Maneki Neko (招き猫) is a cat figure (usually a ceramic cat), frequently found in many Asian businesses and restaurants. Look for them in our restaurant and you’ll find two! Maneki Neko literally means “Beckoning Cat” or “Welcoming Cat”, but it’s also known as the “Lucky Cat”. Westerns commonly mistake the cat’s raised paw as it’s waving, but it’s actually beckoning customers into the shop. The Japanese body language for “come here” has the palm facing out, rather than in!
There are so many folklores about the history of the Maneki Neko that it’s impossible to accurately pinpoint when, or even where, it was first seen. Some say the Maneki Neko originated in Osaka (大阪), while others believe it was in Tokyo (東京). Most traditional Maneki Neko are white with black and orange blotches, which are considered the luckiest combination. Nowadays, they may be found in several colors. Do you know the colors of our Maneki Neko?
There are a few interpretations for the raised paws, but the most common one is that the right paw up attracts wealth, whilst the raised left paw attracts customers/visitors. The Maneki Neko with the left paw stretched are also recurrent in bars and other places that sell alcohol. Actually, left-handedness is associated with strong drinkers in Japan!
Maneki Neko are often seen holding an oblong golden coin, modeled after the ryou (両), an older form of Japanese currency. If you take a look at our Maneki Neko, you’ll find the inscription千万両 (sen man ryou) and 百万両 (hyaku man ryou); this means 10,000,000 ryou and 1,000,000 ryou, which, at the time, was a great fortune to have!
Every time we open for business, we offer a drink to both of our Maneki Neko, as a sign of gratitude, as well as to ask them once more for good luck! May they welcome all of you to our Tasca Kome!
Come in, come in!