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Maneki Neko | by What What
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Maneki Neko

The Beckoning cat Maneki Neko sits in shop windows, at restaurants’ entrances and in front of pachinko parlors. There are many legends surrounding its origin, but the best known is that of the Temple Cat. The story starts in the 17th century at a temple in Tokyo during a storm. A poverty stricken priest sits in despair, questioning why he’s sharing the little food he has with his cat. One night, he goes to bed with these thoughts weighing on him while the cat wanders off to the entrance of the temple and starts to wash himself. A wealthy lord is taking shelter from the rain under a tree and sees the cat, and thinks it is beckoning him. Intrigued, he walks toward the temple gates to investigate. A moment later the tree he had been under is struck by lightning. The lord is so thankful to the cat for saving his life that he showers the priest and temple with gifts.To find out more of the stories behind some of the mascots visit

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Taken on July 29, 2009