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Japan celebrates phallus festival

Kanamara Matsuri is not just a time for revelling in festivities, it also celebrates fertility, relationships and safe sex practices.

By: IANS | Tokyo |
April 3, 2016 7:30:44 pm
Kanamara Matsuri, phallus, steel phallus festival, Japan, Kawasaki, penis, penis shrine, fertility, relationships, safe sex practices, sex workers, sexually transmitted diseases, LGBT, AIDS Revellers sucked on phallus-shaped lollipops and posed for photographs in phallus-shaped masks as several men pushed a giant portable penis shrine through the streets in Japan as a part of the phallus festival — Kanamara Matsuri. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A giant penis shrine was paraded through the streets of Kawasaki city — south of Tokyo — on April 3, 2016, as crowds turned out to celebrate the Steel Phallus festival. The popular festival — Kanamara Matsuri — is marked annually on the first Sunday in April, attracting hundreds of visitors from both inside and outside Japan, Efe news agency reported.

Participants sucked on phallus-shaped lollipops and posed for photographs in phallus-shaped masks as several men pushed the portable penis shrine through the street, witnesses said. But while attendees jovially pay tribute to the male member, there is also a serious message behind the event.


The festival of the Steel Phallus originates from the legend of a sharp-toothed demon that hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two men on their wedding nights.

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The woman then sought help from a blacksmith — who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth — which led to its enshrinement. The shrine then became renowned as a site for sex workers to pray for good business and protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

The annual festival now celebrates fertility, relationships and safe sex practices. The shrine — believed to aid fertility — is often visited by couples hoping to start a family, while the festival has also become popular with Japan’s gay, lesbian and transgender communities and among groups raising money and awareness for AIDS prevention.

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First published on: 03-04-2016 at 07:30:44 pm

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