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Japan: Festival of the Steel Phallus

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:20 pm
So, I was just randomly browsing the net... (dont ask), and ... anyone heard of the Kanamara Matsuri Festival? It's the Festival of the Steel Phallus. In Japan.

This is what it looks like, according to one Japanese site:

Quote:
People of all ages participate in a parade in which most of the participants sport a gigantic penis, and a giant lingam is carried through the streets. Females ride a penis-shaped seesaw, and men, women and children get their picture taken embracing a phallic statue. You can also buy penis shaped candies, or dress up as your favorite cartoon character with one part of his anatomy dramatically enlarged. The whole thing is presided over by a priest, and arcane Shinto rituals are carried out as well.


http://www3.tky.3web.ne.jp/~edjacob/kanamara1.gif

A site called deadhippo.com ("Yokohama living") explains:

Quote:
The legend goes that there was a demon living in the vaginas of the women in this area and a local metal-smith forged a steel phallus which broke the demons teeth and thus ridding the town of it forever.

This legend was mostly wishful thinking on the part of the locals, many of whom had caught venereal diseases from the prostitutes that were common in this area in the Edo Period (1603-1867), during which this festival began. Even today Kawasaki is famous for its red-light district.


About which the other site adds:

Quote:
In the Edo period courtesans would come to pray for good business and protection from sexually transmitted diseases and today it is used to promote AIDS awareness and safe sex.


This Japan Today page has more info, and some more serious background - and also an interesting pic or two ... : KAWASAKI Heads Up

And the travel site 2camels.com has a vivid description with a hilarious anecdote..

But for some real Shocked Laughing pics, try this page...

More links:

Account of schooltrip to the festival (with biig picture)

Picture set on Flickr

http://static.flickr.com/1/1276318_3161952b14.jpg
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:39 pm
If anyone dares to even try to break the teeth of my vagina demon.....

....well......

...... I'll teach them a new definition of "festival".

But anyway. That's kind of cool that it has been adopted as an AIDS awareness festival.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:43 pm
In the Phillipines they actually crucify people during holy week, if you want to get into weird festivals:

Quote:
The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ are relived during Holy Week in San Pedro Cutud to a degree it is hard to believe. On the morning of Good Friday there is a reenactment of the "Vin Crucis" which is performedby local residents, fittingly clad in Roman centurion costumes and the peasants' garb of Biblical times.
The reenactment starts between 10am and 11am after which the people move off to trek 4km to "Golgotha". Scores of penitents, inflicting self-flagellations using glass-spiked leather thongs on their bare backs, trail a "Christ", a Filippino penitent, who bears a heavy wooden cross during the trek. Upon arriving, the women kneel at the feet of the makeshift cavalry and wail a version of the Gospel of Seville Passion.

Then at least three penitents per year, and sometimes more, are nailed to makeshift crosses by their hands and their feet. The agony of the spectacle brings thousands to the reenactment. It has even become something of a tourist attraction. To secularised Westerners it must appear barbaric but for the penitents it is a means to become closer to God and the chance to truly test their Faith. "My Jesus, by Thine agony when the cruel nails pierced Thy tender hands and feet and fixed them to the cross, make me crucify my flesh by Christian penance." (Psalm for the Eleventh Station of the Cross).
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:46 pm
Nice find nimh!
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:48 pm
Okay, call me a secularised Westerner. It won't bother me at all.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:50 pm
oho! Are those sake carafes?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 06:50 pm
This is from that Japan Today page:

Quote:
Sexually transmitted diseases spurred the popularization of phallic symbols in some of Japan's festivals dedicated to the male member, such as this one dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867). At that time, Kawasaki's "ladies of the night" prayed not only that business would be brisk, but for protection from syphilis. Come cherry blossom time, they gathered baskets of bamboo shoots and other sprouting delicacies, carried the shrine's phallic image in procession through the streets, and then sat down to a merry banquet on mats spread out on the courtyard of Kanamara Shrine.

With the spread of syphilis now curbed, participants in the modern festival solicit donations for HIV/AIDS research. Today, the highlights of this saucy festival include transvestites parading through the town's streets carrying a mikoshi (portable shrine) with a humungous pink phallus on top. And, if that's not guaranteed to make you blush as deeply as the surrounding cherry blossoms, then the spectacle of grandmas and grandpas sucking on carnal candy and sweetmeat replicas of this stupendous phallus, is more than likely to.

