‘Kanamara Matsuri’ Festival of the Steel Phallus in Japan
Ask anyone and they will say that Japanese people are weird. They eat with sticks instead of forks, their keen interest in technology and somewhat bizarre (to say the least) TV shows give the impression that Japan is a totally different world compared to the West. If you happen to travel through Japan, you’ll be baffled with all the odd customs and traditions they have. The spring season is the time when all the best and flat-out weird festivals are held. Let us introduce you to Kanamara Matsuri, better know as the “Penis Festival” or “Festival of the Steel Phallus”.
This annual event in Kawasaki, Japan, does exactly what you would expect of it. Phallus-loving enthusiasts carry giant penis-shaped shrines through the streets as tourists and other first-timers giggle and stare while sucking on their manhood-shaped lollipops. Well, there are lots of other penis memorobilia to spend your hard earned money on as well.
Held annually in spring, the festival celebrates the male appendage, fertility and childbirth. According to some sources, the celebration have its roots in the 17th century. The story has it that there was once a sharp-toothed demon who fell in love with a beautiful woman. As the lady rejected him (who would have doubt that?), he proceed to rob her potential lovers of their pride and joy in particularly horrific ways. The nightmare would go on forever if it wasn’t for a local blacksmith who forged a steel penis which broke the demon’s teeth and set the woman free.
This was the day the “Festival of the Steel Phallus” was born. It is also believed that the Kanayama Shrine became renowned among sex workers who come to the shrine to pray for protection against STDs and other sexually transmitted diseases. Sex workers are not the only ones who need divine protection though. Entrepreneurs of all kinds come to the shrine to ask for business prosperity. The site is also believed to help fertility, easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony, which made it quite popular among LGBT.
In this day and age, the festival is mostly known to be held to raise awareness about safe sex and raises money to prevent HIV.
Even though Kanamara Matsuri is a religious festival, it has a very positive vibe. People mostly go there to laugh and have a good time. The Steel Phallus festival has no sexual or erotic implication whatsoever, so even children can join the festivity. Quick note: if you are somehow offended by the penises abound, just don’t attend the event. Although, it would be hard to avoid all those happy faces walking around in penis-nosed glasses taking pictures with festival mascots. Yes, everything there has a shape of penis, big or small.
All in all, the Steel Phallus festival is now a popular tourist attraction where you can imbibe the Japanese culture to the max.