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  • The first time I came to Japan, Jun told me about a festival called Hadaka Matsuri,

  • or the Naked Festival.

  • My initial thoughts wereWhat the heck?”

  • And I didn’t exactly understand it.

  • But the day of the festival, hearing the chants of WASSHOI echoing throughout

  • the neighborhood as hundreds of men paraded past our house,

  • it was impossible for me not to get swept up in the excitement,

  • even though I didn’t know exactly what was happening.

  • The next day I was able to talk to someone who had spent years participating in and planning

  • parts of the festival, and he graciously spent his time teaching me the story and meaning

  • behind the tradition.

  • The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the festival,

  • and now I want to share with you what it’s really about, so you can understand it, too.

  • There are naked festivals all across Japan and each has its own story.

  • This is the story of Konomiya shrine.

  • Men from cities and shrines across the Owari area will form groups according to their region,

  • and before the festival theyll produce giant stacks of mochi as well as a naoizasa,

  • which is a long pole made of bamboo, tied to which are the wishes of people from their city.

  • The day of the festival, theyll parade the naoizasa through Konomiya shrine,

  • an act called hounou.

  • Visitors watching from the sidelines will try to touch the men and receive

  • strips of cloth called naoigire, for good luck.

  • She needs to be touched.

  • Please touch her.

  • This year, some super awesome obasans helped me get three!

  • Thank you!!

  • I'm so happy!

  • It’s called the Naked Festival, but there’s actually only one man who is completely naked.

  • He is the shin-otoko, or literally man of god.

  • His entire body is shaved of hair, and he spends three days before the festival

  • purifying himself with a diet of rice, takuwan, and hot water.

  • He plays the role of a sacrifice,

  • absorbing the bad luck and ills of every man who can touch him.

  • The day of the festival he has to walk through 10,000 men wearing

  • fundoshi to get to the entrance of the shrine, called the naoiden.

  • The hadaka men will be frantically pushing and shoving in the hopes of touching

  • the shin-otoko, so that they can transfer their bad luck to him.

  • As you might expect, this can be incredibly dangerous.

  • The shin-otoko will be bruised and battered by the end of the festival.

  • To help protect him from being crushed, he has guardians.

  • There will be three men surrounding him, previous shin-otoko from years past.

  • Additionally, there are two smaller shrines nearby Konomiya charged with his protection:

  • Koike and Shoumeiji.

  • These men, called teoketai, will run laps ahead of the shin-otoko

  • to a well in the shrine’s grounds.

  • They pass buckets of water back and splash them on the shin-otoko

  • and the crowd that surrounds him, which serves several purposes.

  • First, it cools down and lubricates the men to prevent injuries.

  • Second, the water is thrown from the direction of the naoiden

  • toward the men surrounding the shin otoko, with the intention of stalling them

  • momentarily so that the shin otoko can advance toward the shrine.

  • On average it takes about an hour for the shin-otoko to reach the naoiden.

  • The shrine officials awaiting his arrival will attempt to grab onto

  • the exhausted, beaten shin-otoko, still fighting the crowd of thousands of men.

  • It’s so difficult to reach him that theyll tie themselves with a lifeline

  • and jump into the crowd.

  • Everyone is wishing for the shin-otoko

  • to make it so badly that this final, climatic event is filled with emotion and tension,

  • and the moment he’s finally lifted through the naoiden, the almost 200,000 festival attendees

  • erupt into cheer.

  • But his duties don’t end here, and at midnight hell face more challenges.

  • before he can finally rest.

  • There’s much more to this story that I can’t fit into one video, so if youre interested

  • in the details, you can read about it on our blog.

  • The festival is a TON of fun, so I highly recommend checking it out

  • if youre ever in Nagoya around this time!

  • I hope by watching this video, instead of viewing the hadaka matsuri

  • as some crazy Japanese festival with lots of naked men,

  • youll be able to understand and appreciate it more.

  • At the very least, it’s a lot more fun when you know what’s happening!

  • It’s currently my favorite festival in Japan,

  • so maybe I’ll see you here next year!

The first time I came to Japan, Jun told me about a festival called Hadaka Matsuri,

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B1 festival shin shrine naked matsuri crowd

Japan's Naked Festival 日本のはだか祭!(愛知)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/23
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