Paper Talisman

Overdoing it a bit?

These paper tags, also known as "ofuda", are used in Shinto and Onmyodo for purification and exorcisms or as wards. They are sometimes used with Shide, and most commonly at Shinto Shrines or by Miko.

Taoists also use a version of the tags called Fu. In Buddhism and Hinduism they are called Sutras. In Korean shamanism they are known as Pujok.

In Anime and Manga they can do anything, even explode.

The western equivalent would be a conspicuously-placed rosary or crucifix, although it was common practice in the Middle Ages to use thin parchment prayer scrolls and wax seals in a similar fashion.

Closely related to Paper Master, and a form of Functional Magic.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • Ai Yori Aoshi - Taeko the Nightmare Fetishist papers the entire house with both types of wards when rumors of a ghost pop up.
  • Sailor Moon - Rei, a miko as well as a Magical Girl, uses these to complement her magic. They have effects such as dispelling a petrifying venom, immobilizing the Monster of the Week, and making Jadeite's possessed planes chase him instead of the Senshi. Mostly used for immobilization so Usagi can attack, though.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei:
    • Kafuka overdoes it (in above picture) when she doesn't want Kiri to leave her house.
    • Also Kafuka uses the tags during the Magical Girl spoof as a shoutout to Rei.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Setsuna is known to use ofuda, and once used them to protect the hotel from Onmyodo Shikigami note  during the Kyoto arc.
    • Mana also uses a Teleportation Sutra vs Kaede during the Festival Arc, apparently they cost 800,000 yen each (Single Use).
    • Kaede herself uses these in one of her stronger attacks. She throws Fuuma Shuriken (smaller than that one, though) to wrap chains around her opponent. Chains with ofuda dangling from the links. If you've seen the series below, you know what comes next...
  • Naruto - Exploding paper tags can be used as mines, time bombs, or even grenades (if tied to a kunai and thrown). One infamous ninja even attaches them to his sword, and the resident Paper Master uses them to great effect. Additionally, binding talismans show up every now and again, such as those worn by Ao and the First Hokage's wife, Mito, as well as the seals used to take control of the people summoned with Impure World Resurrection (Edo Tensei in the Japanese).
  • In the Pokémon anime, some characters use these to repel ghost Pokemon.
    • Ironically, in the games, the Spell Tag item strengthens the power of Ghost-type moves.
      • However, there is another item, the Cleanse Tag, that decreases the wild Pokemon encounter rate if the lead Pokemon in the party is holding it.
    • The Pokémon Jirachi (who is said to have the power to fulfill wishes) has three paper tags attached to it.
  • Darkstalkers - Lei-Lei uses the Taoist variant since she's a jiangshi.
  • Marron in Sorcerer Hunters uses these to case his spells.
  • Several mages/priest in Clamp's X1999, most notably Subaru and Seishiro.
  • Dennou Coil uses these as "metatags", to modify virtual objects.
  • Inuyasha. Buddhist monk Miroku often uses sutras as weapons against demons.
  • They pop up from time to time in Ghost Hunt - both the Miko and the Buddhist Monk of the team can make them. They're usually used to create barriers against evil spirits, or contain and redirect same.
  • These have a particularly funny use in the first A Chinese Ghost Story movie. The unlucky protagonist, having gotten his clothes soaked, accidentally backs into a stall selling these, ending up with six of them stuck to his back (and the inscriptions remaining after the angry shopkeeper peels them off, resulting in another dunking later).
  • Kyouko from Ga-Rei uses these to summon Shikigami.
  • Jun Tao uses Chinese jufu talismans to control her guardian zombie, Lee Bailong, in Shaman King.
  • In Rental Magica, meets Death Dealer. Because Onmyodo adepts can be that badass too.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de's onmyoji Abe no Yasuaki and Abe no Yasutsugu use these; the effect varies from creating energy shields to exorcism to just plain stopping some annoying Sleep Mode Size'd youkai from following them around.
  • In Black Cat, Shiki (ambiguously an AU Onmyoji) uses these with his/her Tao.
  • The medicine peddler in Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales and Mononoke throws out an absurd amount from his defensive arsenal against demons.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Taomon has a (once-used) attack that fires a thousand of the things (the explody variety) at her opponent.
  • These are used occasionally in Ranma ˝ most noticeably in the story arc with the Oni.
  • Yamigumo Nami, the resident Miko of Silent Mobius uses ofuda along with holy water to do magic, ranging from barriers to putting down lesser monsters.
  • Syaoran uses these in Cardcaptor Sakura...both to defeat Clow Cards and (once) to set Touya's jacket on fire.
  • In Bloody Cross, Hinata uses paper talismans in most of his spells.
  • Yui Lee from Vampire Princess Miyu
  • In YuYu Hakusho, the bandages that cover Mukuro's face have ofudas all over them.
  • These keep vampires away in Shiki. At one point they're all over Natsuno's room.
  • Nanami uses them in Kamisama Kiss, first to do things like make plants bloom or send messages to other people. She gets more creative with them as the series progresses, even using one concerning Traffic Safety to kill a couple of demonic thugs chasing her.
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends, paper tailsman are commonly used in exorcism on youkai (and sometimes humans). While exorcists are the common user of them, the Natori clan even specializes in this art, ayakashi can also use them on other youkai.
  • Yurie of Kamichu! makes very little use of ofuda, which is kind of surprising given that it's virtually the only use of her power that doesn't put her into an exhausted sleep while getting very powerful results. A full episode is devoted to her improving her handwriting by studying with the boy she loves, Kenji, which results in her writing absolutely no ofuda (though one of Kenji's is later empowered.)
  • Tokyo Ravens: Used by everyone as the magic system is based on Onmyodo.
  • In each of the first three parts of Sazan Eyes, paper talismans play an important role:
    • In the first part: while promising of capturing the "moster" haunting Huang's villa Ling Ling offers a huge demon-repelling talisman for protection, causing all the presents (who are all supernatural beings of sort, unknown to her) to become scared and step back. Later on Ju use a paper talisman to bind Pai. Said talisman is later used to finish him off.
    • In the second part: Zhou Gui can use paper talismans to cast magic, called "Soul Cutting Dragon" (Zhang Ling Long) and "Soul Freezing Dragon" (Dong Ling Long). He usually carries the blank papers and a pen with him.
    • In the third part: Huang Shun Li/Xun Gui plans to summon a soul-eating monster called Quan for her plans, and it's said that 108 sacred talismans are required to make him manifest in a physical form. Said talismans also shields him from other magic, but also make him easy to burn.

