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Paper Talisman
aka: Ofuda

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These paper tags, also known as "ofuda", are used in Shinto and Onmyōdō 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.

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.

In Anime and Manga they can do anything, even explode. If in the form of a card, a Death Dealer may use these.

Compare with Paper Master, a form of Functional Magic that uses paper.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai Yori Aoshi - Taeko the Nightmare Fetishist papers the entire house with both types of wards when rumors of a ghost pop up.
  • Dragon Ball: The Mafuba (Evil Containment Wave) lets one use any mundane container — even an electric rice cooker — to seal away an opponent, so long as one uses the proper ofuda. In the Piccolo Jr. Saga of the original series, Kami gets around this by simply writing the kanji for the technique on the jar itself (though the fact that he's God probably helps), while in the Future Trunks Saga of Dragon Ball Super, the technique would have defeated an immortal enemy if Goku hadn't forgotten the ofuda.note 
  • 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. Noteably the only Senshi attack not tied to her transformed state (though it's given stock footage anyways). In the anime she combines it with her actual Senshi powers to create the Fire Soul Bird attack, while in the Manga, Minako gets to use the attack during a side story that involved Rei getting possessed. One of the movies lets her use it against dozens of possessed humans at once, complete with her apparently summoning dozens of the Ofudas in a fancy non-stock footage attack, while not transformed.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei:
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Setsuna is known to use ofuda, and once used them to protect the hotel from Onmyōdō 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: The Series anime, some characters use these to repel ghost Pokémon.
  • Marron in Sorcerer Hunters uses these to case his spells.
  • Several mages/priest in Clamp's X/1999, most notably Subaru and Seishiro.
  • Den-noh 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.
  • 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 Onmyōdō 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 ½ most noticeably in the story arc with the Oni.
  • Yamigumo Nami, the resident Miko of Silent Möbius 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.
    • Exorcists, monks and other humans in Natsume's Book of Friends use paper talismans to seal and otherwise affect and interact with youkai, gods and spirits.
  • 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 Onmyōdō.
  • In each of the first three parts of 3×3 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.
    • For the rest of the series, paper talismans are commonly employed as demon-killing or demon-repelling tools by taoists and sorcerers, as Hasrath Hahn or Steve Long, most notably to protect the world-wide communication system from Shiva's soul-harvesting spell.
  • The first member of the Juttenkun to appear in Hoshin Engi is Yotenkun, whose spacial Paopei Rakkonjin consist in a vast, cilindrical space full of massive paper charms of varying size, from which he can fire soul-reaping beams of light. Even outside of his Paopei, he can summon the "Rakkon Talismans" to blow things up, a technique that is later copied by Yozen.
  • The Onmyoji of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan use this of course. They have various uses, including crafting Shikigami to fight. Yura, the resident Child Prodigy, can summon up to four shikigami at her first appearance.
  • The youkai killer and exorcist Hyo from Ushio and Tora frequently employs paper charms along with his roped darts. During his final duel with his nemesis Guren, it's revealed that he managed to put Ofuda charms even inside his own body, like the arm Guren just ate, which are then used to kill the rogue Azafuse from the inside out.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The onmyouji Abe no Seimei uses several varities of these through both Onmyōji films to perform various spells.

