In the 17th century, there was a rundown and poverty-stricken temple in Tokyo. The temple’s priest was very poor, but he shared what little food he had with his pet cat, Tama.
One day, a wealthy and important man was caught in a storm while hunting and he took refuge under a big tree near the temple. While he waited for the storm to pass, the man noticed a cat 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, the wealthy man became friends with the poor priest, and the temple became prosperous. The priest and his cat never went hungry again.
When Tama died he was buried in the Goutokuji Temple’s cat cemetery with respect and love, and the Maneki Neko was made in honor of him. A Maneki Neko in your home or place of business is said to bring in good luck and visitors.
Happy New Year!