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In Japan, shop entrances often have statues of a cat with one paw raised. This is a type of good luck charm called ''maneki neko'', meaning something like "beckoning cat" or "welcoming cat"; in English it's often called "lucky cat". The raised paw represents a gesture meaning "over here" (specifically, the gesture involves holding a hand up, then bending the wrist and/or knuckles forward and back). It may be either the right or left paw that is raised; it's sometimes said that one paw attracts customers and the other attracts money. Often these statues also depict the cat wearing a collar with a bell and holding a golden coin with its other paw.

There are several different origin stories for the ''maneki neko''. One of them involves a nobleman traveling past a rundown temple when he takes shelter from a sudden storm under a nearby tree. [[CatsAreMagic The temple's cat beckons him over]] and he is so fascinated by the gesture that he braves the rain to see the cat up close. Just after the nobleman has left the shelter of the tree it is struck by lightning, and he is so grateful to the cat for saving his life that he makes a huge donation to the temple which becomes well known and prosperous.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The eponymous heroine of ''{{Madlax}}'' has one of these in her hideout.
* An evil version curses a restaurant in ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi''.
* A monster has been trapped inside one so long in ''NatsumeYuujinchou'' that it's become his default form.
* Pins depicting the Maneki Neko are used for an extortion racket in ''{{Gokusen}}''.
* A maneki neko is seen among the many bizarre objects in ''{{Paprika}}'''s recurring parade.
* In one episode of ''{{Kekkaishi}}'', a maneki neko can be seen among the objects tossed out a window at Kokuboro when Sen is yelling at Yoshimori.
* The ''GetBackers'' were once ordered by one of their clients to retrieve one. [[spoiler: Subverted in that the Manekineko itself wasn't what the client really wanted, but what was hidden ''inside'' it : a disk containing compromising data of human organ traffic. Since she hid this from the Get Backers, this explained why they were puzzled by the fact she was happy to get the Manekineko back, even after it being horribly broken by them during the retrieval.]]
* ''RODTheTV'' had one of these featured prominently in Toto Books.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'' has a monster that goes by Neko Mane King, an [[AnachronismStew Ancient Egyptian maneki neko statue]] that ends your opponent's turn if they destroy it.
* In ''GirlGotGame'', one of the side stories involved the LovableSexManiac's girlfriend bringing two of these back from Germany and giving him one, to symbolize their togetherness even though they were apart (it was a long distance relationship).
* In ''Manga/{{Rinne}}'' chapter 60, one is among the items that fall when the posessed teddy bear begins to fly.
* In one ''Manga/FairyTail'' omake, Happy impersonated a Maneki Neko statue for a restaurant.
* The bridge of the Soyokaze has one in ''IrresponsibleCaptainTylor''. Azalyn once uses it hide the fact she's not in her bed. How she managed to lug that thing around the ship with no one noticing is another question though.
* One is present in a FUNimation {{vanity plate}} that they begin using in 2011.
* In one episode of ''YoureUnderArrest'', there was a burglar who disguised himself as the old woman whose home he was stealing from. One of her friends visits to return a borrowed piece of furniture, and asks where the cat is. The burglar answers that it's outdoors at the moment, and in doing so accidentally reveals himself as an impostor, because the "cat" is actually a maneki neko statue. (This episode changed almost all of the details from the manga version of this storyline, which didn't feature a maneki neko.)
** In a different episode, Natsumi and Miyuki searched for Maho's lost cat, while Tokuno investigated a theft. Strike Man also heard about the missing cat, so he brought many stray cats and cat-shaped inanimate objects to the police station, and thereby inadvertently recovered the stolen item from the theft case, [[spoiler:a maneki neko statue where the "coin" was made of solid gold]].
* One of the many Japanese good-luck tokens used against Mara in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess''.
* The initial stance of the dreaded [[UnstoppableRage Cat Fist]] technique in ''RanmaOneHalf'', wherein the user's mind becomes that of a cat, evokes the maneki neko, FauxPaw and all.
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[[folder:Comics]]
* In the Comicbook/DoctorStrange mini ''The Oath'', the artifact which opens the portal to the realm imprisoning the demon [[SteveDitko Otkid]] is one of these. Doc and Wong find it in a Chinatown curio shop.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''The Ramen Girl'' - While in the Ramen shop, Abby envisions the lucky cat they have coming to life and beckoning her. She takes this as a sign this is the right place for her to work.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The title of a short story by Creator/BruceSterling.
