Somebody explain the Japanese Penis Parade to me

I need someone familiar with Japanese culture to explain the following Japanese news video on LiveLeak to me:

I have broken the link because it shows a giant penis being carried on the shoulders of participants in some sort of parade. Though video is labelled as depicting Chinese people, the newscasters reporting on the parade are definitely Japanese, and I believe the parade is as well.

So what is going on here? And why don’t *we * have Penis Parades?

Hounen Matsuri parade. Try “japan parade penis” in Google! I learned something!

Not safe for work links:

http: //metropolis.co.jp/tokyotravel/tokyojapantravel/365/tokyojapantravelinc.htm

Even the wikipedia article has an image that makes one to disable the link, just remove the space:

http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanamara_Matsuri

Somewhere around here I have a photo of a giant penis float being pulled through the French Quarter during the annual Krewe du Vieux parade in New Orleans. I’m talking an eight-foot-tall penis; and that’s only a small portion of the various genitals displayed in floats and hand-carried “artwork” in that parade.

It happens every year about three weeks before Mardi Gras day. So if you’re wondering why we don’t have penis parades? We do. :smiley:

I find that oddly reassuring, and equally disquieting.

Tell me I’m not the only one who was reminded of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile…

Six posts, and not one mention of “penis ensues?” :smiley:

It’s a festival tp promote fertility. Gigobuster covered the more nuanced aspects of it.

Other than that, giant phallic objects are fun!

Ah hah! Found the Krewe du Vieux penis float photo, and I’ve uploaded it to my Photobucket page.

This is an EXTREMELY NSFW photo!! In fact, I’m breaking the link just to make sure you appreciate how totally NSFW it is. Take out the extra space between the /'s after http and you can see for yourselves.

http:/ /i100.photobucket.com/albums/m5/MamaTiger4747/That-Float.jpg

:eek: :eek:

This just strikes me as so… nice. It’s always good to see venerable old traditions adapted to serve the needs of the community in the modern age.

It is Japan, and there are a number of similar festivals around the country. They are fertility rites, and this particular one is 1200 years old, according to the commentary. Without the Western hangups about body parts being “evil,” there used to be more of these, but this is something which, for better or worse, is getting toned down a bit.

Hounen Matsuri! This takes place in Komaki, a small town in Aichi prefecture, just north of the large city of Nagoya and close to the small town of Toyota, which is famous for some reason or another.
I lived in Komaki for a year, and was lucky enough to go to this matsuri (festival) just before I moved closer to Tokyo in 1995. I was taken to the festival by some of my English students, and as at all Japanese festivals, consumption of beer and sake was par for the course.

As has already been mentioned by previous posters, this is a fertility festival, though the one in the video is not the one in GIGObuster’s link. I believe there are several such festivals in Japan.

The video shows the festival at the Tagata Jinja (jinja is Japanese for shrine). Check out the detail on this poster ! Cracked me up.

This festival takes place every year on March 15. There is a significance to the people who carry the float and their age, tying into Buddhism. I believe the women who carry these smaller penises (me looking drunk and dorky) are 32, and the men who carry the float are somewhere in their 40s.

The float is quite heavy, and is carved anew each year from a cypress.

Here is an excellent site about the shrine and the festival.

I miss Japan at times.