Home > Japanese Culture > The cat’s going to beckon me to somewhere luckier.

The cat’s going to beckon me to somewhere luckier.

I had one off-meeting with friends who learn English last week. This time, the famous, noble English learner came all the way to the place of the meeting to see us, so it was a fantastic time with him.

One of my friends, master sampa also came to the meeting and brought one souvenir from his business trip at that time. It was a beckoning cat.

Beckoning cats, welcome cats etc, are called maneki-neko in Japan, which is a cat-shaped doll made of porcelain or ceramic. Incidentally, Aichi prefecture, where I live, is famous for porcelain and ceramic, especially tokoname-yaki in Tokoname city and seto-yaki in Seto city. Tokoname city leads the domestic production of beckoning cats.

Originally, beckoning cats were colored black and white in their body, however, the sort of colors have recently changed because the purposes which the cats beckon have recently been diversified. Now that you can see colorful beckoning cats nationwide. For example, pink-colored beckoning cats are for people who want to in love with someone special and get their happy life with him/her.

One more thing, the hands(paws?) beckoning cats hold up has respectively meanings. The right hands(paws?) of cats are to beckon money. The left ones are to beckon our customers. Sometimes you can see the cats holding up their both hands. It means “beckoning money and customers”, but some people say it’s not good and it’s too greedy.

I think people come from other countries, especially Americans and Europeans, must feel something odd from the figure of the cat, like “How come this cat is waving?”. There is a difference on the style of “beckoning” between Japanese and others. In Japan, when we want to beckon someone, we hold our hand up, show someone our palm, and repeatedly fold the fingers down and back up. You might think of this behavior means “good bye”, “get out of here” or something, but in Japan, it means “come on”.

So I guess beckoning cats selling in America or Europe have thier hands’ palm reversed. I’ve never been to other countries before, so I’d like to check them…lol

This is the cat my friend gave me. It is cute, isn’t it?

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  1. Mariko。
    September 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    How cute!
    What kind of size is this beckoning cat?
    It looks tiny.

    Anyway, I want a pink-colored beckoning cat..

    • honeypotter
      September 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

      Hi, Mariko。How’s it goin’?
      Yeah, it’s an about-2-centimeter-tall cat. You can put it on your palm 😀
      You need a pink-colored one? No way! I’m the one who definitely needs…hehehe
      By the way, I’ve been thinking some games by using Skype in order to improve our expressions in English when writing and speaking. My peers in Nagoya asked me to come up with them, so someday, somehow, I’d like to contact you. There are a lot of things to ask, especially your experiences in English conversation school. I hope you would not mind.

  2. September 2, 2009 at 8:36 am

    In South Korea they beckon the same way too.

    • honeypotter
      September 2, 2009 at 9:01 am

      Hi, girlgeum!
      Oh, really?! In East Asia region, gestures or body languages might be similar to each other countries. How about your country? And have you seen this cat doll selling in your country?

  3. September 3, 2009 at 8:13 am

    In the Bahamas, we’re pretty much Americanized. This cat, no, I haven’t see it here.

    • honeypotter
      September 5, 2009 at 2:53 am

      Hi, girlgeum!
      >In the Bahamas, we’re pretty much Americanized.
      Oh, I checked your country on the Internet, wiki. You got such a wonderful and beautiful ocean, right? Ummm…there’s no such cats selling? If you find it, please tell and show me 😀

  4. September 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    We do have gorgeous beaches.

    But no beckoning cats.

    • honeypotter
      September 9, 2009 at 1:23 pm

      Oh, then… Beckoning cats in gorgeous beaches…
      It might become a new souvenir, I guess. 😀

  5. September 10, 2009 at 8:28 am

    But wouldn’t the cats be afraid to get wet because they’re afraid of water?

    Maybe if one travels from the cold region to get some sun, only sitting on the sand and not going in the water. lol.

    • honeypotter
      September 11, 2009 at 1:26 pm

      Don’t worry, girlgeum, how about producing a new beckoning cat there?
      How about this idea? I guess you have gorgeous beaches, so many scuba divers visit your country, right? So let’s put scuba suit on the cat, then let’s name the cats like this; “The beckoning cats, and prevent you guys from accidents in the sea! This cats can beckon your lucky and say good-bye your unlucky!” What do you think of this idea? hihihi

  6. September 14, 2009 at 8:34 am

    The scuba diving cats can prevent accidents in the sea, saving us from disastrous events and leaving us with some food for thought, that is, good advice. Or with souvenirs.

    Love your idea. No one will suspect a scuba diving cat of saving the day. Mysterious.

    • honeypotter
      September 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

      Hi, girlgeum, How are you?
      Oh, you like my idea? O.K. I’ll give you this idea without cost. Let’s hit the patent law association or somewhere in order to register. After you got big money, please invite me the Bahamas 😀

  7. September 15, 2009 at 8:23 am

    No, no, after you get big money invite me to Japan. Or we’ll meet halfway. lol

    But I don’t think it’ll be big in my country, reading isn’t something many people like to do here. I love it though. But it can be an anime in your country.

    But bye now beckoning scuba diving cats. meow.

    • honeypotter
      September 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm

      Hi, girlgeum, how are you?
      >No, no, after you get big money invite me to Japan. Or we’ll meet halfway. lol
      O.K. I think L.A. would be better…lol Someday, I’d like to visit the Bahamas. (It’s not a joke) Ummm…Should I mail the Ministry of Tourism of your country in order to promote this cat 😀
      Oh, Is animations in Japan also famous in the Bahamas?

  8. September 16, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Yeah, they come on cable. Inuyasha, Bleach, Naruto, just to name a few.

    Don’t bother with sending it to the ministry; don’t think they’ll be interested.

    • honeypotter
      September 17, 2009 at 7:54 am

      Hi, girlgeum!
      Oh, Naruto… As a matter of fact, in the respect of pronunciations, my real name is similar to Naruto, so evertime I introduce my name to people come from other country, especially who speak English, they repeat my name like this; “Oh, Naruto? I’ve seen it before.”:D
      The Ministry…won’t get interested in my idea? Oh…so sad…hehehe

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