October 2013 – Japan
Japan’s Beckoning Cat
According to Japanese legend, long ago an Emperor was traveling on horseback when he spotted a small cat waving at him. After the Emperor dismounted from his horse to get a closer look, the horse was struck by lightning and killed. Subsequently, the Emperor pronounced that cats in general should be respected as sacred animals and thus was born the legend of the beckoning Maneki Neko.
These days in Japan you will likely see a Maneki Neko figure, in some form, waving at you from just about every business, calling you to enter and shop. The legendary kitty has been transformed from an Emperor saving Samaritan to bringer of money and good fortune to all Japanese, as a customer attractor.