Osaka: Special Goshuin Sheet Featuring Dragon Painted by Ukrainian Evacuees Offered at Shrine

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A giant wooden plaque painted by Nina Butieva, left, and Daria Ternova Bordun

OSAKA — A goshuin sheet featuring a dragon painted by Ukrainian artists is being offered at Abe Oji Shrine in Osaka.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A special goshuin sheet designed by Ukrainian artists offered at Abe Oji Shrine in Abeno Ward, Osaka

Japanese temples and shrines offer visitors red-ink stamps called goshuin that commemorate a visit to a specific temple or shrine. The dragon sheet with the shrine’s stamp was made as a special goshuin to pray for peace and a portion of its ¥1,000 price — called hatsuhoryo — will be used to support Ukrainian evacuees living in Japan.

A blue dragon is pictured on the sheet, powerfully clutching a jewel ball with flaming yellow and orange dorsal fins. Earlier this year, Nina Butieva, 43, and Daria Ternova Bordun, 21, dedicated a giant wooden plaque depicting the dragon to the shrine, measuring 0.7 meters in length and 1.2 meters in width. The special goshuin features a depiction of this dragon. The shrine began offering the sheet on Feb. 1.

“The dragon represents the inner strength and dignity of the Ukrainian people, who haven’t been shattered by war,” Nina said.

Nina used to run a painting class in Ukraine but fled to Japan with her fellow artist Daria due to Russian aggression in February 2022. They have been living in Japan for nearly a year and a half.

“People are kind here and we’ve been living safe, but it pains me to think of my family and friends who remain in my country,” Nina said. Daria added, “I hope things will return to normal soon.”