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No More Penis Pics at Japanese Fertility Festival [Images NSFW]

posted on by Eric Stimson
Kanayama Shrine cites "illegal and exhibitionist behavior"

The Kanamara Festival in the Tokyo suburb of Kawasaki is famous for its veneration of the phallus. But at next year's Kanamara Festival, commemorative photography will not be allowed, according to a tweet posted on April 7 by the Kanayama Shrine, which hosts the festival. The shrine explains that there has been "illegal and exhibitionist behavior that ignores the true spirit of the festival," and that despite efforts by the police and security companies to tamp it down this year, there were still quite a few people who chose to go naked — or as the shrine puts it, "people who quickly did not gain the cooperation of clothing." As a result, the shrine requests festival-goers to refrain from taking pictures with the "monument" next year.

The "monument" is a giant wooden phallus which has usually been displayed at the festival so visitors can take pictures of themselves by it (or on it). Another large phallus is carried around the neighborhood in a Shintō procession. The festival originated in the Tokugawa Era, when the area was a red-light district. Prostitutes would use the occasion to pray for safety from sexually transmitted diseases and for prosperity. It was revived in the 1970s to secure wealth, safe childbirth, and auspicious marriages, but it has gradually become an arena for inappropriate behavior and nudity. It has also attracted a fair amount of attention from foreigners.

Japan has a complicated history with sexual imagery. Japanese law holds that uncensored depiction of genitalia is considered forbidden obscene material.

Artist Megumi Igarashi garnered worldwide attention last year and has since been arrested multiple times for displaying "cutely decorated sexual organs" and "distributing or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling" when she gifted campaign backers data to use a 3D printer to create a vagina.

[Via Kai-You and Netlab; Images from Tamanegi Shimbun and joy-Q]


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