The Yomiuri Shimbun KYOTO—Many people have written their hopes that figure skater Daisuke Takahashi will recover completely from his leg injury on ema wooden tablets at Go Shrine, as the shrine is said to heal legs and other parts of the lower body.
Legend has it that Wake-no Kiyomaro, a Nara period (710-784) nobleman enshrined at Go, was protected by 300 wild boars when he was attacked by swordsmen sent by a powerful evil priest. His leg tendons, which were injured by the priest, were also healed.
Kiyomaro is thus worshiped as the guardian deity of legs, since boars are seen as having strong legs. This idea is also contained in the Japanese phrase “chototsu moshin,” which means “rushing headlong like a boar” into something.
Takahashi was told he had a contusion on his right shin bone in November last year. According to the shrine, ema tablets praying for his complete recovery began pouring in right before the all-Japan figure skating championships in December and the number sharply increased around the New Year holiday season.
The about 150 ema tablets contain such wishes as “I hope his right leg will be cured” and “I hope we can see his nice smile in Sochi.” Some women came from as far as Saitama and Tokushima prefectures, according to the shrine.
“I want him to give a powerful performance while keeping in mind the hope everyone has for him,” said Takahiro Hongo, the shrine’s senior priest.