Saturday, June 1, 2019

Some more Ema


Votive plaques, called ema in Japanese, were originally paintings of horses given to shrines with prayers. Nowadays they are mostly small wooden plaques and can be seen at many shrines and temples. By far the most common are pictures of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, but some shrines and temples have designs that are specific to their site. This first one is at the biggest shrine on Awaji Island, Izanagi Shrine. The ema shows Izanagi, along with his wife-sister Izanami, creating the island of Awaji, believed to be the first created.


At a temple in the mountains of Yamaguchi, these ema quite clearly are accompanied with prayers for ample breast milk and for good childbirth. I have seen a lot of these around the Sanyo region, the southern coast of western Honshu.


Rituals blessing your car are a staple income at many shrines and some temples. These ema are for traffic safety.


Increasingly popular are ema for finding a good love match. With Japans falling birthrate and growing numbers of singles,  the number of shrines that "specialize" in love matching prayers is on the increase.


Not sure what the meaning of the peach is.....

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