Japan Maneki-Neko Good Luck Charm

History Of The Maneki-Neko Good Luck Charm

The Maneki-neko good luck charm is believed to have been first created in Tokyo, however some believe that it originates from Kyoto. It’s rich history stems from over 150 years ago, to the time of the Edo era. The first mention of this lucky charm can be found in a chronology of the era which dates back to 1852. This is also the same year that a famous painting by artist Hiroshige displayed a version of the charm, then known as Marushime-Neko, which was for sale in a Tokyo temple. When the Meiji period arrived, the charm was spoken about in a newspaper, and by 1902 there were charms for sale in most of Japan as they became vastly popular.

Why The Maneki-Neko Charm Brings Luck

Folklore from Japan states that the Maneki-Neko is a lucky talisman, bringing good fortune to the owner. They can either have the left, right, or both paws raised. The left one is said to increase business in your shop or workplace, whilst the right one is purely for bringing in more money to the home. The white color is related to good luck, whereas a black cat can rid the area of evil spirits. Usually they have some red or gold in their coloration too, red being a lucky color in Japan.

How To Use The Maneki-Neko Charm

To use the charm, simply place it in your shop, beside your bed, or take it into exams with you for success. Salons and laundry shops in particular all over Japan display these charms.

How The Maneki-Neko Charm Is Made

In antiques of this charm, they can be made from iron, wood, metals, stone or even from porcelain. Nowadays they are often made with plastic or ceramic. Some of them even contain a small motor or spring which allow the paw to move back and forth, beckoning good luck.

How To Make The Maneki-Neko Charm At Home

These charms are widely available on the internet to buy, but you can make your own at home with some air-drying clay. Simply mold it into the form of a short and stumpy cat with one arm raised, leave to dry, then paint with your favorite colors, although white is the most traditional. If you want to be extra creative, you can try making the waving arm separately, then attaching it to the completed cat with a spring before the whole piece dries – so that it wobbles when touched.

Interesting And Fun Facts About The Maneki-Neko Charm

  • Maneki-Neko means ‘beckoning cat’ in traditional Japanese
  • The Pokémon called Meowth is fashioned after this lucky charm
  • It is very popular in Chinatowns, and is often called the Chinese Lucky Cat, but it is in fact fully Japanese in origin
  • The cat often modelled is a Calico – a common Japanese Bobtail
  • A pink Maneki-Niko is to bring luck in love, whereas a yellow one is for wealth