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In a lot of supernatural anime, like Shin Sekai Yori, or Tokyo Ravens there often appear these large ropes with folded paper things hanging from them:

sacred barrier

As far as I can tell, they serve to seal or mark places that are sacred or in some way supernatural, like shinboku, or holy trees:

shinboku

What are these folded paper things, and what purpose do they really serve?

  • 1
    It's a shide. You question is also off-topic, unless you care to rephrase it in the scope of an anime or manga. – кяαzєя Jun 11 '15 at 2:05
  • Sadly we're not Japanese Culture.SE – кяαzєя Jun 11 '15 at 2:07
  • Oh.. I looked and couldn't find anything like that >.< – HotelCalifornia Jun 11 '15 at 2:08
  • This question primarily pertains to Japanese Culture rather than Anime or Manga. If you would revise your question to be more about the use of this in anime and manga subculture or a particular series you saw it in, it might be more on-topic for this site. – кяαzєя Jun 11 '15 at 2:20
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    I personally think that if you could rephrase it it would be useful to a lot of other people. Having it as it right now might give other ppl the idea that it's okay to ask stuff about Japanese culture that they just happen to see in a manga. It's like asking on Stack Overflow about "code" you saw in a movie. – кяαzєя Jun 11 '15 at 2:28
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The zigzagged paper streamer things you mention are called "shide." They are in essence wards for purification. They are often seen with the rice straw rope they are attached to are called "shimenawa." Together they marks the boundary to something sacred (or rather mark the boundary between the sacred and that which is not) and can typically be found can be found on torii gates, around sacred trees and stones, etc. They are intended to keep impurities out and purify the space within.

As the same time, they can also be use to prevent, or rather seal the passage of gods. According to the Kojiki (a oral collection of myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.), shimenawa was first used to prevent the sun goddess Amaterasu from re-entering a cave to save the world from eternal night.

In the Shin Sekai Yori anime, it's mentioned "evil spirits" and "monsters" are roam outside the town and any child who ventures out alone would suffer terribly. Hacchijoume is the shimenawa that encircles Kamisu's District 66, erecting a sacred barrier that protects the town from outside forces.

5

The Zigzag-shaped paper streamers are called Shide and are used in Shinto rituals. They can be seen in many animes that are located near Shinto shrines. To create one you can cut out a piece of paper like the diagram below and fold the paper along the dotted lines.

Shide cutout diagram

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