For ¥1,000 each, Chofukujuji temple in Chiba Prefecture sells silk omamori amulets embroidered with an image of Tsuno Daishi (Great Horned Master), the demon-like incarnation of the 10th-century Buddhist monk Ryogen. Legend says Ryogen fought off yakubyo-gami (deities transmitting epidemics) by transforming into a devilish monster.
Since then, Ganzan Daishi, as the monk is also known, has been revered for his magical powers to dispel sickness and other misfortunes, purported virtues that are being sought after as the nation grapples with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“We make around 300 of these omamori each week, praying that it wards off the coronavirus,” says Choshu Imai, head monk of the 1,200-year-old temple. “We also have an online shop where worshippers can purchase them without having to physically visit our temple. They’re selling fast.”