Japan celebrates giant penises in bizarre yearly festival (VIDEO)
Thousands flooded the streets of Kawasaki, Japan, to take part in the Kanamara Matsuri – the Festival of the Steel Phallus – in which giant steel phalluses are paraded through huge crowds on portable shrines.
Festival-goers snap selfies with penis sculptures, buy various forms of penis memorabilia and suck on penis-shaped lollipops as the procession makes it way to the Kanayama Shrine for consecration.
Since the festival started in 1969 it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and used to raise awareness about safe sex, fundraise for HIV research and celebrate fertility.
Legend has it that around the 17th century, a jealous demon hid inside the vagina of a woman when his love was unrequited, biting off the penises of her first two husbands. Together the cursed woman and a blacksmith fashioned a steel penis to break the demon’s teeth and rid him forever.
Prostitutes would also reportedly pray to the Kanamara shrine for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.