Tokyobling's Blog

Anime Ema – Handmade Votive Plates

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on January 3, 2014

It is the year of the horse and horse symbols are everywhere around Japan especially at shrines. Most people visit a shrine during the first few days of the new years, to say their prayers and ask for good luck during the coming year. One way to help the Gods look favorably upon you is to offer an Ema, a votive plate, where you write your wish and hang it at the shrine where you prayed. I saw these Ema at the Kanda Myojin, one of Tokyo’s main shrines, just a couple of blocks from the famous Akihabara district. Akihabara is famous as the centre for anime and manga fans, and so many aspiring manga artists and fans come to Kanda Myojin to say their prayers. Of course, with their own custom made Ema! Here are a few of the most eye catching Ema I saw when I visited yesterday. I especially like the 3D printed Ema, the first 3D printed objects I have seen in the wild here in Japan. The fans behind these must have spent a lot of time on these!


14 Responses

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  1. Dina Farmer said, on January 3, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Wow that is serious business!! I love the X-Men one!


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 4:25 am

      Haha… indeed! Yes, that was my favorite too I think! I love how he used the red string to match Cyclop’s visor! Can’t believe I still remember the name of the character after not even touching comic book in 20 years time! (^-^;)


  2. C said, on January 3, 2014 at 5:54 am

    One of the libraries out here allows you to use the 3D printer for an object of your choice (for free!) — hmm, maybe I can make something for an ema. Thingiverse needs more cool stuff like the first pic!


  3. Lilichan06 said, on January 3, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Oh so beautiful !
    All these fans are very talented and inspired!!
    Happy New Year 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 4:26 am

      Indeed they are! Thank you Lili! A Happy New Year to you too! (^-^)


  4. tokyoaaron said, on January 3, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Interesting! Not an anime fan, but these ema plates are really cool. Great blog, too: nice pictures and informative about – yet another – place in Tokyo worth checking out!


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 4:28 am

      Thank you for the kind comment Aaron! I really appreciate it! (^-^)/


  5. HeySJ said, on January 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Wow, so many Ema! I wonder do people spend all year making Ema for the shrines…? The artwork is fun and beautiful, especially the 3D ones–those are really cool.


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 4:28 am

      Haha… I am sure they have proper day jobs. Maybe some evenings at least? They sure seem to put a lot of effort into it! Thanks for the comment! (^-^)


  6. Jonelle Patrick said, on January 11, 2014 at 4:30 am

    OMG, must see! I can’t imagine how many ema you must have looked at to find these gems – they’re spectacular! and I had no idea that Kanda Myojin was the manga/anime ema prayer shrine of choice. These are soooo much more interesting than the “please let me pass my entrance exams for Todai” ones at Yushima Tenjin. Planning pilgrimage now…


    • tokyobling said, on January 29, 2014 at 4:43 am

      Haha… no there are actually so many, I had to spend more time selecting which ones to blog! I have dozens more that didn’t make it. I figured no one wants to read my blog if I post a couple of 100+ long posts of nothing but anime ema photos! (^-^) I love the ema at Yushima Tenjin, but from a perspective of mass: there are just so many of them. Which reminds me I need to blog about that as welll… (^-^)


  7. neigh. | Hangaku Gozen's Blog said, on January 31, 2014 at 4:37 am

    […] visit a Shinto shrine and hang up an ema, a wooden prayer plaque, featuring a picture of a horse. WordPress blogger Tokyobling has photographed many examples of ema over the years, including ones fe… (I don’t know what the anime ema are about, but the eighth picture from the top shows a […]


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