Every spring in Japan, 50,000 people get their hands on giant penises and ride them like it’s their job. Sometimes, it actually is their job. The mass penis-grabbing is not just a massive, throbbing explosion of erotica: It’s actually an annual parade held in Kawasaki called Kanamara Matsuri aka “the Festival of the Steel Phallus,” which features men and women worshipping phallus-shaped replicas of all shapes and sizes. It’s like if the Pride Parade were organized by bottoms.
The schlongfest, which nominally celebrates fertility, has come every year since 1969, and consists of participants grabbing phallic mikoshi (portable shrines), phallic lollipops, phallic sculptures, phallic souvenirs, and sometimes even phallic leeks. (Side-note: “Phallic leek” sounds like what the British Crown would call a dick pic.)
Now, as a nod to the sexual wokeness of the 21st century, the Festival also teaches attendees about safe-sex practices and raises funds for HIV charities. In fact, the new initiative is a callback to the festival’s roots in the 1600s, when Japanese sex workers prayed to the gods for protection from STDs (a.k.a. what we do now, but to the Gods of Polyurethane.)
The Festival is also partly inspired by a legend about a sabre-toothed demon who entrenched itself in a woman’s vagina after she sexually rejected him. The demon then continued to bite the penis of the woman’s husband until she hired a blacksmith to create a steel dildo hard enough to break the demon’s teeth. The legend makes even more sense if you imagine the demon to be a metaphor for a crazy ex.
For even more poetic imagery from the Penis Festival, check out this article that is filled to the tip with penis masks, penis headbands, penis brides, penis suckers, and even a row of men bravely hoisting the largest penis they will ever have to bear in their penis-filled lives.