Akae Long Arm Maneki Neko with its left arm beckoning. This cute Maneki Neko seats itself nicely on the red lucky cushion. Its beckoning with a left paw, calling for more people, business and happiness to come.
What is Maneki Neko?
The maneki-neko (招き猫, lit. ’beckoning cat’) is a common Japanese figurine which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In modern times, they are usually made of ceramic or plastic. The figurine depicts a cat, traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail, with a paw raised in a Japanese beckoning gesture. The figurines are often displayed in shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, laundromats, bars, casinos, hotels, nightclubs, and other businesses, generally near the entrance. Some maneki-neko are equipped with a mechanical paw which slowly moves back and forth.
Maneki-neko come in different colors and styles and vary in degrees of detail. Common colors are white, black, red, and gold. Maneki-neko are sometimes referred to simply as “lucky cats”.
Maneki-neko are traditionally depicted seated, holding a Koban coin, with one paw raised in a beckoning gesture. To some, Maneki Neko may look like it is waving to you rather than beckoning. This is due to the difference in gestures and body language recognized by some Westerners and the Japanese. The Japanese beckoning gesture is made by holding up the hand, palm down, and repeatedly folding the fingers down and back, thus the cat’s appearance. Some maneki-neko made specifically for some Western markets will have the cat’s paw facing upwards, in a beckoning gesture that is more familiar to most Westerners.
Maneki-neko can be found with either the right or left paw raised (and sometimes both). The significance of the right and left raised paw differs with time and place. A statue with the left paw raised is to get more customers, while the right paw raised is to get more money. Hence it is also said that the one with left paw is for business and the right is for home.