The Festival of the Iron Dildo

Japan is known for a lot weird things like octopus porn and used underwear fetishes, so it comes as no surprise that they have an annual penis festival. The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri, celebrates the male penis on the first Sunday of April each year with penis shrines dotting the streets of Kawasaki. People come from all over the country to revel in the festivities which include parades and ice-lollies shaped like the male genitalia.

The festival has its origins in local folklore. It is believed that in the 17th century there was a sharp-toothed demon that fell in love with a woman. Spurned by his love, he would hide in the woman’s vagina and castrate any man the woman would copulate with. A blacksmith then forged a steel phallus that broke the demon’s curse and released the woman from the curse. The iron phallus then became the Kanayama shrine.

The annual festival which began in 1977 starts at the shrine was originally a place where sex workers would go and seek blessings for good luck and safety from STDs. Many childless couples also visit the shrine which is also a symbol of fertility. It is now a full-blown (pardon the pun) annual festival which attracts a large audience with parades, memorabilia and awareness about safe sex. It is also popular with members of the LGBT community.

Festival-goers can buy souvenirs such as key chains, trinkets, pens, chocolates. They can even put on fun joke glasses with a plastic penis nose. But the festival is not just about the glorification of the penis.

Local priest Hiroyuki Nakamura of the Kanayarma Shrine said: ‘If young children are not used to seeing (male genitalia), they could get into a bit of a panic when the time comes. He added that many people come to the shrine and pray for good fortune. Proceeds from sales of the penis memorabilia go to HIV research.

Image Sources: 1,2,3,4

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