The date for the 2017 celebration of the “Japanese joystick,” the Kawasaki Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Iron Phallus) has just been announced (see here: https://www.fest300.com/festivals/kanamara-matsuri). A celebration that as much recognizes costume revelry, kids as well as adults munching phallus-shaped foods, and a procession of the cock through a Shinto shrine, this is an event unlike any other on the globe.
The festival has its origins in Japan’s Edo period in the 1600’s, when local prostitutes would congregate at the shrine in Kawasaki praying for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Another origin story of the shrine and celebration reveals the legend of the infamous “vagina dentata”- brides cursed with a toothed vagina (a metaphor for syphilis rampant at the time?)-and the blacksmith who forged an iron dildo in order to break the teeth of one unfortunate woman’s inner demon. The Kanamara shrine is dedicated to the blacksmith, and over the centuries sex workers have paid pilgrimage to it to seek its powers of protection.
These days, people come to wish for healthy families, protection against H.I.V. and just a good following year. They also come to make merry over something slightly naughty, as only the Japanese can. Certainly the populaces’ prayers are serious and the festival is based on some real history mixing legend and fact. But these days things are of a very festive fun nature for any age and any sexual orientation (the LGBTG friendly Kanamara Matsuri boasts the biggest congregation of cross-dressing kimono wearers anywhere.)
The celebrations, which will happen on a date to-be-announced in April of next year, center round the penis. Hats, floats, costumes, the aforementioned editable, everything is about the male member here. The event culminates with a big parade just after noon where worshippers dressed in pink, carrying huge sculptures of phalli, march through what turns out to be pretty much a street party end-of-festivities.