Date
24 January 2017
Authorities at an ancient shrine in Kyoto have expressed concern over Chinese-made counterfeit Ema (inset). Photos: Wikipedia, Apple Daily
Authorities at an ancient shrine in Kyoto have expressed concern over Chinese-made counterfeit Ema (inset). Photos: Wikipedia, Apple Daily

Kyoto shrine grapples with Chinese fake wooden votive tablets

Officials at a 1200-year-old shrine in Japan’s Kyoto city were baffled recently as they found many Chinese-made counterfeit wooden votive tablets in the ancient temple.

Many Japanese go to shrines and write their wishes on wooden plaques, known as Ema in that country, which are then left hanging up at the shrine for the gods to receive them.

The Ema must be provided by the shrines and bear the temples’ official stamps before anyone can put them up.

However, the management of the Kiyomizu shrine, a world heritage structure that was first built in 778 AD, discovered recently several wooden plaques of foreign origin, Apple Daily reported.

The Ema bore Chinese wording, rather than Japanese, it said, citing the Kyoto Shimbun. 

The Chinese Ema bore the inscription “One Chinese heart, life-time Chinese love”, with wishes obviously written by Chinese visitors.

While an official Ema, which is sold for about 800 yen (US$6.65) by the temple, measures 11cm by 18cm, a Chinese counterfeit measured 9cm by 14cm. 

It is suspected that the counterfeits were provided by Chinese travel agencies to their customers.

The shrine’s management has called for a halt to the manufacture of fake Ema, saying that it is not right to confuse visitors with different plaques.

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