There are a couple of theories on the origin of manekineko, but the one that's most common is the cat owned by a monk of a temple called Gotokuji in what is now Setagaya ward in Tokyo. The monk loved the cat. It was the apple of his eye. Even though he was having an extremely difficult time making ends meet because of a lack of temple members (supporters), he made sure that the cat was fed. Whether or not the cat was aware of the destitution was anybody's guess,but one day, when the sky was clouding over, the cat started beckoning into the temple a party led by a powerful lord on its way back from a hunting excursion. Just as soon as the party walked into the temple, it started pouring down outside. Pleased about escaping the thunderstorm and listening to the monks preach, the lord promised to put the temple under his patronage. Ever since then the temple thrived. The word got out and people started making dolls in the figure of thebeckoning cat.

Pictures from Gotokuji Temple

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