Friday, June 12, 2009

The Japanese Penis Festival: It's Not About Dick

OK let me start by saying that I have never seen so many enormous dicks and felt absolutely nothing. So no, in spite of what looks a lot like cock worship, this doesn't qualify as homobilia. Far from it.

But it's truly fascinating from an American perspective. What would the "religious right" make of Hounen Matsuri, The Japanese Penis Festival which has been celebrated in Japan for about 1500 years?

The Japan Travel Guide sheds some light: "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."

"With everything from penis shaped candy to suck on, phallus keychains, ... dumplings in the shape of the male member, and small[?] wooden objects to take home as souvenirs, it is easy to think that it is the phallus that is being worshiped. This is not the case."

So the next time you see a guy on his knees sucking a penis, consider that he might in fact be worshiping the power of nature. But if he's sucking dick, well, all bets are off.

P.S. It's not too soon to plan your trip: the festival is held in Komaki, just north of Nagoya, every March 15th.

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