Home | Collection Directory | Sellers & Links | ManekiNekoClub | Archives
Maneki Nekos: Gallery 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 7 > 8 > 9 > 10  | next >

Gallery 2
Maneki Nekos:  A Selection of Blessings, Symbols, & Lucky Friends
[Note:  Please click on the small pictures below to see larger images.]  [mix06b]

A simple, elegant Maneki Neko bank.  Height 4" (10 cm), painted ceramic, purchased new, 2004.  Her medallion bears the Japanese "fuku" character, which means "good fortune" or "happiness".  This is the most common Kanji character associated with Lucky Cats.

My "Happy New Year!" cat for 2005.  A gift from Barbara of Home2Cats.  He's unglazed ceramic (terracotta?); 9.5" (24 cm) tall; with a gold "Made in Hong Kong" & a white paper "198-4WH" sticker underneath.  He's holding an ancient gold "koban" coin, on which is written "10,000,000 ryo", meaning "a LOT of money".  This is the most common set of characters associated with Maneki Neko.

Japanese Kanji Blessings:  Six Coins:

These characters may be seen on coins, banners, signs, labels, or even tattooed directly onto the Maneki Neko, herself.

 sweetie.jpg (81689 bytes)          2   3   4   5   6

This sweet kitty is juggling 6 lucky Koban-style coins. She's a 7" tall earthenware bank with a "Made in Japan" sticker underneath. Purchased new from an Asian market in St. Louis, MO, 1998.
The characters on the coins translated: [1] ken-ko = "health", [2] cho-ju = "long life", [3] dai-kiti = "lots of good luck", [4] kai-un = "good fortune from now on", [5] sho-huku = "happiness", & [6] kin-un = "wealth".  Many Lucky Cats display one or more of these blessings.

Japanese Kanji Blessings:  Four Banners:

        2    3    4

A pretty tricolor Tokoname-style Beckoner with a green bib.  Owned by my Canadian friend Randall, who sent me the photos to decipher.  Translations by Yui Kawai:


Japanese Lucky Symbols:  Seven Cats:

(This is what happens when you don't spay/neuter your cat!  LOL!) 

A large & very crowded group-figurine with 1 large Maneki, 6 small Manekis, a Daruma doll, a Lucky Tai Fish, some gold coins, a magic Daikokuten mallet, & more!  A big 12" (30 cm) tall, brightly-painted, super lucky, ceramic bank, with a "Made in China" sticker on the bottom.  Purchased "on-sale" in Pigeon Forge, TN, 2003.


Groups of Seven generally represent the Japanese "Seven Deities of Good Fortune" - the "Shichifukujin".  In this case, the large Maneki represents "Daikokuten", a deity symbolizing prosperity  He holds a wish-granting mallet in his right hand & is shown standing on two rice bales (for "abundance").

Daruma:  Sitting on top of the mallet is a round, red Daruma Doll, modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder & first patriarch of Zen.  The Daruma Doll is said to have the ability to make wishes come true.

Lucky Tai Fish (for "abundance"), Gold Koban Coins (for "wealth"), & Japanese Cherry Blossoms (representing "life").


Maneki Neko & Daruma:

Maneki Neko and Daruma are often found together.  Daruma may be used to make wishes come true.  He's purchased with two blank eyes --  When the wisher makes his wish, he can fill one eye.  When the wish is granted, the wisher thanks Daruma by filling in his other eye.  Unfortunately this has become politically incorrect, so now many Daruma figures have their eyes already painted in.

This little Tokoname-style Lucky Cat is holding his friend Daruma.  Note that one of Daruma's eyes has been colored in!  Height 7.5" (18cm), material ceramic, slotted & stoppered for a piggy-bank.  Lots of ID for a change!  A red & white "KATO KOGEI" sticker on the back; a blue & white "Hand Painted KATO KOGEI JAPAN" sticker on the bottom; a Kato Kogei logo impressed into the bottom.

Maneki Neko & the "Shichifukujin" - The Seven Japanese Deities of Good Fortune:

The fan (obi) & a bottomless sack of riches:  Associated with the the deity "Hotei" - bringer of happiness. 

A dignified tricolor fellow carrying a sack of goodies & beckoning with an "ogi" - a folding fan.  Height 3 1/4" (8 cm), ceramic, with a real metal bell.  This is Hotei, of the Shichifukujin (7 Deities), the god of happiness & contentment.  He is the only true Japanese member & also the only human one.  He's very popular in Japan.

