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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maneki Neko

This is my Maneki Neko picture. 
I got the Maneki Neko  from my sister, when she came back from Japan.
As you can see, the Maneki Neko beckon with their left palm forward, which indicates that they were made for domestic use. The Maneki Neko for exports are beckoning with the back of the palm as it is customary in the west.

The "beckoning cat" Maneki Neko is a very popular charm in Japan.
Its paw is beckoning the customers to enter the shop.
The common belief is that the Maneki Neko became popular on the EDO Period.
The popularity of the Maneki Neko is probably connected to the popularity of the lucky charms connected to the sex industry, which grew along with the strengthening of the merchant’s class. Special areas for "merriment" developed and in the amusement houses there, they had good luck shelves with a charm of a male sexual organ.
Even today, in Japan they have once a year fertility festival for good harvest and a huge penis made from wood is paraded through the streets.
When Japan has opened up to the west, the government wanted to improve its image in the eyes of the western world and it prohibited displaying and manufacturing the sexual talisman. The sexual charms disappearance coincides with the spread of the Maneki Neko first in the amusement areas and then throughout Japan. There is an image from that period that shows a women beckoning like a cat. And maybe that is the connection. The cat symbolizes the beckoning of a woman to a man (with the money) to come to the area.

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