Every culture has its fair share of handicrafts and talismans that people believe will bring them good fortune. Japan has a diverse culture of symbols and icons that have long been associated with good luck and fortune that are easily spotted across shops, restaurants, offices, and homes. While some are more general symbols of luck, others are known to invite specific themes, such as health, money, happiness, etc. Each of these symbols has a story behind how they came to be such culturally significant icons. From old village tales to mysterious spiritual encounters, these symbols are now widely accepted as bringers of abundance.
Maneki Neko (Beckoning Cat)
The iconic cat figurine, or Maneki Neko, is one of the most well-known Japanese symbols of luck. Also commonly known as “Beckoning Cat” or “Prosperity Cat”, Maneki Neko usually has one of his paws raised, welcoming either money or customers; if it is the right paw, it invites money, while the left invites people.
Business owners tend to have these figurines in the front of their business to attract prosperity and greet clients with good energy. Maneki Neko is inspired by a lucky cat that once saved a monk’s life and helped his temple grow, all by waving him in the right direction.
The Daruma Doll
Made out of paper mache, the Daruma doll is a symbol of Japanese folklore that symbolizes luck, success, and perseverance. The doll’s round shape and wide, dark eyes reference the Buddhist monk Bodhidarma, known as the initiator of Zen Buddhism in Japan. The dedicated monk meditated for several years without closing his eyes, which is the epitome of perseverance.
It is no wonder that Japanese culture recognizes the Daruma doll as a symbol of this monk’s strength and will to succeed. It is tradition to paint one eye and make a wish, then paint the other with another wish when the first one comes true.
The Omamori (amulet)
Omamori charms are small, colorful talismans typically found at shrines or temples. These good-luck charms are embroidered with a sacred inscription used as protection from evil spirits. The talismans come in a colorful silk pouch and can be hung by the drawstrings. Omamori, literally translated as “protection” in Japanese, can also provide the owner with good luck, such as success, prosperity, love, happiness, etc.
It is common for people to gift these during challenging times or simply as a blessing, such as during exams or a pregnancy. There is an omamori for every occasion!
The Eto (Zodiac) Ornament
These Japanese ornaments are charms inspired by the different animals of the eto(zodiac). They are a symbolic way of honoring the animal for the coming year intended to bring good luck. In Japan, people usually have figurines that symbolize the animal of the year distributed all over their homes. With each coming year, they change the figurines to invite good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
Commonly found at shrines and temples, many buy their natal zodiac animal to attract good luck all year round.
Not only Japanese good luck charms attract prosperity, abundance, and good health, they are also beautiful pieces of art to display anywhere in your home or business. These ancient charms carry a deep significance and symbolize figures, cosmologies, and stories that shape Japanese culture today.
Good luck charms are wonderful souvenirs to offer your clients as an introduction to Japanese culture. After all, who can say no to good fortune? Become a member of SUPER DELIVERY today and access hundreds of Japanese products that are sure to impress your customers!
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