Myth And Legend: Japanese Superstitions On Cat

It was commonly believed in Japan that cat is an animal that can bring many good returns or good fortunes in life. There is a lucky cat that called as Maneki- neko which Japanese people will always love to have it in their house until today. Maneki-neko literally Beckoning-cat is actually one type of cat figurine that usually made of ceramic. This cat’s figurine depicts a beckoning cat with its paw upright beside its body and mostly used to welcome people as it always located at the entrance of the house or even shops. The source of Maneki-neko’s power among Japanese was actually explained in many tales.

Long time ago, in Japanese legend, there was a cat stood in the door of the Gotoku-ji , a temple in Japan and it raised its paw in the traditional beckoning gesture of Japan to a feudal lord who was passing by it. The feudal lord then followed the cat into the Gotoku-ji temple and all of sudden, a lightning bolt struck the place where the feudal lord was standing at and the cat saved his life. From that legend, the Maneki-neko was always been seen as an incarnation of the Goddess of Mercy which always bring luckiness to human until now. If you visit the Gotoku-ji temple in this era, you surely can see dozens of Maneki-neko’s statue. Some cat’s owner who lost their cat do believe that by sticking up a prayer board along with the image of Maneki-neko in this temple can help them to find back their cat.1

Ceramic Lucky Cat with Moving Hand


In ancient Japan, there was a story that is also related to cat. In that legend, there was a cat that was feeling so cold and tried to warm itself too close to the source of fire. After some time, it realized its tail accidently burned by the fire. The cat cannot stand the heat and the burning feelings on its tail had directly run through the town and this caused many buildings on fire. As punishment of this incident, the Emperor decreed that all cats in the town should have their tail cut off without any mercy. The cat that has its tail cutted off will be having short tail that usually be called as Bobtail. Thus the legend of the Japanese Bobtail which is also a Maneki-neko began. In reality, the bobtail’s unique look on a cat body is not actually because of its tail had been cut off, but it is actually a body mutation caused by a recessive gene. Generally, two bobtail parents will result in bobtail offspring. Usually, the luckiest Japanese Bobtail has a calico coat with three colors which are white, black, and red.


Japanese Bobtail


In Japan, Black cat or even a black cat figurine carry a symbol of darkness which believed as ward of evil and misfortune. Even though black cat Maneki-neko not the main choice among the Japanese, but it is still a very popular figurine among the people who believe in spirituals and the existence of evilness that may lingers around them. In the city of Seto in Japan, the people there have the opportunity to appreciate Maneki-neko as they have special Maneki-neko Museum that is so active in launching many activities related to the lucky cat and have many collections of Maneki-neko statues that are slimmer in shape and more attractive to be seen compared to traditional Maneki-neko figurine that usually have a broader and wider shape. Here are some pictures of the activities that happened in Seto city along with the samples of statues they have over there.



Activities in Seto City Japan

Face Coloring to Imitate Lucky Cat

Elderly Who Joined the Celebration














Red Neko

Lucky Colors Cats

Black Neko












In Asian Secrets, we always appreciate every little belief of Asians people so that those legends and myths will never vanish and lost in time. We produced many figurines that have their own legends including cat’s figurine. As Chinese culture also does believe in Lucky Cat, the production of these figurines will not only act as a decorations and gifts, but it also will have its own values for each of the arts made. Here are the examples of the products that you can purchase from our company that mostly suit cat lovers and people who believes in cat’s myths in their life.


Samples Of Our Products:

Batik Wood Figurine, Long Tailed Cat (S)





Batik Wood Figurine, Pampered Cat (S)














1.                Franny Syufy, 2012, About.Com, ” Maneki Neko Japanese Beckoning Cat”,





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One Response to “Myth And Legend: Japanese Superstitions On Cat”

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