Japan naked festival Hadaka Matsuri goes ahead in Okayama

news.com.au -- Feb 24
This time last year, the Saidaiji Kannon-in temple in Japan’s Okayama prefecture was a writhing ball of flesh.

The Hadaka Matsuri or “Naked Festival” is a hugely popular attraction that sees thousands of men gathering from across the southern part of Honshu Island.

On the third Saturday of February they are invited to strip down to a simple loincloth and join the fray to battle for “holy sticks”. The fertility festival has roots going back almost 1000 years.

In temples across the prefecture there are normally hundreds of such melees at regional temples, drawing up to 10,000 men at a time.

However, in the midst of a global pandemic organisers have been forced to plan celebrations that are a bit more “modest”.

The Hadaka Matsuri has been continually observed for 500 years, uninterrupted by wars or previous public health scares.

Priests at this specific temple in Okayama were reluctant to call the whole thing off. Instead they reached a compromise which saw a modest gathering of around 100 youths turning up in their “fundoshi” loincloths for a severely downsized and somewhat distanced festival.

Normally a spectacle that draws participants and spectators, this year’s Eyo took place behind closed doors.

- news.com.au