1. So this is what Kanamara Matsuri — The Festival of the Steel Phallus — looks like.
2. It generally falls on the first Sunday in April, in Kawasaki, Japan.
3. It’s centered around a local penis-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who prayed for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
4. It features penis lollies.
5. And penis waxworks.
6. The shrine was also said to offer business prosperity, easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony.
7. But why’s it called “The Festival of The Steel Phallus”?
8. Well, it’s all about a legend of a sharp-toothed demon that hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights.
9. Bit of a shocker. So the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, and that’s why it became a shrine.
But today, the festival is used to raise money for HIV research.