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Can someone tell me what the second character is?

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It's 難 "difficulty". The text reads [厄難消除]{やくなんしょうじょ}, and is a wish for the removal of misfortunes and difficulties.

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4

This is 難. The whole phrase is 厄難消除【やくなんしょうじょ】. The style of writing used here is called 行書【ぎょうしょ】 which is sometimes called "semi-cursive" script in English. The full cursive script is called 草書【そうしょ】.

See Google images for more examples.

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