Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

The Power of Japanese Amulets

Photo: GetHiroshima.com on Flickr

The Power of Japanese Amulets

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Ever heard of  “Omamori”? It is a Japanese charm or talisman that is used as a good luck charm and protection. Japanese talisman are sold at many places especially at religious sites like shrines and temples in Japan, some also sold at vending machines which are well-known among teenagers as a phone straps or accessories. The main purpose of Japanese lucky charm is to keep away evil spirits who want to hurt us and to protect us from bad situations. Japanese amulets are originally made from paper or wood and covered in a silky cloth that you can decorate and stamped with your name or the person that you gave. Variation of Japanese talisman has different usage. Even though the main usage is to protect and keep away evil spirits, there are several other purposes such as granting wishes.


Photo: Japanexperterna.se on Flickr


The success talisman is called “katsumori” 勝守. Almost all of the shrines and temples sell this success talisman. On the talisman, there is an image that you will often find and it is an arrow which means that you are aiming for a goal.


As you can tell by the type of the talisman, it will bring you happiness. You shall never be sad when you bring this amulet. Happiness talisman is called “shiawase” 幸せ. This amulet is used as a way of remembering what life is all about. It’s about happiness from within you heart.


This traffic safety amulet is one of the most popular type and it is often called “koutsuanzen” 交通安全. Drivers like cars and bike use this amulet and hang it anywhere on their vehicles. Koutsuanzen give protection for drivers to avoid accidents especially for those students who are still a newbie at learning to drive a car.


Photo: Daniel Böswald on Flickr


Education talisman (学業成就 “gakugyou-jouju”) are very popular among the students. Even though it was meant to help the students in their study but that doesn’t mean to help them pass any tests. Education talisman is often carried inside a pencil case or hanged on school bags or key-chains. This type of amulet is a great gift for a student.


Several shrines and temples provide an amulet for your pets. It comes in different shapes and sizes, well, mostly small so that their master can hang it in the dog’s collar without making it uncomfortable. Pet shrines often visited by families with their pets to seek for blessing to their pets and also their family.


Photo: Jason Hargrove on Flickr
Photo: Sami Hurmerinta on Flickr


Every omamori have an expiry date. Usually they lasted for a year or until it is damaged. Damages on the omamori are good because it means that the amulet is doing its job well. How the omamori works is by absorbing any bad luck on the user so it must be replaced with a new one. You do not want to throw it in the trash. Instead, one must returned the omamori to the shrine or temple where they bought it. The shrine or temple attendant usually burnt it with a sacred fire then disposed it.


There are still many types of omamori in Japan but what is mentioned above are the most popular ones that people would likely to buy. Omamori is a great gift to someone that you care. It is a gift to other person as a physical of well-wishing. Holding an omamori will make you feel better when things get tough. Every omamori has its own purpose and job, so use it well.