Festivals of the Phallus (Kanamura and Honen Matsuri)

A Chasity belt from long ago with iron teeth.
A Chasity belt from long ago with iron teeth.

It is a bit shocking to Westerners that Japan, for such a conservative country in many ways, celebrates the male penis in two main festivals during the Spring of each year. It is ironic that no such festival occurs in the Western world except for in Greece.

The penis festival is not a rude or xxx issue that is hushed or hidden from public view, again, how ironic Japan celebrates this because it is very porn oriented.

In Kawasaki, Japan, the most famous festival is Kanamara Matsuri, that began only 1977 but stems from the old 16th Century legend. It is said that there was a jealous, sharped tooth demon inside a beautiful woman preventing her from an enjoyable life. During her life, she was married twice, and during their honeymoon, the man would try to penetrate only to have his penis cut off. Angry with no sexual satisfaction, the woman went to a blacksmith and had him build an iron, erect, penis. It was built and then she inserted it into her vagina. The demon bit down hard, not knowing it was iron, shattering his teeth and finally freeing the maiden from sexual frustration. In the years that followed, the Kanayama Shrine was popular among prostitutes who went to it to pray for protection from sexually transmitted infections and good business.

The fable then vanished for the most part from Japanese culture until it resurfaced in 1977. During the festival, which grows each year, penis statues, candles, lollipops and masks are just some of the novelty goods you buy and display.

Also, in Japan, the town of Komaki, has its own penis celebration on March 15. The event is much smaller but based upon the same fable. This festival is called Harvest Festival. This is an Oktoberfest-like party with all-you-can-drink sake, and a 620 pound, 96 inch long wooden phallus. The wooden phallus is carried from a shrine called Shinmei Sha with crowds and men and women praising it.

Now, the Greeks seem to originate this whole celebration of a male penis, after all, it does create life. In ancient Greece, such festivals were common, but the only one surviving today is in the little Greek town of Tyrnavos. Like in Japan, it is a Spring event where the town creates phallus-shaped bread, you drink through phallus-shaped straws from phallus-shaped cups, kiss ceramic phalluses, sit on a phallus-shaped throne. This pagan fertility festival in this town of 15,000 people near the central Greek city of Larissa. The festival is in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, madness and ecstasy.

So, as progressive as Europeans and Americans like to think they are, no such penis festivals happen in either place.

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