KANAGAWA (TR) – The annual Kanamara Matsuri parade, a raunchy procession of giant phalluses borne aloft on mikoshi (portable shrines), which are marched down the streets of Kawasaki, Tokyo’s southern neighbor, has been cancelled.
Tokyo Sports (Mar. 30) reports that the parade, organized by the Kanamara Shrine, had been planned for the first Sunday in April (falling on April 3 this year), but will not be held out of respect for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
In recent years the shrine has pushed the envelope on traditional Shinto fertility festivals, flaunting a float featuring a perky pink penis — nicknamed “Elizabeth” — toted by a team of transvestites.
The event also typically attracts hordes of curious foreign tourists.
“Since we have already received applications for prayers to become impregnated and to bestow blessings on businesses, we will conduct the customary rituals, but this year we’re holding back on the procession,” says Hiroyuki Nakamura, head priest at the Kanamara Shrine, who added that in the event people turn up, they’ll have to be satisfied with a peep at the ‘holy relics,’ which will be on display in the shrine’s inner sanctum.
Tokyo Sports noted that while the salacious spectacle won’t slither down the street this year, visitors will at least be able to purchase the shrine’s tacky talismans and stalls will peddle a variety of foods and beverages. The shrine said a portion of revenues of the event will be donated to disaster relief.
The Kanamara Shrine is located on the grounds of the Wakamiya Hachimangu in Kawasaki Ward, a one-minute walk from Kawasaki Daishi station on the Keihin Kyuko Line.
Source: “Ano ‘dankon matsuri’ shinsai de jishuku,” Tokyo Sports (Mar. 30, page 10)