The origin of lucky wealth cat
Also known as beckoning cat, he has long been loved by people as a symbol of good luck and are believed to attract customers into shops.
Beckoning cat originated from Gotokuji temple, located in a calm residential area of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. In fact, there is a small shrine dedicated to the worship of the beckoning cat in this temple.
It is said that the beckoning cat originated from the story in the 16th century about a priest's beloved cat which had brought a lot of good fortune to the Gotokuji temple.
Naotaka (a feudal lord of Hikone) passed by Gotokuji temple one day on his way home from hunting with a falcon and saw a cat beckoning him into the temple. At the cat's apparent invitation, Naotaka and his party stopped in the temple for a break. As soon as they had entered the temple, the blue sky turned dark and a huge thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. Naotaka was pleased with the good luck in having avoided the storm and had since then revived and patronized Gotokuji temple.
The story about cats bringing good fortune had spread across Japan and a figurine in the shape of a sitting cat with its paw raised upward can be found in every shop throughout the nation today. In recent years, it had also spread widely to other asian community in US, Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Present day visitors to Gotokuji temple can visit Shofukukannondo, a small building devoted to the beckoning cat that reputedly brought the temple good fortune. Japanese people visit the shrine to pray for good health, prosperity of businesses and to seek fulfillment of their wishes.