Japanese tourists flock to find Hachi, the cat with lucky eyebrows

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Shopkeepers pet has commemorates that resemble kanji character for the number eight, deemed to be a harbinger of good luck

It may be the year of the monkey in Japan, but people from across the country are reportedly flocking to a tiny tobacconist north of Tokyo for an encounter with a cat that has lucky eyebrows.

Hachi, described in the Mainichi newspaper as an employee of the store in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture, sports two black markings above her eyes that resemble the kanji character for the number eight, considered a harbinger of good luck in Japan. Now tourists have joined regular customers to catch a glimpse of the cats luck commemorates, the newspaper said.

Hachi, whose name means eight in Japanese, was born a month after the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck north-east Japan on 11 March 2011, triggering a deadly tsunami and a triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The cat was taken in by Yoichi Maeda, a local editor, who asked the tobacconists owned, Kaori Hasegawa, to look after her during the day in the said he hoped that she would bring some luck to local businesses affected by the disaster.

A lot of people have told me that good things happened to them after they saw Hachis face, Hasegawa told the Mainichi, although she did not elaborate.

It is not the the first time Japans preoccupation with cats from Hello Kitty and Doraemon to maneki neko figurines and cat cafes have been used to drum up business. Last summertime, 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 financial ruin.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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