When it comes to the Japanese, they are known for their unusual traditions. In one such display of traditional stunt, each spring, people flock to Kawasaki, Japan, to celebrate Kanamara Matsuri, aka the “Festival of the Steel Phallus”, where groups of locals parade three heavy phalluses around the city – the biggest as tall as a full-grown man.
It is believed to have roots in the 17th century, when sex workers prayed for protection from sexually transmitted infections at Kawasaki’s Kanamara shrine.
For the local priest of the Kanamara 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 said, explaining the festival’s educational role to The Phucket News.
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.
People parade gigantic phallic-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrines) down the streets during the event, as revelers suck on penis lollipops and collect (penis-y) memorabilias.
Even if it is an age old practice and was meant as a parade to pray for protection from STIs, it is now celebrated to raise awareness about safe sex practices and raise funds for HIV prevention.
It is believed that the shrine offers divine protection for business and the clan’s prosperity, and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony. Basically, almost everything.
But, did you know why it is called the “Festival of the Steel Phallus”?
Well, as legend goes, a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights.
As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which led its enshrinement.
Well, Japan, keep it UP guys!
All the images are sourced from Huffington Post.