* In {{Tamora Pierce}}'s [[TortallUniverse Protector of the Small series]], the Yamani have lucky cat statues with one paw raised. The legend was that their Emperor bent down to look at a waving cat just as an assassin's arrow passed overhead - thus the waving cat became a symbol of luck.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Referenced in episode 2 of ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'', where they find a vital clue in a curio shop selling Manaki Neko in Chinatown. The tacky, golden, battery-operated version depicted there is frequently seen in Chinese cheap stores throughout Europe.
* At the beginning of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' Easter special, ''Planet of the Dead,'' Lady Christina de Souza replaces the Chalice of Ćthelstan with a Maneki Neko in order to not set off the alarm.
* In an episode of ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'', Takeru's soul gets transferred into one of these, resulting in his physical body imitating the statue. When Chiaki [[FaceDoodling draws whiskers on him]] for good measure, he is ''not'' amused (not that he can really voice his complaints, anyway). (In ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'''s adaptation of the episode, this was replaced with a garden gnome - but funnily enough, one with the same raised-arm pose.)
* Given as a gift in an episode of [[FlashForward2009 Flash Foward]].
* A knockoff version appears in ''{{CSINY}}'' as a vehicle to smuggle cocaine.
* The teams had to sell a whole shipload of these in one of the episodes of Series/TheApprentice, and it ended up turning hilarious when the women's team tried to sell them in London's Chinatown (to the point the cat ended up being a meme). And for the rest of the series, cue the CallBack gag where every time the teams left the house, you saw the one last Lucky Cat waving them bye.
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[[folder:Music]]
* The band Onmyo-Za use a cat-related [[ThemeNaming theme]] for their StageNames: Matatabi, Kuroneko, Karukan, Maneki, and Tora
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* One boss in ''NezumiMan'' is a maneki neko.
* Meowth, from ''{{Pokemon}}'' is based off this, and plays with the association with financial good luck. It has a gold charm on its forehead, has been known to hold up its left paw in the traditional pose (at least in the original ''Red and Blue'' games), and is the only Pokémon who can learn Pay Day naturally - a move which gives a small amount of money (in addition to any money gained from winning) to both combatants after the fight.
** This continues into the spinoff ''VideoGame/PokemonConquest''. If a Warrior with a Meowth for a partner mines for gold, the Meowth will find more gold coins and give a boost to the payoff you get.
* This was one of the thousands of objects the player could roll up in ''KatamariDamacy''. Due to the game's [[WidgetSeries unique sense of humor]], these statues could be found in a variety of locations doing a variety of things, such as playing {{p|inball}}achinko.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' series, these increase your luck.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', Rita's Gold Cat spell drops a giant one on the target. The number of hits it deals increases with the amount of money you have, up to a million gald at most.
* The plot of the third SuperFamicom ''RanmaOneHalf'' fighting game involves all the characters tracking down the ingredients to create the legendary ''maneki neko'' of the Musk Dynasty, who are known in Japanese as the ''Jyakou Maneki''. Therefore, they're hunting down the ''[[PunnyName Jyakou Maneki Neko]]''. This artifact is said to grant the user one wish, of any kind -- and with so many characters suffering gender-bending curses, animal-transformation curses, unrequited love, etc. etc. etc., they're all determined to have the maneki neko grant their wishes.
* In ''SkiesOfArcadia Legends'', BonusBoss Daikokuya is a bored millionaire turned Air Pirate who rides around in a Maneki Neko HumongousMecha.
* Cat suits in VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld can turn into maneki-neko figurines, similarly to Tanuki Suit's statues.
* The Gold Stage of ''VideoGame/GunNac'' has a giant version of this for its MiniBoss.
* An altered version of this appears in the first person adventure game ''{{VideoGame/Jazzpunk}}'' in the form of a squid.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' recently had a [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20120221.html giant Maneki Neko statue]] [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20130101.html come to life]] as a {{Kaiju}}.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Julie Kane's avatar in ''{{WesternAnimation/Motorcity}}'' looks like one of these, with the cat ears and the appropriate eyes.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is encountered in many ethnically Chinese or Hong Kong restaurants and takeaways in Great Britain. Perhaps this is also a Chinese meme adopted from the Japanese long before WW2; older Hong Kong people who remember the occupation of 1941-45 (and often their children) are not temperamentally given to be sympathetic to Japanese culture.
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