From olden times, many things have been said about the tradition of Japan's famous Manaki Neko (or "Beckoning Cat) found displayed in the entrance of just about every home, every store, or shop front in order to invite better fortune, more customers and greater business prosperity. The ornamental Maneki Neko can be called the favourite mascot of the people of Japan.
The three most highly prized Maneki Neko are the WHITE ones said to invite good luck; the BLACK ones to invite good health and defend against illness or disease; and the GOLD ones said to open the way to prosperity. A Maneki Neko with it's paw raised is said to be beckoning customers, money, prosperity, and good fortune, and in the case of the black ones good health.
Now, by displaying your Maneki Neko, you have all the opportunity to bless your home with greater family fortune, prosperity, or good health.
The Kokeshi Ningyo dolls are the most popular of all Japanese folkcarft. They come in all sizes and shapes, and their specific forms, facial features and painted patterns identify the region where they are made. The art is passed from master to apprentice, and while the basic carving of their distinctive shapes is done by the apprentice, each is hand painted by the master.
The origin of Kokeshi is thought by some scholars to invoke the protection of the gods. It is said that in very olden days during years of famine, girl children often had to be sold as indentured servants for the family's survival. Girl children were not considered as important as boy children who had the responsibility of carrying on the family name and heritage, while girl children were inevitably "given away" in marriage. Thus the Kokeshi Ningyo is almost always a girl; a memorial to the child lost through hardship or perhaps even through marriage. Today they are considered collectors' items.
This robust character is a symbol of good luck, good fortune, and strength. The Daruma's physical presence is strong, and in most cases, the doll is difficult to knock over due to it's rotund figure. As a result, it is said that the daruma will never fall to defeat or failure and will always bounce back to stand upright again.
Merchants and shopkeepers will often paint one eye of the Daruma with hope for a prosperous business. When success does come their way, they will paint in the second eye.
People starting a new project, a new career, or new lifestyle, will also follow this practice with hopes for success in their venture.
Owls are a sign of good luck for the Japanese. The word for owl is "fukuro" and since the Japanese are so fond of wordplay attributing "fuku" to good luck since the word mean good fortune.
Like all cultures, the Japanese have many charms, tokens and symbols that convey good luck and good fortune. The KOTSU ANZEN or safe journey charms are carried when travelling and they can often been seen hanging in the car. This makes a nice gift to someone who will be travelling.
The frog is a symbol of homecoming in Japan because its name, kaeru, is a word that also means "to return." So the frog has becoming a symbol for returning home and a gift depicting a frog is a wish for the recipient to have a safe return.