Yesterday, the Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine in Kawasaki held its annual fertility festival.
Sexually transmitted diseases helped spur the popularity of phallic symbols at such festivals, and going back a few hundred years, prostitutes used to pray for protection and good business.
Things have changed a little bit these days, and apparently large numbers of prostitutes are nowhere to be seen. But many young women still attend for good luck and fertility blessings. The potential danger of sexually transmitted diseases is still a major part of the festival though, and whilst the diseases have changed somewhat, the threat hasn’t. So now part of the event is to ask for protection against AIDS, and to raise money for research.
The main aim of the festival however would appear to be fun. And with activities such as carving penises out of vegetables, it’s a great day out for all the family. Although it perhaps would be better to leave Grandma at home.
I’ll let you make your own caption for this picture!