The Japanese Lucky Cat is known in Japan as the Maneki Neko, which translates to ‘The Beckoning Cat’.

According to Japanese folklore, and as the name suggests, the Lucky Cat is considered lucky and is often found adorned on charms and trinkets.

Origin of the Lucky Cat

The origins of the Lucky Cat are a bit murky.

There are several origin stories, but the most popular of them is a legend involving the Gotokuji Temple.

The story states that a priest at this temple often shared the little amount of food he had with a local cat.

It goes on to say that one day, a samurai took shelter under one of the temple’s trees.

A little while later, he saw a cat beckoning him to come into the temple, and as he approached the cat, a lighting bolt was said to strike the tree under which the samurai was seeking refuge. The samurai, convinced that the cat saved his life, proceeded to fund the temple monetarily.

Later on, when the cat passed away, it was honored with a special burial proceeding.

Nowadays, the cats are considered lucky and they are found all throughout Japan.

The Gotokuji Temple where the Maneki Neko was said to live is now a popular tourist location.

Lucky Cat Colors

In Japanese folklore, it is said that different colored Lucky Cats stand for different things.

  • White is said to bring happiness.
  • Black is said to protect against negativity.
  • Gold is said to bring wealth.
  • Pink is said to bring love.
  • Red is said to bring good health.