Although The Kanamara Matsuri, or ‘Festival of the Steel Phallus,’ has come and gone, there is a lot to be said about this Japanese tradition.
First off, there is such a thing as a penis festival.
Now that we are past the shocking reality of this fact and although The Kanamara Matsuri, or ‘Festival of the Steel Phallus,’ has come and gone, there is a lot to be said about this Japanese tradition.
The Independent has broken down most of the major facts that make up this epic if strange celebration.
The festival is held on an annual basis in Kawasaki, which is south of Tokyo. Tourists are awed by the sight of massive penis mikoshi, or portable shrines, which are usually paraded through the town during the course of the festivities.
Each mikoshi is reportedly carried by dozens of locals dressed in happi coats and sweatbands, while some of the men wear fundoshi, loin cloth-style underwear.
According to the reports, the Kanamara Matsuri is a serious religious affair and is linked to Japan’s nature-worshiping Shinto religion.
The festival is reportedly organized by the priests of Kanayama Jinja, a place where couples pray for fertility and marital harmony.
The Japanese history reveals that back in the 17th and 19th centuries, sex workers would come and pray to be healed of sexually transmitted diseases gotten on the job.
The festival is a joyful and blatant celebration of the penis. The parade features three mikoshi, each containing an enormous disembodied phallus.
The first of the three which is erect and made of shiny black metal is carried by a group of whistling and chanting shrine-bearers.
The second is an old wooden model, which is ancient and looks gnarled.
The third is usually carried by a joso (members of a cross-dressing club called Elizabeth Kaikan who are usually decked out in bright makeup and colorful wigs) group.
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