March 16, 2007

Japanese PENIS festival part 1

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Every March 15th is the famous Hounen Matsuri celebrated at Tagata shrine of Aichi Prefecture. Tagata shrine which is frequently referred as the "penis shrine" holds the Hounen Matsuri annually. It's a festival that celebrates fertility and renewal. It's a famous festival Amongst foreigners visiting Aichi Prefecture.


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Hounen Matsuri is famous among foreigners

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Large wooden phallus inside the temple

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Japanese guys enjoying their candies in the shape of penis

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Parade with females devotees carrying wooden phallus

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A crazy Japanese guy showing off his stuff

History

Tagata Jinja is believed to be about 1500 years old, due to discoveries in 1935 of an ancient sword and extensive pottery fragments. These days the shrine is surrounded by suburbia, but until recently it was surrounded by a forest called "Agata", a name believed to have derived from the name of one of the rulers of the local area during the end of the Yamato period (approx 3rd-5th century AD). These rulers were warriors who settled the area from Nara as the emerging feudal Japanese state defeated and displaced indigenous Ainu tribes and pushed its frontiers to the east. According to the official history of the shrine, the daughter of the feudal lord was called Tamahime, and was bethrothed to Takeinadane. The tradition holds that Takeinadane was killed in a distant battle and that his wife and children (and powerful father in law) developed the area. Tagata Jinja stands on the site of Tamahime's residence, and she is the principal deity (called kami in Japanese) enshrined here.

Enshrined as Tamahime-no-mikoto, she is worshipped in the main sanctuary of the building called the honden. This is the main shrine building. Behind and to the left of this structure, you can find another building called the Shinmeisha which contains a large number of natural and man-made objects, almost all of which are either shaped like a penis or have some phallic theme. It is important to understand that the worship is not of the phalli, but instead a worship of the earth, of the power that nature has through renewal and regeneration. It is this context that provides the phallus with its significance.

**For more photos, check out my flickr photo set

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5 comments:

WilsonC said...

Hah...awesome.

Joseph said...

Fascinating. I'd love to hear more about this.

George said...

This is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen!

Dr Chewbacca said...

I can't believe it.

SooHK said...

Wow don't believe it if I did not see the pic...