Ema are small wooden votive tablets which are meant to be left on a rack at the sanctuary, many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan sell them. The reverse of these tablets offers space to send a self-written wish or personal thank you message to the enshrined deity or buddha. Their front usually has a pre-printed or hand-painted design that is indicative of the intended purpose.
In Health-related Votive Tablets from Japan. Ema for Healing and Well-being hundreds of contemporary ema designs for health-related purposes are reproduced and placed into their religious and biomedical context. A final chapter explores why there are differences between these purposes and current epidemiological patterns. This is the first book in English on the long-standing tradition of ema.
This spring Japan Museum SieboldHuis will present Ema Tangible Prayers, an exceptional exhibition of beautifully illustrated prayer tablets that give insight into this remarkable religious Japanese tradition. 200 ema from a private collection will be on display for all to admire.