The Meaning Behind Maneki Neko: Understanding the Symbolism and Significance

By quatkhongcanh
maneki neko

Maneki Neko, also known as the Japanese lucky cat, is a popular talisman believed to bring good fortune, wealth, and prosperity. It is often depicted as a ceramic or porcelain figurine of a cat with one or both paws raised in a welcoming gesture. In this article, we will explore the meaning behind Maneki Neko and its various interpretations.

What is Maneki Neko?

Maneki Neko is a traditional Japanese figurine that is believed to bring good luck and fortune to its owner. It is typically depicted as a cat with one or both of its paws raised in a welcoming gesture. Maneki Neko is often found in shops, restaurants, and homes throughout Japan and many other Asian countries.

The History and Origin of Maneki Neko

The origins of Maneki Neko are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have originated in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). One legend tells the story of a cat who saved the life of a nobleman by beckoning him into a temple just before a bolt of lightning struck the spot where he had been standing. As a result, the nobleman became a benefactor of the temple and the cat was enshrined as a symbol of good fortune.

maneki neko

The Different Meanings of Maneki Neko Color

Maneki Neko comes in a variety of colors, each with its own unique symbolism and meaning. Here are some of the most common colors and their interpretations:

  • White: purity, happiness, and positive energy.
  • Black: protection from evil spirits and bad luck.
  • Red: success, good health, and love.
  • Gold: wealth and prosperity.
  • Green: academic achievement and growth.
  • Pink: romance, love, and relationships.
  • Blue: safety, peace, and harmony.

The Meaning of Maneki Neko’s Raised Paws

The position of Maneki Neko’s paws also holds significant meaning. Here are some interpretations:

  • One raised paw: invites customers and good fortune.
  • Two raised paws: signifies protection and wealth.
  • Right paw raised: beckoning money and good fortune.
  • Left paw raised: beckoning customers and people.

Maneki Neko Tattoos: Symbolism and Meanings

Maneki Neko tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people opting for this design as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Some popular interpretations of Maneki Neko tattoos include:

maneki neko tatoo

  • Luck and prosperity: Many people get Maneki Neko tattoos as a way to attract good luck and fortune into their lives.
  • Protection: Others see the tattoo as a way to protect themselves from negative energy and bad luck.
  • Love and relationships: Some people choose to get a Maneki Neko tattoo to symbolize love and relationships.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Maneki Neko

While owning a Maneki Neko figurine can bring good luck and fortune, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Here are some pros and cons:


  • Brings good luck and fortune
  • Adds a charming and decorative touch to any room
  • Serves as a reminder to stay positive and optimistic


  • Can be seen as culturally appropriative or insensitive if not used with proper understanding and respect
  • May clash with certain decor styles or personal aesthetics
  • Some people may not believe in its symbolism and find it superstitious or frivolous

Alternatives to Maneki Neko

If you’re looking for other talismans or symbols of good luck and fortune, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Feng shui crystals: believed to promote positive energy and harmony in the home.
  • Four-leaf clovers: considered a lucky charm in many cultures.
  • Horseshoes: traditionally hung over doorways for protection and good luck.

How to Care for Your Maneki Neko Figurine

Taking care of your Maneki Neko figurine can help ensure that it continues to bring you good fortune and positive energy. Here are some tips:

  • Keep it clean: Dust your figurine regularly to keep it looking its best.
  • Place it in a prominent location: Display your Maneki Neko in an area where it can be seen and appreciated.
  • Avoid placing it in the bathroom or kitchen: These areas are believed to bring bad luck if Maneki Neko is placed there.
  • Don’t cover its eyes: This is believed to block its power and energy.

Comparing Maneki Neko to Other Lucky Cats

While Maneki Neko is often referred to as the “Japanese lucky cat,” there are other similar talismans found throughout Asia. Here are some comparisons:

  • Chinese lucky cats: Also known as “fortune cats,” these figurines have a similar appearance to Maneki Neko but areoften depicted with a gold coin in their paws, symbolizing wealth and good fortune.
  • Korean lucky cats: Known as “Bosal” cats, these figurines are often depicted with a small bell around their necks, believed to ward off evil spirits.
  • Thai lucky cats: Also known as “Luk Thep,” these dolls are believed to be imbued with the spirit of a child and are thought to bring prosperity and good luck.

Tips for Using Maneki Neko in Your Home or Business

If you’re considering incorporating Maneki Neko into your home or business, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right color and paw position based on your goals and intentions.
  • Place your figurine in a prominent location where it can be seen by visitors or customers.
  • Use Maneki Neko in conjunction with other symbols of good luck and prosperity, such as feng shui crystals or lucky bamboo plants.
  • Be mindful of cultural sensitivity and awareness when using Maneki Neko in a non-Japanese context.

The Best Maneki Neko Figurines to Buy

If you’re looking to purchase a Maneki Neko figurine, there are many options available online and in stores. Here are some highly-rated options:

  • Beckoning Cat Lucky Charm Statue: This ceramic figurine is 5 inches tall and comes in a variety of colors.
  • Japanese Maneki Neko Fortune Cat: This porcelain figurine is hand-painted and features a waving arm.
  • Feng Shui Prosperity Protection Lucky Cat: This resin figurine is designed to promote wealth and success.

Maneki Neko is a beloved symbol of good luck and prosperity throughout Japan and beyond. With its charming appearance and deep symbolism, it’s easy to see why so many people are drawn to this talisman. By understanding the meaning behind Maneki Neko’s color, paw position, and other attributes, you can harness its power and positive energy in your own life.