Revelers carried giant phalluses through the streets of Kawasaki on Sunday to worship the humble penis and fertility in one of the world's most unusual festivals.
Size matters at the Shinto Kanamara Matsuri, where groups of locals parade three heavy phalluses around the city — the biggest as tall as a full-grown man.
Giggling festival-goers, including young children and grandmothers dressed in kimono, sucked on lollipops in the shape of penises and posed with phallus-shaped sculptures as political correctness was ignored for the day.
An anatomically correct radish-carving contest drew a large crowd of sniggering onlookers, while blushing parents perched their babies on a giant see-saw of frighteningly accurate likeness to pray for fertility.
Tens of thousands gather every spring for the festival, where they can buy keepsakes such as key chains, trinkets, pens, chocolates and even toy glasses with a plastic penis nose.
For the local priest of the Kanayama Shrine, however, it is no laughing matter.
“If young children are not used to seeing (male genitalia), they could get into a bit of a panic when the time comes,” Hiroyuki Nakamura explained, talking about the festival’s educational role.
“People come to pray for good fortune and to ask the gods to protect them. The festival is steeped in the past but has still has a valuable part to play in modern society.”
Known as the Festival of the Steel Phallus — or colloquially as the “Willy Festival” — legend has it that in the Edo Period (1603-1868) a sharp-toothed demon inhabiting a woman’s vagina castrated several unfortunate young men on their wedding nights.
source by japantimes