The Japanese "biwa" mandolin:  Associated with the the Shichifukujin deity "Bensaiten" - goddess of the arts. 

A small, painted-plastic Lucky Kitty charm purchased new.  Bensaiten is the only female member of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune.  Height is approx 3/4" (2cm); made in China.  No ID.

The magic hammer:  Associated with the the Shichifukujin deity "Daikokuten" - bringer of wealth & prosperity. 

I purchased this unusual Maneki from my friend Roz in England.  I know this looks like a police lineup photo, but he's really quite pretty with his autumn colors & his lusterware glazing.  He carries a magic hammer in imitation of Daikokuten, the god of wealth & prosperity.  Height 5" (14cm); made of gray porcelain; a bank.

This guy has a golden magic hammer, a real collar & metal bell, and good looks besides.  He also doubles as a piggy bank.  He's covered with Kanji messages, incl a "fuku" - "happiness" sign on his hammer.  4" (10 cm) tall, unglazed painted ceramic, no id, purchased new.

The "Lucky Tai Fish" (sea brim) is Maneki Neko's favorite companion.  Associated with the Shichifukujin deity "Ebisu the Fisherman" - bringer of abundance and representative of the working man - this Maneki comes in a large variety of forms.

An early eBay purchase, this Maneki Neko has a BIG red Lucky "Tai" fish slung over his shoulders.  3" (7.5 cm), ceramic, with ID: 2 characters in a circle beside the tail.  From an Hawaiian seller, 1999. 

An unusual Happy Cat w/ a flat-top haircut.  I bought this kitty at the Japanese Tea Garden during my trip to San Francisco, 2004.  He's made of painted ivory-colored plastic, stands 2" (5 cm) tall, & has a rectangular "TAI" logo stamped on his back.

A ceramic bank brought new from Japan.  5" (13 cm) tall.  With a round white sticker underneath bearing an orange-red chop mark & also, embossed into the lower back, a large capital "M" with a smaller capital "R" inside it.

A pretty blue & white ceramic Lucky Kitty & his prize.  Decorated in black, gold, & rust red.  A 2006 birthday present from Roz, who bought him from a Canadian merchant.  He's 6.75" (17 cm) tall.

A handmade ceramic neko from Roz A., who took a Japan cruise in May of 2005.  (Lucky Roz!)  4" (10 cm) tall; mostly painted, unglazed ceramic with small spots of green glaze & gold.  No ID markings onboard; but he arrived with a matching brownish-red cloth pillow & a brochure from the artist, Kajitani Yoshika, http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~kajitani/.


I found this pretty Lucky Cat charm in a box of Maneki Neko cookies.  He's painted plastic, 1.25" (3 cm) tall, & comes with a string & bell (& also some very tasty cookies with chocolate filling & an MN image on the outside of each one).  No ID, except on the packaging, which I can't read.  From Japan.


A happy cat with a cloth pillow, fish, & tall banner.  The large black characters on the banner declare that he will keep your family/household safe & away from harm.  The smaller, red ones say "happiness" & "good fortune from now on".  From Japan.  The cat is 2.8" (7 cm) tall; painted ceramic, w/ wood & paper for his banner.

A group of seven Maneki Nekos usually represents the Seven Deities:

  1, 2, 3     4, 5, 6, 7          1-7

This set of 7 Nekos from the Okadakurokawadou Shop represents the "Shichifukujin", also known as "The Seven Deities of Good Fortune" - a group of immortals very popular in Japan.  Each member has a different origin, carries a different symbolic item, & represents a different kind of good luck:

[1]  Bishamonten - god of protection & religious zeal, carries a pagoda of treasures. 

[2]  Ebisu - god of success in all honest labor, carries a lucky "Tai" fish, bringing special luck to fishermen. 

[3]  Daikokuten - god of wealth & prosperity, carries a magic mallet. 

[4]  Jurojin - god of longevity. 

[5]  Bensaiten - goddess of music, arts, beauty, & fertility, carries a Japanese "biwa" mandolin.

[6]  Fukurokuju - god of wisdom. 

[7]  Hotei - Japanese & the most popular of the 7 - god of contentment & happiness.

Maneki Nekos: Gallery 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 7 > 8 > 9 > 10  | next >
Home | Collection Directory | Sellers & Links | ManekiNekoClub | Archives

Send email to webmaster: donaldmoon@aol.com