Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goutokuji - The Maneki Neko Legend

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
The Maneki Neko ( 招き猫 = The Beckoning Cat ) is a Japanese cat sculpture, usually made of ceramic, which is believed to bring good fortune and wealth. If you come to Japan, you will be able to see Maneki Neko in shops, restaurants, pachinko, banks, offices, houses, etc. The Maneki Neko is also one of the famous souvenirs from Japan. You could also found Maneki Neko as piggy banks, keychains, straps, and other miscellaneous ornaments.


There are many stories regarding the origin of Maneki Neko. The three famous legends are the Goutokuji, Imado, and Yoshiwara.


Maneki Neko District
Goutokuji Maneki Neko district

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko At the beginning of Edo period, there was a rundown temple in Setagaya. One day, a Japanese lord named Naotaka Ii ( 井伊直孝 1590 ~ 1659 ) was getting home from hunting hawk. He was walking in front of the temple when he noticed a white cat beckoning to him from inside the temple. Tempted by the cat's gesture, he followed the cat. As soon as he approached the cat, there was a sudden heavy rainfall and the place he stand before was struck by lighting. His life was saved by the white cat. The cat's name was Tama, and Tama was the temple priest's cat.

江戸時代、世田谷に祖末寺があった。ある時、彦根藩第二代 藩主・井伊直孝 (1590 ~ 1659) が鷹狩りの帰りに豪徳寺の前にさしかかった。そのときこ白い猫が門前で手招きするような仕草をしていた。つれて入ると、にわかに雷雨が降りはじめた。前の直孝がいた場所に雷が落ちた。猫が直孝を助けてくれたのだ。その白い猫の名前はタマです。タマの飼い主はその寺の和尚です。

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
Naotaka Ii became closed to the priest of the temple. The temple became Ii's family temple and the temple was named Goutokuji ( 豪徳寺 ). The temple became prosperous.


Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
After it's death, Tama was buried at Goutokuji and the first Maneki Neko was made to honor Tama.

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
There is another version of the story which tells that Naotaka Ii was standing under the tree when a cat beckoned at him. When Naotaka was approaching the cat, the tree was struck by lighting. Feeling grateful, Naotaka gave a lot of donation to the temple.


Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
Tama !

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko
29 September is Maneki Neko's day. At this day, Maneki Neko festival will be held at various place such as Mie Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, and Nagasaki Prefecture.


Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko

Goutokuji - Maneki Neko



I wanna bring a kitty home!

dans said...

@こ: You can buy the kitty there. :D

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