For centuries in Japan, the tinkle of a wind chime has brought to mind the cooling sound of water on a hot summer day. Wind chimes (or wind bells) were originally brought from China to Japan around 400 BC. Buddhists hung them from the eaves of temples, pagodas and other religious buildings to attract beneficial spirits and drive away malevolent ones. Eventually they were adopted by the secular world, and people began to hang them in their homes and gardens for their pleasing sound and to call good luck. The wind chime below combines the good luck associated with a wind chime and the luck attracting power of Maneki Neko, the beckoning cat.
This Beckoning Cat wind chime comes from Tokoname, Aichi prefecture, near Nagoya. The head is a miniature of the giant Maneki Neko head that has become a civic symbol in Tokoname. The five yen coin (go ‘en), which is used to attach the body to the head, is also a good luck symbol or charm (a Japanese word for “fate” is pronounced “en” and “go en” means something like “fortunate/good fate”).
So, this wind chime combines three different good luck amulets (wind chime, Beckoning Cat, go ‘en coin) to bring the owner exceptional good fortune!
With thanks to Jean-Pierre Antonio, Suzuka International University