The Maneki Neko, literally "Beckoning Cat," is a good luck charm used widely in Japanese business establishments and homes. It is believed to invite in fortune and good luck to its owner. In Japan, the hand sign to ask someone to come towards you is made with the palm facing down and fingers towards the person, and moving the hand in a scooping sort of motion; it is the direct opposite of the American hand signal for the same thing. The Maneki Neko is carrying a koban (gold coin from the Edo Period). The characters translate to "ten million ryou." (the ryou is an archaic unit of money in Japan)
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Last updated: 09/19/2007 William R. Ward, email@example.com