Celebration of Happiness (1) – Shinto Ema (Japan)

Shinto Ema

"Happiness – Put Down In Words What You Really Want"


Many a times, only on putting down in words do we realize what gives us actually joy, not just materialistic gains but soulful pleasures is what we mostly look for.


It started in ancient times when people used to donate horses to the shrines in exchange for a wish. The horses were substituted by Emas which are wooden plaques on which people write down their wishes and put them before their gods in the hope of them being fulfilled. Images of horses and other animals are put on the Ema along with the wishes as a symbol of favor offered to the gods.



Used as a platform to express what you desire, the Emas are made out of wod and people take the liberty to express their wishes in whichever way they like, depicting their wishes with pictures and decorating their emas in beautiful ways. These plaques are then left hanging at the shrines where the gods are believed to receive the wishes of the people and grant them what they desire. With changing times, the offerings of people have shifted from horses to mere pictures of horses and other animals but the belief in this tradition continues to live in the hearts of the people.


If you do not know where you are going, that’s where you will end up

To follow this in your life, write on a piece of paper what you want to do, what you want to have and even when you want to have it. You need not do anything with the paper or not even show it anyone. Just keep it safely and believe that you will get it.

This blog is inspired by: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World (Lonely Planet)


Piyuesh Modi

Co-Founder and Sketch Note Blogger at PagePotato.com
Piyuesh works as Digital Marketing Expert and director at PagePotato.com. He is also a social entrepreneur at LearnAnythingFree.com and active volunteer at oneworld-citizens.org. He takes coaching sessions on Entrepreneurship, Internet Marketing, Visual thinking and Jugaad Innovation. In his free time, he likes practicing Salsa, Acroyoga, PoleDancing, Sketch note taking and Painting. All his doodles and sketches can be found@https://medium.com/@piyueshmodi
Piyuesh Modi