In the 17 Centery, there was a rundown

 and poverty-stricker     temple in the                 

western part or Tokyo.The The temple・s

prient was very poor,but he still shared what

 little food he had with he pet cat,Tama.

Sometimes the priest woud complain,;I・m poor

but I still take care of you.Isn・t there something

you can do in return for the temple?;

  One day,Naotaka Ii,the lord of Hikone district {Western part of Japan near Kyoto},

Was caught in a storm while hunting and took refuse under a big tree near the temple.

While he were waiting for the storm to pass,he noticed Tama beckoning him to come

Inside the temple gate.This was so startling that he left the shelter of the tree to have a

Closer look at this unusual cat.At that moment,the tree was struck by lighting.

  As a result,Naotaka Ii become friends with the poor prient,the temple become prosperous and changed name to name Goutokuji.The prient and Tama never went hungry again.

  When Tama died it was buried in the Goutokuji Temple・s cat cemetery with respect and love,and the Maneki Neko was made in honor of Tama.

  Maneki Nelo is Japenese for .beckoning cat・. The message it・s holding says .Please come in.You are welcome!・and it・s beckoning you with his paw.And it・s funny that the geature of beckoning is reverse used in West and Japan.

  Usually,Maneki Neko has a red collar with a bell.this is reminiscent of the custom during the Eds era (1603-1868).A cat was an expensive pet up until the middle of the Edo era.The affluent ladies cherished their cats.They gave their beloved cats red collar made of Hi-Chiri-men(a luxury item in Eds era)and small bells to keep an eye on their

Cats.

  If  Maneki Neko raises its left paws,it invites customers and visitors.When the right paws is up,it brings wealth and good forture to its owner.