Samurai Blue fans pray for World Cup success at ‘soccer shrine’

Ema prayer tablets inscribed with wishes for the success of Japan’s national soccer team at the World Cup in Qatar cover a wall at Ashiosha shrine in Nisshin, Aichi Prefecture. Ashinazuchi-no-Kami, the god responsible for feet and waist health, is enshrined at Ashiosha, which produces ema tablets and amulets bearing soccer motifs, including the Japan national soccer team emblem. The holy site has attracted football fans from across the country since 2002 when the World Cup was held in Japan and South Korea, earning it the sobriquet “soccer shrine.”