Posts Tagged ‘o-mamori’

Good-luck charms change with the times

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Many children starting the school year will have o-mamori (good-luck charms) hanging from their book satchels, possibly given by their grandparents to help them through that difficult first day. Traditionally these tiny cloth bags contain a piece of paper blessed by a Shinto or Buddhist priest, but increasingly the charm is a decorative item bought from a normal store and symbolizes the personal good wishes of a friend or relative.

Enter the Koe no Mamori (voice good-luck charm), on sale in Japan from April 20. As good-luck charms become more secular, the device allows buyers to personalize the charm, giving the object fresh significance. Inside the pouch is a tiny voice recorder on which the buyer records a personal message  –  for example, “Congratulations on starting school, do your best this year” – which can be played back by the nervous young student whenever they like (though they’ll surely lose street cred points if they’re caught by classmates listening to a message from their grandma).

Charms bought in temples are also moving with the times and it’s now common to find characters like Hello Kitty, displayed on the embroidered cloth pouches. The Kitty-chan charm in the picture is from Ishikawa shrine and is a traveling charm given me by a friend before I returned to the U.K. Regardless of religious significance, carrying the charm back with me gave me a warm fuzzy feeling on my flight home.

As o-mamori become more commercial, a wider range of characters is becoming available, I love this cool 8-bit Spelunker charm and this Muramasa o-mamori which was a freebie at Tokyo Game Show a couple of years ago.

Have you ever received or seen any unusual o-mamori? Tell us about it.


Recent Posts

  • Pulsations 1.13.14

    The first batch of Pulsations in 2014 features a twist on chopstick design, a spectacular holiday illumination in Osaka and more.

  • Feelin’ lucky? The highs and lows of ‘fukubukuro’

    Whether you count fukubukuro “lucky bags” as a thank-you to shoppers, a scheme to unload less popular merchandise at the end of the year or just a way to kick off the New Year’s sales, buying a mystery pile of stuff worth [hopefully far] more than the price tag is a tempting offer to many. [...]

  • Pulsations (12.6.13)

    This collection of Pulsations brings holiday cheer in bento form, a must-see project for font-lovers, a solo stop-motion animation effort and more!

  • Joysound’s top 10 karaoke songs of 2013

    Joysound karaoke announced their top songs of 2013! However, just because they’re popular does not mean they came out this year . . .

  • Tokyo Eggs Benedict Bingo

    Eggs Benedict with awesome bacon, with a near lack of eggs, with raw tuna! Wait, raw tuna?! We sample a handful of Tokyo’s Hollandaise sauces.

  • Pulsations (11.19.13)

    Fashion, art and snacktime collide in this collection of Pulsations! Plus: Doraemon makes his 3D film debut!

  • J-blip: Tsutaya launches one-stop ‘lifestyle’ bookshop

    Bookseller Tsutaya moves into the lifestyle business and gives consumer more ways to use T-points.

  • Autumn crop of pumpkin, purple potato and pear products

    The change of season prompts a change of snack flavorings – great for those with a pumpkin craving.

  • Tokyo Designers Week 2013

    This year’s Tokyo Designers Week gets its creative juices flowing with more markets, music and a festival vibe.

  • Flip a skirt a month in 2014

    Kaori Kato’s Skirt Flipping Calendar enters its second year, while sticky notes debut.

Our Users Say

  • More Than Red: Great photos. Thank you for sharing.
  • kenji: A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!
  • John Moore: I believed that blue, green, purple and black were inherently boy colors, while red, orange, yellow and...
  • deepak kumar: It is commom nature of guman being to play safe.
  • Janel: Not sure I could do the avocado before I read this. But it doesn’t really look too good on that burger!
Japan Times RSS Feed


  • No items