will walk away from the Kanamara Matsuri
calling it by its actual name or the festival of the Steel Phallus. Some will just tell their friends there was a whole
lot of penis. It’s true. Lollipops and other penis shaped candies make perfect souvenirs, men, women, and a combination
of both take photos embracing a large phallic statue and some locals carve penises out of radish to auction off later.
The fun doesn’t stop there. There is even a phallic-shaped seesaw for women to ride upon for good luck and fertility
Sounds bizarre, quirky, absurd and a little explicit to the average person lacking knowledge on
the annual fertility festival held at the Kanamara Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. There are several stories about the
origin of this unique festival. One of which states, it was created to pray for sexual safety among Kawasaki’s
prostitutes during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867). The other deals with a demon living in a woman’s vagina that would
bite off the penises of her lovers. Today the festival helps raise money for HIV/AIDS research and draws crowds of
people looking for good fertility. Others just come to gawk. Could you imagine?
According to Steve Grove, a past festival attendee, the Kanamara Matsuri takes
place sometime during cherry-blossom season in the spring. He provides a semi-detailed history on the event and his own
experience which turned out rather amusing for those of us who know no better.