Japan is the weird and wonderful country where it often seems like anything goes in terms of entertainment and pop culture. It’s a whole other world and I love it, especially when I hear about things like Kanamara Matsuri, the annual festival held every spring in honor of men’s nether regions.
It’s all for a good cause. The festival is said to have roots all the way back to the 17th century, during which prostitutes used to pray for protection against STDs at the Kanamara shrine in Kawasaki. These days, the causes are a bit more modern. It’s all about safe sex and also helps to raise money for HIV prevention programs in the country.
It’s been held every year since 1969. Which is sort of beautifully poetic, don’t you think? The legend behind the tale says that a demon once fell in love a woman and hid inside of her vagina, eventually biting off her husband’s junk when they slept together. She felt bad so she asked a blacksmith to make a metal organ to break the demon’s teeth and free her from its curse. It worked, and thus the p*nis became a holy object of sorts.
There’s a parade and everything! Every spring, women and men dressed as women parade a large pink phallus through the streets of Kawasaki as onlookers celebrate on the sidelines. The object is actually a portable mikoshi, or shrine, so it’s actually a very formal affair. Oh, and by the way, the shrine is called Elizabeth, if you were curious.
You can grab memorabilia shaped like guys’ junk while you’re at it. People hit up p*nis-shaped popsicles and buy candles shaped like the organ as well. Everyone sings and dances and even pose on top of a giant wooden dong, because why wouldn’t you?
This year’s festival is coming up. The official date is April 5, 2020, meaning you still have time to book flights to Japan and secure a hotel room for the big event. If nothing else, you’ll experience something unlike anything else you’ve ever been part of and have lifelong memories. Isn’t that what travel is all about?
— ναελέ~~ (@belleelene) April 7, 2019
Feels like it's been coming up for a while, but at long last, tomorrow is the Kanamara Matsuri, or "Festival of the Steel Phallus", here in Kawasaki. Can't wait for all the excitement and to see our town rise to the occasion. #かなまら祭り 🍆 https://t.co/oxoxtA6cSp pic.twitter.com/HUjr9SQjmP
— Ben Taylor (@Benjamin_Taylor) April 6, 2019
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