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Lucky cat
Lucky cat
Original photo by Cheyenne Kitchel

The History of the Maneki-Neko

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Akron chapter.

You may be familiar with the Maneki-Neko, sometimes called the lucky cat, that is featured in East Asian cultures.  These originated in Japan during the Edo period.  Depending on which arm they have raised up and which color they are, they all signify different meanings. 

The right paw raised represents getting the opportunity of money and good fortune, while the left paw is said to be believed that it can invite new customers and people into your life.  When both paws are raised then it gives you a combination of what each arm gives you.  

White: associated with a positive future

Black: protects you from evil 

Gold: Wealth 

Pink: Love

During the Edo period, depending on which way the cat was dressed reflected on its economic status.  Koban, a gold coin that symbolizes future reference of wealth to be given to the owner of the cat.  When the Maneki-Neko is holding a carp, this gives the owner good fortune.  A mallet gives the opportunity of wealth to the owner when they shake the Maneki-Neko.  The magic ball represents wisdom given to the owner and the cat holding a gourd is said to protect you from evil spirits. 

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Chey C

Akron '24

Chey is in her junior year at Akron studying History along with having a minor in English. Activities she enjoys doing is traveling, shopping and hanging out with friends.