Friday, 20 June 2008

Honen Festival, Japan

Left: Giant Sacred Phallus in the Tagata Shrine, Komaki (2008)If you think this sculpture carved from the trunk of a Japanese cypress tree looks rude, you're right. It's a giant sacred phallus on display in the inner shrine of the Tagata Shinto Shrine in Komaki. It's there to be worshipped, ladies, as part of the annual Honen or Penis Festival. Quite right too. Pray to it if you want a baby. If not, do suggestive things with a willy-shaped hotdog sheathed in pancake as the young woman on the right is doing. (I'll leave you to figure out what that symbolizes!) Twelve men all aged 42 (don't ask) carry the phallus along the streets, through a Torii sacred Shinto gateway and into the shrine. Twelve older men carry a smaller upright phallus with a ribbon tied round its business end (don't ask). What rude fertility rites those Japanese have. Why don't they follow the English custom: get their prettiest children to dance round a phallic maypole and pretend it has nothing to do with sex or fertility? Click the title link for more photos. No? Prude!


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