Shopkeeper’s pet has markings that resemble kanji character for the number eight, considered of to bring tidings of good luck.
It may be the year of the monkey in Japan, however, people from across the country are reportedly flocking to a tiny tobacconist north of Tokyo to meet a cat that has ”lucky eyebrows”.
Hachi, described in the Mainichi newspaper as an employee of the shop located in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture, sports two black markings above her eyes that resemble the kanji character for the number eight, which is considered a harbinger of good luck in Japan. Now tourists have joined regular customers just to catch a glimpse of the cat’s lucky markings, the newspaper said.
Hachi, whose name means “eight” in Japanese, was born a month after the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck the north-east Japan on 11 March 2011, triggering a deadly tsunami and the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Hachi the cat was taken in by Yoichi Maeda, a local editor, who asked the tobacconist’s owner, Kaori Hasegawa, to look after her during the day in the hope that she would bring some luck to other local businesses and hers affected by the disaster.
“A lot of people have told me that good things happened to them after they saw Hachi’s face,” Hasegawa told the Mainichi, although she did not elaborate on more information.
It is not the the first time Japan’s obsession with cats – from Hello Kitty and Doraemon to maneki neko figurines and cat cafes – have been used to drum up more and more business.
Last summer, 3,000 mourners attended the funeral of Tama the cat, whose 2007 appointment as honorary stationmaster at a railway station in western Japan was credited with saving the line from certain financial ruin.