The first Sunday of April sees the Japanese coastal city of Kawasaki host their annual Kanamara Matsuri Festival, – the Festival of the Steel Phallus – a tradition celebrated since 1969.The phallic festival is a spiritual event celebrating both the penis and fertility. Japanese legend tells the story that sometime during the 17th century a jealous sharp-toothed demon sneaked inside a woman’s vagina and bit off her new husband’s penis as they consummated their marriage.
When the woman remarried, the demon bit off her second husband’s manhood, the get rid of the demon, the woman went to the village blacksmith and together they forged a steel penis to break the demon’s teeth so it would flee her vagina for good.
In commemoration of the folklore, the Kanayama Shrine was erected in the town.
Crowds of up to 50,000 attend the festival and parade of giant penis floats through the city, suck on penis-shaped lollipops, buy candles, sing penis-themed songs, enter in genitalia carving competitions and give offerings of “testicle-vagina” rice wine to celebrate.
Today the festival teaches visitors about safe-sex practices and raises funds for HIV charities, traditionalists still attend the festival to pray for good fortune and ask for protection from sexually transmitted infections at Kawasaki’s Kanamara shrine.
You can only begin to imagine what happens at the after party!