You have surely already seen this little lucky charm in Japanese manga or anime, hanging on a backpack, a key ring, or on a rear view mirror... The Japanese omamori is omnipresent in the Japanese culture. This amulet is closely linked to Shintoism and Buddhism, two major religions of the country. It is said that this sacred object is a mix between a Buddhist amulet and a Shinto ofuda reputed to chase away demons.
What is an omamori?
An omamori is a Japanese lucky charm dedicated to a kami or a Buddhist deity. It is a small colored brocade bag tied with a cord. Inside the embroidered silk bag, there is a prayer engraved on a small piece of wood or written on a piece of paper. This is a sutra or sacred words with powers. The omamori can take many forms, but the most common is that of a chaplain. On the front of the bag is the symbol of the religious building from which it came and the kanji meaning "to protect". On the other side is the name of the temple or shrine and the protecting deity.
The power of the Japanese omamori
Originally, this sacred object was blessed by a monk or a priest in order to give it a power of protection and luck. Each amulet has a well defined function. Thus, we find omamori related to success, road safety, health, omamori to find love, to succeed in an exam and many other things... Today, these grigris have been modernized and we can now find kawaii omamori which are often intended for children... but not only ;-)
The tradition of the lucky charm Omamori
Omamoris are sold in many temples and shrines in Japan. Some of them are handmade. They are traditionally bought at the beginning of the year during the Japanese New Year to invite luck or success in one's home. At the end of the year, Japanese omamori good luck charms are burned in the temple to ward off the bad luck of the past year and to honor the deities.
How to use your omamori talisman?
If your charm does not contain a prayer yet, you can slip some magic words inside. The Japanese omamori charm can be carried on you in a pocket of clothing or on an object that accompanies you in your daily life: hung on your handbag, on a smartphone, on your key ring or in your wallet. This charm can also be hung on a shelf at home, on a wall or on a rear view mirror in your car.
This talisman is very much appreciated by Japanese people. It is also an ideal gift to give to someone you care about. Be careful, for the magic to work, you must never open it, otherwise its power will escape.