“The ‘Chinese waving cat’ is well-known—visually, at least. This kitsch, often gold ornament is ubiquitous in Chinatowns and Asian stores around the world, but these cute little statues aren’t Chinese at all: They’re Japanese.
Named maneki-neko in Japanese (literally ‘beckoning cat’), the figurine—true to its name and contrary to popular belief—is not actually waving. In Japan, unlike in Western cultures, the way to beckon someone over to you is palm forward, fingers pointing down.
With a raised paw, pointy red ears, and coins and other accessories, maneki-neko have been bringing in luck and prosperity for centuries—and while the iconic statutes have varied origin stories, they all begin in Japan.”
The Fascinating History Behind the Popular ‘Waving Lucky Cat’
As tales often are, there are a few tales of how the maneki-neko first appeared and gained its status during the Edo period of Japan (17th to mid-19th century) as a lucky omen before spreading throughout Asia cultures where it can still be seen today.
- Likely the most popular origin story is that of the Gototkuji Temple. As legend has it, a local monk who took care of the temple used to take care of and share food with his cat Tama. One day Naotaka II, a wealthy man from Hikone Prefecture noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him after taking shelter from a storm by a temple under a tree. A short time after following the cat inside the temple, the tree he was previously standing under was struck by lightening. The man was so grateful to the cat that he took it upon himself to become the benefactor or the temple ushering it into a new age of prosperity. When finally the man passed away, the temple placed a statue of a cat to honor the man and the intertwined tale of the man and temples shared history. [1,2,3,4,7]
- A rather dark legend tells of a Geisha whose beloved pet cat was one day found clawing at her kimono. The brothel owner believing her cat was possessed took it upon himself to solve the problem by beheading it with his sword. By some strange coincidence, the now dismembered cat head flying through the air just so happened to land on a snake with fangs at the ready to strike the Geisha. Despite having her life saved, the Geisha was utterly distraught at the loss of her beloved cat. A customer in an attempt to cheer her up gifted the Geisha a cat statue which took on the symbolism of being a lucky cat. [2,5]
- One folktale tells the story of an impoverished shop owner who despite barely being able to feed himself took in a starving stray. As a show of gratitude for the man’s kindness, the cat began sitting in front of the shop beckoning customers with his paw. Thus, the idea that prosperity would come to those who enticed customers with a beckoning cat, especially small business owners, was born. [6,7]
- Another tale recounts the story of an elderly woman from Imado, who had no choice because of extreme poverty but to sell her cat. Shortly after, her cat appeared to her in a dream and told her by creating a clay replica in similar to the image of the cat, that good fortune would follow. Listening to this omen, the lady began to see her financial luck change as the Imado-yaki sidewards facing cat statues she was selling at the entrance to the local shrine became more and more popular with so many people buying them, that she was eventually able to lift herself out of poverty. 
The Genesis Golden Maneki-Neko
Located at 2600, 350 in Genesis, this golden maneki-neko is impressive on multiple levels. Towering above all else around, this incredibly detailed golden variant of the ‘Fortune Cat’ showcases some impressive building skills when it comes to nailing realistic proportions and iconography in the metaverse.
Despite there being many versions of the Meneki-Neko all specialized to the beckoning of differing things beyond the golden one featured above, the attributes of this one are pretty perfect for the role it plays in the metaverse. Towering high above everything around, glittering in its shiny coloration throughout all hours of the clock, and beckoning all to come up close and personal for a visit thereby enticing the good fortune of the plot owner of being actively rewarded, the nuance really couldn’t be more perfect. In the end, it is definitely a build on multiple levels worth checking out, so please to head on over to marvel at all that was involved at brining this amazing creation to life for all to experience and help keep the prophesy of the maneko-neko true to its historical and cultural record.
As for all of you joining us here today, thank you so much for tuning in and keeping up to date with all the amazing things that are coming out of this amazing community of ours. And should any of you happen to have any events, galleries, interactive, or even culturally inspired build that you think people would enjoy hearing about, don’t be shy and get in touch with Jimmy D on Telegram, Twitter, or Discord and we will be sure to figure out how we can get them up here for all to see right here on WhereWeHideAllTheAlpha.com for all to enjoy and engage with.
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