Healt-related Votive Tablets from Japan
IBSN: 9789087282523
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2017
Language: English
Price: €47.50

Health-related Votive Tablets from Japan

Ema for Healing and Well-being

Many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan sell small wooden votive tablets (ema) which are meant to be left on a rack at the sanctuary. 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 this book 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.


Prof.dr. Peter A.G.M. De Smet is scientific advisor of the Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Association in The Hague and professor in Quality of Pharmaceutical Care at the Academic Medical Centre of the Radboud University Nijmegen,The Netherlands.

Prof.dr. Ian R. Reader is professor emeritus and former head of Japanese Studies at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures of the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.


From March 17 until June 11 2017 Japan Museum SieboldHuis presented ‘Ema Tangible Prayers’, an exceptional exhibition of beautifully illustrated prayer tablets that give insight into this remarkable religious Japanese tradition.


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