Health-Related Votive Tablets from Japan

Ema for Healing and Well-Being

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Peter A. G. M. de Smet, Ian Reader
  • Chicago, IL: 
    Leiden University Press
    , May
     192 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Helen Hardacre forthcoming.


Many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan sell illustrated wooden votive tablets, known as ema, which provide space for handwritten prayers or words of gratitude and are intended to be left at the sanctuary. This, the first book in English on the topic, reproduces hundreds of contemporary ema designs meant for health-related purposes and places them in their proper religious and medical contexts. It will appeal to anyone interested in Japanese culture or non-Western medicine.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Peter A. G. M. de Smet is a scientific adviser to the Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Association in The Hague and professor of the quality of pharmaceutical care at Radboud University.

Ian Reader is professor emeritus and former head of Japanese studies at the University of Manchester.

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