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Areal view of hundreds of men in loincloths passing under a Torii gate
Wearing nothing but undergarments, men gather at the shrine grounds for a Hadaka Festival.
Photo Courtesy of Kōnomiya.
Naked (Hadaka) Festival (Inazawa City, Aichi)
One of Japan’s most extraordinary festivals is the Kōnomiya Shrine Hadaka Festival. Every year on the thirteenth day of the first month of the old lunar calendar, which falls sometime during the first ten days of February according to the Gregorian calendar, this festival occurs. At the height of winter, several thousand men, wearing only a loincloth, gather at the shrine to drive away misfortune. The event is formally called Naoishinji and is related to the Setsubun rituals. On this day, in the afternoon, men clad in loincloths holding bamboo grass tied with strips of cloth with written wishes, rush towards the shrine while shouting along with others in their various groups. Once the men have gathered at the shrine, one designated man, known as the shinotoko, appears. The shinotoko, who is completely naked, bears the duty of being burdened with the misfortune of any man who touches his body. The men in loincloths lunge toward the naked shinotoko’s body and crush around him hoping to shed their ill fortunes. After that, carrying the misfortunes of many men, the shinotoko enters the shrine and purifies his body.
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