Every spring, like clockwork, the Kanamara Matsuri is held in Kawasaki, Japan. People flock to the Shinto fertility festival, which honors enormous phalluses like the one above. And no, it's not actually pixelated.
Note: This article contains content that some readers might find offensive.
Not every Shinto shrine has fertility festivals or honors giant dongs. However, there are a few well-known ones, including the Honen Matsuri, outside of Nagoya, and the Hodare Festival, which is in Niigata.
During the Edo Period, prostitutes would visit the Kanamura Matsuri for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. These days, people visit the shrine for things like successful child-bearing. There are also many open-minded free spirits on hand, soaking up the sexually charged atmosphere. Besides the huge phalluses, there are also dick and vagina shaped candies to snack on. Some even spotted dildos on sale.
These kinds of festivals always seem popular with foreigners—either tourists or ex-pats. Many of the food signs stalls (especially the penis candy signs) are in English, too. Dick candy and English language signs are unusual for your typical Shinto festival.
There are also wood carvings. Of giant dicks. With faces.
But this is hardly typical! Online in Japan, people are usually somewhat surprised by these festivals, which are not the norm, and write things like, "Holy crap, that phallus is huge." It is! This year, several Japanese geek and tech sites, like NicoNico and IT Media, visited the festival. It shows how Kanamara Matsuri is unusual, even for Japanese.
At this year's festival, there was a man in a penis hat and another individual in a customized full body costume that turned NHK's kiddy character Gachapin into a penis monster.
And last year, in case you missed it, there was this:
He's Batman. I think.
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