Other attractions include locals carving penises out of daikon (radish), children and young women sitting astride penis-shaped seesaws for good luck and fertility blessings [..] Many revelers, Japanese and foreigners alike, turn out in kimono, Edo period attire or drag for this two-day event of phallic fun which is also attended by many of the area's community leaders and civic dignitaries.

Hirohiko Nakamura, the chief priest at his family shrine says, [..] "Shinto is traditionally non-judgmental in the matter of individual sexual behavior, and my family's shrine has long served as a place of help and a refuge to those suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. What could be more natural, then, that the shrine would embrace those who are concerned with the spread of HIV and AIDS," says Nakamura.


Or in short:

Quote:
Thirty-six year-old Australian Nick Rowthorn [..] said the festival was the wildest thing he'd ever seen. [..] "I just can't image a bunch of drag queens turning up for a Christian religious festival in Australia. It's great," he said, playfully licking the red-headed lollipop he'd bought from one of the stalls in the shrine's courtyard.


http://www.b0g.org/wsnm/uploads/ATT00012.jpg

Hehheh...
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 07:00 pm
Wow, thanks nimh. Ah to celebrate sex rather than to condemn it.

Yeah, boomerang. I think vagina demons are getting a bad rap! Whadda think they are secretly just what Japanese men want?

Deb needs to see this thread.
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 07:09 pm
Actually, thinking about it some more, that phallus thing seems rather overdone as far as the secret demon is concerned. Celebrate sex or caution about women's demons?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 11:50 pm
Oh my!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Dec, 2005 11:52 pm
Japanese phalli depictions are always waaaaaaaaaay over the top.



It's weird.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Dec, 2005 12:02 am
As compared to which other kinds of phalli depictions?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Dec, 2005 12:20 am
Others I have seen.

Look at their erotic art...the phalli are almost as big as the man they are attached to....at least in all the representations I have seen.


I make no claim to be an expert on erotic art, but it stands out like an....er....well, you know, on all that I have seen.


Do you know of other countries where the depiction of phalli as monstrous pertains?
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Dec, 2005 11:18 pm
You should see the phallus toys here in the USA.

About ancient traditions, here are two images of pre-Christian Egyptian statuettes featuring oversized phalli
http://www.bcgalleries.com.au/a6398l.jpg
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/offering.jpg


this one's had most of its phallus destroyed
http://www.howardnowes.com/g/egsterotic.gif

I remember seeing somewhere a monumental statue of the Egyptian god Min in which he is holding his enormous phallus in his left hand, something like this
http://iisusbog.com/images/page106.gif
only the phallus was much longer
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2005 04:07 am
Lol! They're big, ok, but look like ritual objects to me....fertility etc fetishes...(like the hugely exaggerated mother goddess figures from prehistory)

I still say depictions of penises in Japanese erotic art are bizarre.

here are a few...though the penis depictions re more restrained than the ones I have seen ealier....


http://www.mastergraph.com/pages/ghgl.html


http://www.mastergraph.com/pages/ghgl.II.html


http://www.mastergraph.com/pages/ghgl.IV.html


http://www.mastergraph.com/pages/ghgl.III.html


http://www.mastergraph.com/pages/geisha.html

http://www.gregkucera.com/shunga.htm


Like I said, I don't claim to have seen a lot of erotic art, but in my very limited experience I haven't seen willies that size trying to negotiate anything remotely like a human female anatomy before!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2005 06:07 am
Then again, have you noted the size of the vaginas in some of those pictures you linked in? Shocked
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2005 07:03 am
Lol!!!!


Poor damn things sure needed some sort of expansion mechanism to deal with the male's fantasies about their damn willies!!!


I actually think Japan is sufficiently determinedly patriarchal that, when we come to the chicken and the egg thing, the willies came first!!

Any poor mama with a squeeze box was just gonna die on her first time....
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Mar, 2007 06:51 pm
Came across this on Flickr..

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/128/423882495_b3a934bb1c.jpg

Quote:
the meat of the matter

Locals carry a large phallus mikoshi (portable shrine) during the Fertility Festival at Nagoya, Japan


It's (literally) a burden to bear...
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Mar, 2007 06:52 pm
Is it penis time of year again?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Mar, 2007 06:54 pm
every time is penis time!

<ahem>
0 Replies
 
 

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