The Japanese seem to have a long-running love affair with cats. The myth of the Maneki Neko (the “Beckoning Cat”) has been around for at least a few hundred years.
“The Maneki Neko (招き猫, literally “Beckoning Cat“; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money cat or Fortune Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of porcelain or ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture depicts a cat (traditionally a Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. In the design of the sculptures, a raised right paw supposedly attracts money, while a raised left paw attracts customers.”
Then there’s the bakaneko, a fire-breathing ghost-cat that can reanimate corpses by jumping over them. Sounds pretty scary. Where do they come from, and how do I avoid them!? Well, a normal cat may become a bakaneko if its tail grows to a certain size — one possible explanation for why short-tailed cats are so common in Japan.
In a previous post, I talked about a Japanese photo contest for cats that sit like humans. The contest has concluded, and here is the winner: