual and joyous. Perhaps their wide, laughing mouths give them extra beckoning power –like they’re having a party you’re welcome to join. The three Lucky Cats in the store window display were each a different color – one blue, one white, and one red (a change from the more common white or black). Each one is hand-made individually by a local craftsperson from clay and kiln-fired.
For more of James Kemlo’s photos of Japan, check out his Views of Japan blog. You can also find him on Twitter @JapanPhotos.