The number of vandalized ema, or small wooden plaques where worshipers can write their prayers and wishes, containing messages in support of Hong Kong in many Shinto shrines in Japan is rising.
Staff at the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan have been finding ema that have messages like “Hang in there, people of Hong Kong” and “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” vandalized, according to NHK News Web via SoraNews24.
— 看護メン (@nursemens4321) November 17, 2019
They were reportedly scratched out by another tourist or had the word “One China” written over it. However, some of the ema, in extreme cases, have been found snapped into pieces.
This isn’t an isolated case — the Kasuga Shrine in Nara, Hokoku Shrine in Osaka, and Konpira Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture have all reported similar vandalism cases.
Messages containing wishes for world peace and similar sentiments are often made by tourists, who are also sometimes responsible defacing ema, according to SoraNews24. Japanese citizens, tend to wish for more personal things like good health and success.
To tackle the growing concern for vandalism, the Hokoku Shrine has reportedly put up signs asking visitors to refrain from destroying ema posted by other visitors. The warning signs are written in Japanese, Chinese, and English.
Feature Image via @nursemens4321