LIFESTYLE
03/04/2018 20:22 SAST

This Annual Penis Festival In Japan Is About More Than Just Giant Schlongs

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An event in Kawasaki, Japan, aroused lots of interest last weekend. Of course, that’s to be expected with a festival dedicated to the male sex organ.

Kanamara Matsuri, aka the Festival of the Steel Phallus, has been a spring tradition since 1969.

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    Kanamara Matsuri, aka the Festival of the Steel Phallus, has been a spring tradition since 1969.The phallic festival is a spiritual event celebrating both the penis and fertility.
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    Held annually on the first Sunday of April, participants parade gigantic phallic-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrines), suck on penis lollipops, pose with sex-organ-shaped sculptures and get their hands on whatever penis-shaped souvenirs they can grab.
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    As many as 50,000 people attend the penis festival, which, these days, teaches visitors about safe-sex practices and raises funds for HIV charities, according to the Metro.
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    The penis festival has roots in the 1600s, when Kawasaki sex workers would worship at the Kanayama Shrine praying for protection from STDs, according to Newsweek.
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    These days, people still attend the festival to pray for good fortune and ask for protection from the gods. 
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    “The festival is steeped in the past,but still has a valuable part to play in modern society,” Hiroyuki Nakamura, a priest at the shrine, explained last year.
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  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
    The festival is partly inspired by a legend about a sharp-toothed demon who planted itself in a woman’s vagina after she rejected him.
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    The demon repeatedly bit the penis of the woman’s husband until she paid a blacksmith to create a steel phallus hard enough to break the demon’s teeth, according to the South China Morning Post.
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