  • Fengshen Yanyi: taoists Immortals can use enchanted paper talismans applied to people to protect them or to invoke various effects. Taiyi Zhenren possess a set of talismans which he uses to turn Nezha invisible, while the sage Jiuliusun owns a set of talismans that can transmute the earth into solid steel, used to counter the magic technique of his disciple Tuxingsun (who can move underground freely). Jiang Ziya also makes use of demon-repelling talismans in a few occasions, such as applying them to the Jade Pipa Spirit's human disguise to keep her from running away and applying them to peach wood columns to set up a trap for the Gao Brothers, the tree spirits.
  • 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
  • In The Girl from the Well, while trapped in heavily haunted Aitou village during The Suffering, Kagura uses ofuda to ward rooms against intrusion by the hostile ghosts.
  • Whateley Universe: A number of mages in the series use 'spell slips', even when a given wizard's or witch's magic is otherwise from a Western tradition.
    • Bladedancer, whose powers stem from Taoist magic, uses Fu for binding spirits and demons, and as a way of preparing spells ahead of time.
    • Abracadabra, who is a middle school student, uses disposable paper sheets to write Runic Magic, though the implication seems to be that this is a crutch until she learns how to cast with Instant Runes.
    • Glyph, who is unable to use magical incantations due to her specific Avatar spirit, has to use various kinds of written or drawn spells, which often includes scrolls or slips of various kinds (as well as Power Tattoos).
    • During a trip outside of the school, She-Beast is shown enchanting an otherwise ordinary deck of cards with various cantrips meant to calm, confuse, or distract anyone who might attack her as a way of de-escalating any conflicts.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Rebecca, an elite witch from an evil Wizarding School, uses these. Hers are powerful enough that she can blow up strong magical shields simply by slapping a single paper charm onto them.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures: Oriental magic items include four Charms of Protection (from disease, fire, spirits and theft). They are made of yellow or red paper with inked inscriptions involving supplications or threats toward various deities. They protect any building they are attached to.
  • Exalted:
    • 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 Warhammer 40,000 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 
  • The Convenience Store: A woman in a Little Black Dress gives you a protection talisman one night. On another, you find a whole bunch of these that you can use to exorcise a small shed, allowing you to go inside it.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • Zuo Ci a Taoist uses 6 tags as his weapon which he swings in a line or dance around him.
    • Starting in Samurai Warriors 2, Kanetsugu Naoe's weapon is a sword and a handful of spell-tags, which he mostly seem to use to shoot Frickin' Laser Beams...
  • Eastern Exorcist has a boss, Tang Ming the exorcist of a Taoist sect, who launches burning Taoist talismans as projectiles. That explodes when it touches your character, a half-human, half-hulijing hybrid.
  • Endless Nightmare: Curse have you playing as a badasss Taoist warrior-priest, and you can fire flaming paper talismans with inscriptions on them as ranged attacks. You also have a finishing move that allows you to execute zombies instantly, by pasting a Taoist talisman on them causing the undead to burn up.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Fei attacks enemies by striking them with ofuda, as befitting a Taoist spiritual mage. The Jiangshi raised by Master Wu also wear these over their faces, as is natural for them.
  • 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 Project. 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.
    • Reimu's Ofuda are unusual in that, rather than any kind of spiritual message, the writing on them is 大入 ("ooiri"), a phrase written on red and white envelopes of money given as gifts or bonuses. It's been suggested that she does this to trick youkai into approaching them, or it could be taken as another sign of Reimu's own money-hungry personality.
    • 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). Shion can be mistaken for having them randomly plastered all over her clothing, but those are actually debt notices.
  • The Kiki Kai Kai series has the main protagonist Sayo-chan, a miko who uses ofuda as ranged weapons and an oharai stick as a melee weapon.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, upon entering the Arbiter's Grounds miniboss room, you 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, and indeed, viewing the sword with wolf senses shows an otherwise invisible demonic spirit kneeling, gripping the sword, and patiently waiting for some fool to show up and release it. As if it wasn't obvious, you gotta be that fool.
    • The Yiga Ninja of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild leave behind a flurry of red paper talismans along with a cloud of smoke when they teleport around or remove their disguises. The Sheikah Monk Maz Koshia also makes use of them, as does Impa in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
  • Onmyōji (2016), of course, but it seems that Seimei is the one using them most frequently, tossing them around in most of his skills. And then there's the Summoning feature, which is basically a game of lottery in which you draw weird shapes on talismans before sending them off into the summoning circle, hoping to acquire a shikigami of high rarity.
  • The Fatal Frame series uses these to keep certain doors sealed until you find and photograph a specific item or ghost 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.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei and Persona 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.
  • These are used by Lailah in Tales of Zestiria and Laphicet in its distant prequel Tales of Berseria in the same way. Magilou in Tales of Berseria also uses a single one as her weapon and it stretches and retracts.
  • PAGUI, a duology set in the spirit world of Taiwan, naturally have these:
    • Grandma, the exorcist from the first game summons a magic shield made of floating paper talismans to take down a powerful ghost-demon.
    • In the sequel, the Taoist ghost-priest boss can spam paper talismans as projectiles. He's also depicted with various talismans pasted all over him, with two covering his eyes.
    • One of your attack against the game's recurring ghost enemies are exploding paper talismans, as well.
  • Paranormal HK have you collecting taoist paper talismans to exorcise the ghost possessing your friend, Kathy, to retrieve her. In the last stage, you managed to escape the haunted Kowloon Walled City on a car whose hood is plastered with those charms - ghosts hit by surfaces with the charms simply Disappears into Light on contact.
  • 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 The Secret World, certain enemies in Tokyo can't be permanently destroyed by even your strongest attacks unless you make proper use of an ofuda.
  • Darkstalkers: Lei-Lei uses the Taoist variant since she's a jiangshi.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Mythical Pokémon Jirachi, who is said to have the power to fulfill wishes, has three paper tags attached to its head.
    • The Cleanse Tag and Spell Tag held items, which reduce the encounter rate of wild Pokémon and boost the power of Ghost-type moves respectively.
    • Channelers in Pokémon Red and Blue as well as its remakes can be seen with paper charms as well.
  • In the Puyo Puyo games, Cute Ghost Girl Yu gets a paper talisman placed on her head in her damage animations.
  • Qiqi of Genshin Impact, being a Chinese Vampire and an Undead Child, sports one of these attached to her hat, dangling in front of and partially covering up her face.
  • Ghostlore allows you to summon Taoist paper talismans as projectile attacks against the supernatural.
  • Dark Cloud features these in the form of preventing the game's status effects. They were localised as "Amulets" - which caused some people to wonder why they would eventually "rip". Its Sequel also brought them back, but they were still called "Amulet".

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

  • In Distillum these are Sidney's main tool of work while dispelling anomalies - her shed is practically wallpapered with them.
  • The Fox Sister: Yun Hee's Pujok charms are the Korean version.

    Western Animation 
  • A Thousand and One... Americas: A rare pre-Columbian equivalent is seen in the twenty-first episode with the sheets made of gold used by the Quimbaya tribe (in the territory that is known today as Bogota, the capital of Colombia) by placing them in the fences surrounding their homes so the sound made with them and the wind repels the evil spirits.

Alternative Title(s): Fu, Sutra, Ofuda