Spirits Rise At Japan’s 2016 Penis Festival

One again, tourists and enthusiasts flock to the streets of Kawasaki to honor the timeless tradition of the Kanamara Matsuri, or the Penis Festival.

A bright pink phallus, affectionately dubbed “Elizabeth”, is housed on a palanquin and borne on the shoulders of its trans women devotees. Elizabeth has become an important symbol for the LGBT community in Kawasaki, as it was once donated by a well-respected drag queen.

The shrine that houses both Elizabeth and a black steel phallus was once sacred to sex workers of the Edo period. Prayers were sent up to the heavens to spare them from venereal diseases. Now, the shrine and the Penis Festival is sacred not just to the LGBT community, but also to businesss owners and married couples in search of prosperity, fertility, and harmonious relationships.

Everywhere one might look will always have either something phallic or yonic to gawk at. Sweets, treats, and souvenirs are either shaped or carved into perky peters and sold at exorbitant prices. It’s given grannies and shopkeeps alike a fun opportunity to let their naughtier sides come out and play, and to just have fun. (For example, don’t be too surprised if you find sweet old ladies sucking on penis lollipops out in the open — or even offering you one.) Despite the the festival becoming more commercial in its atmosphere, it’s encouraged a more positive enticement and energy in tourists and locals alike. Besides, many of the proceeeds from the sweets and treats go to a fund in support of research on HIV, so you know it’s a lot of fun for a good cause.

川崎大師 かなまら祭 凄い人でした #川崎大師 #かなまら祭 #kanamaramatsuri2016 #kanamaramatsuri

A photo posted by 東中野 肩こり冷え改善サロン (@hilot283) on

There are two versions on the origins of this festival, but the more popular one takes its roots from a folk tale. The fable starts when a demon hides inside a woman’s vagina and castrates her two lovers with his razor-sharp-teeth on their wedding night. It was only when the woman sought a monk’s metalurgy skills that a steel penis he had forged would break the demon’s teeth and end the curse.


And now, let these ladies from the anime show Maji de Watashi show you how to eat a lollipop at the Kanamari Matsuri:

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