Believe it to achieve it: Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2018 Votive Tablets
Mac here. With the season just around the corner, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Baseball Team recently dropped into the Meiji Jingu Shrine to wish for success in the 2018 season. A few days later I was there with guests uncovering evidence of their visit!
The Meiji Jingu Shrine gets thousands of visitors every day and many people choose to write a votive tablet, an ema, to express their wishes for themselves, family, friends and the world… and their baseball teams. We have written extensively about the history and culture of ema on the Maction Planet blog – you can check that out here.
Baseball is a common theme for ema writers, especially in Kansai amongst fans of the Hanshin Tigers, the most popular team in the region. At Meiji Jingu these ema cost ¥500 and are hung up on boards around one of the two sacred camphor trees in the grounds of the main shrine.
On the 1st of March the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Baseball Team made their annual visit to the Meiji Jingu shrine to wish for a successful season. A few days later, on the 4th of March, I was guiding Matthew Marsh, Founder of First Class Vending, and family. We had just grabbed a coffee from a delightful independent third-wave stand in Sangubashi and were beginning our day proper in Tokyo’s largest and most important Shinto shrine.
I had seen the news reports of the Swallows’ visit. There was a photo of Norichika Aoki, who recently returned to the team after 6 years in the US, pointing to his ema on the Tokyo Yakult Swallows Twitter.
With so many ema added daily I didn’t expect to find it three days later but we did, to great excitement from me that was soon share by my guests… especially as we started finding other ema written by the team! So, without further ado, here they are:
Norichika Aoki: 日本一 (Japan’s Number One – win the Japan Series)
Yasuhiro Ogawa: 優勝 (Win the championship); 日本一 (Win Japan Series); 15勝 (15 wins (as pitcher))
Shoitsu Omatsu: 健康 (Stay healthy); 日本一 (Win Japan Series)
Masato Nakazawa: リーグ優勝 (Win the (Central) League championship); 日本一 (Win Japan Series); 50試合登板 (Pitch in 50 games)
Koji Yamakawa: 日本一 (Win Japan Series)
Naomichi Nishiura: 身体健全 (Healthy body); 日本一 (Win Japan Series)
Ryosuke Morioka: いつもありがとうございます (Thank you always); 導 (Guidance)
Yuhei Nakamura: 日本一 (Win Japan Series); 全試合出場 (Play in every game); 結果として残す (Achieve, produce results)
Harutaka Kuramoto: 日本一 (Win Japan Series)
Taishi Hirooka: 一軍 (Play in the first team); 日本一 (Win Japan Series)
There were also ema written by fans of the team, expressing similar sentiments:
After last year, when the team achieved their highest number of losses in a single season in the franchise’s history, we are happy to take all the help we can get! I’m sure all Swallows fans are hoping these were ¥500s well spent.
The 2018 Japan Baseball Season begins on 30 March. On 3 April, we are hosting a special group tour to the opening game at Meiji Jingu stadium. Tickets are extremely limited and close to selling out. Contact us ASAP to join.
Maction Planet runs Tokyo Baseball Tours throughout the Japan Baseball season. Guests have repeatedly told us, and reviewed on TripAdvisor, that a visit to Jingu Stadium on a Maction Planet Baseball Experience is one of the true highlights of a trip to The World’s Greatest Metropolis. You will not just be watching the game – you will be part of the Swallows community. We even provide all the gear – cheering batons, shirts, caps and mini umbrellas – required to make you look and sound the part of a true fan!
When the Swallows are not at home, we have taken guests to home games of the Yomiuri Giants, Yokohama Baystars, Seibu Lions or Chiba Lotte Marines. We also run Tokyo College Baseball Tours, which is an entirely different experience to the professional game!
Whatever your interests in Tokyo, contact us at email@example.com!