Everyone has seen small statues of cats with upraised paws, perched on the counters of Japanese stores and restaurants, but how many know the story behind the famous Maneki Neko, the “beckoning cat?"
A new children’s picture book, "Maneki Neko: The Tale of the Beckoning Cat," retells the traditional folk tale of the statue's origins -- the story of a poor monk, a samurai and a small stray cat.
In a Japanese village, a poor monk lives a simple life with his cat Tama. One day, Tama is caught outside the temple in a great storm. She waits under the eaves of the shrine, smoothing the wet fur on her face with her paw. A noble samurai takes shelter from the storm under a tree outside the temple. But what does he see through the heavy rain? A cat beckoning him forward?
Learn how Tama saves the samurai and brings such good fortune to the poor monk that she earns the reputation of being lucky.
Susan Lendroth’s retelling of this well-known legend brings warmth to the two monastery companions, while award-winning illustrator Kathryn Otoshi brings them to life in the beautiful landscape of old Japan. Shen’s Books, an American publisher of multicultural tales, will release Maneki Neko in late May. The book can be ordered from Shen’s Books (www.shens.com) and several online retailers.© Japan Today