  • Deadpool's enemy T-Ray used pieces of paper with Japanese-looking writing on them to achieve various magical effects. They may have been Ofuda.

  • The heroine of D-War covers the inside of her house with these after she discovers that her birthmark cum tattoo is glowing. It doesn't actually make that much more sense in context.
  • The morticians in the Chinese Vampire movie Mr. Vampire can paralyze the jiangshi when they attach these to the creatures' foreheads.

  • Though it takes place in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan, paper talismans in Spirit Hunters are primarily used by Tao priestess Kitsune Sura, who can erect magical barriers that block spirits with them

     Live Action TV 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures.
    • Oriental magic items included four Charms of Protection (from disease, fire, spirits and theft). They were made of yellow or red paper with inked inscriptions involving supplications or threats toward various deities. They protected any building they were attached to.
  • Several Charms of the Sidereal Exalted require the preparation of Prayer Strips, which are then used up by the activation of the Charm.
    • Venus, the Maiden of Serenity, is also often accompanied by floating wisps of paper. When she cares to fight, she typically uses them as weapons.
  • In the Hyper Asian Fantasy Tenra Bansho ZERO the onmyouji use to summon/create there shikigami servants.
  • The Purity Seals preferred by the Imperium Of Man in Warhammer40000 are essentially the Western version from the page description, a strip of parchment inscribed with a benediction of some kind, and affixed with wax.

    Video Games 
  • Dynasty Warriors - Zuo Ci a Taoist uses 6 tags as his weapon which he swings in a line or dance around him.
  • These are a major gameplay mechanic in Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja. Talismans can be used directly to cast spells or stuck onto equipment to customize it.
  • These are... pretty common in Touhou. Reimu and Sanae, the resident Miko, are the most strongly associated with them, but they get used by a fair number of bosses and even some generic fairies.
    • Several characters have ofuda as parts of their outfits: Mokou has them attached to her pants (possibly to make the pants fireproof), Yoshika has one on her hat (as a magically-raised zombie/Chinese Vampire), and Tojiko has her dress adorned with them (for no apparent reason).
  • The Kiki Kai Kai series has player character/protagonist Sayo-chan, a miko who uses ofuda as ranged weapons and an oharai stick as a melee weapon.
  • Show up in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in the Arbiter's Grounds miniboss room. You enter to see a huge, ominous sword tied down with a bunch of ropes with papers hanging on them. Every single gamer, viewer and troper instinct screams at you not to remove the seals, but of course...
  • The Fatal Frame series uses these to keep certain doors sealed until you find and photograph a specific item to remove the ofuda (in the third game, they're shaped like people), effectively similar to finally finding the proper "key" to "unlock" its door in order to make progress.
  • In Dungeon Fighter Online the Exorcist subclass uses several different paper talismans with various effects, such as Holy, Red Phoenix, Suppression, and Lightning amulets.
  • Shin Megami Tensei games have them as the result of casting Hama spells, One-Hit KO light-type spells.
  • Nu-13 and Mu-12 from BlazBlue both have several red talismans hanging from their cloaks. They don't seem to do anything special, though, and disappear along with the cloaks as soon as they get into their battle armor.
  • They appear in Corpse Party on a few doors to prevent you from going in until you find a way to break them.
  • Sheena from Tales of Symphonia uses these to summon creatures, and...apparently to punch as well, as she never puts them away during combat.
  • In Perfect World, the basic fire spell for the wizard class is essentially throwing a burning paper talisman against a target.
  • The second case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies takes place in a remote village whose culture is centered around fear of the Youkai. One of the characters you meet is Jinxie Tenma, who uses talismans everywhere to ward off anything she believes will invite the Youkai (including Apollo himself, whom she mistakes for a demon, as well as on herself).
  • The Platform Game Youkai Yashiki has the player collect five paper talismans for a key on each level.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, Caster uses her Curse-type skills by throwing talismans with different inscriptions on them at her opponent.
  • Diablo II had several types of "charms" - items that, in most cases, looked like pieces of parchment with some artwork on them. Keeping them in your inventory would yield some bonuses.

  • In Distillum these are Sidney's main tool of work.
  • The Fox Sister: Yun Hee's Pujok charms are the Korean version.

    Web Original 
  • Magical Border Patrol: Jake Harrier uses them to banish Spirits, although he can apparently use them for other things.

Alternative Title(s):

Fu, Sutra, Ofuda