Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Senjafuda - One Thousand Shrine Labels
As previously mentioned, this is a form of holy marking - a la graffitti. Some of these may be names, pseudonyms and company or organisation names.
It is traditional to print one thousand of them and then visit one thousand shrines and paste them to the roof of the entrance as a sort of "I was hear" type marking. If one pastes ones name on one thousand shrines (Senja) then a wish will come true, apparently.
The pasting of the labels is often done under the cover of darkness, or otherwise when priests are not looking, but some shrines and temples charge for the privilege of pasting ones mark on their shrine gate. The practice of labelling shrines may be similar to the way in which Japanese travellers and other tourists visit famous spots (meisho) such as shrines, and associate themselves with them and their previous visitors such as Basho, often in poetry in a travelogue, and to the practice of leaving small stones on the gates of Shinto shrines.
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.