Perched on its hind legs, this unique cat stares straight ahead and raises one of its forelegs up high, as if it were beckoning you to approach it. The maneki neko cat figurine is believed to have first appeared in the Edo period (1603-1867), when it was placed in many shops to “invite” customers and good fortune into the store. Later, the figurines were made with a greater diversity of materials and in different sizes, finding their way into households as well, where they were believed to bring peace, safety, and stable work to the family. In many types of business all across Japan, maneki neko can be seen in the corner with their clever-looking faces, quietly working their magic. White cats act as charms to bring good luck, and black cats are believed to protect against evil. The figurines with the right arm raised are said to deliver money and fortune, while those holding their left arms up bring customers. There are many other beliefs surrounding these cats, yet perhaps the best way to select one is simply to choose the style you like best. The figurines make distinctive good-luck charms, and also are excellent presents for cat-lovers the world over.
Updated: December 25, 2019