Thomas Edison Honored in Shinto Ritual

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4025 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4025 Articles

Article Featured Image

My friend, and HacDC cohort, Katie Bechtold, who’s been living in Japan of late, posted this item to her Flickr photostream:

Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. Thomas Edison used bamboo from the area around this shrine as a filament for his first light bulbs, and nowadays the shrine sells Edison-themed ema (among more standard designs) and maintains an Edison memorial.

The kanji phrase on this ema is the last part of which means ‘prayer’ (I don’t know what to make of the first part). Beneath that it is the Edison quote – “[genius is] one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

MissionControl’s Photostream