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Introduction to Manekineko




Photo (c) Shizuko Mishima
Manekineko are cat-shaped lucky charms. Maneki means beckoning and neko means cats in Japanese. It raises one of its front paws and beckons by showing the palm of the paw. It's said that manekineko raising the left hand beckons customers and one raising the right hand beckons money. You see manekineko in many Japanese stores.

It's said that manekineko reflect cultural differences between Japan and the US. Manekineko in Japan show the palm of its paw, and ones made for exports show the back of its paw. In contrast to Japanese beckon by showing the palm of the hand, the Americans beckon by showing the back of the hand.

Japanese lucky cat charms are popular items at souvenior shops in Japan. There are many different colors and designs of manekineko available. Enjoy finding your favorite ones when you visit Japan.

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