A festival of 9,000 semi-naked men with one common goal: to touch god
In the quiet city of Inazawa, located in Aichi, japan, there is a unique and fascinating festival that takes place annually on the 13th day of the lunar calendar. This festival, known as Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri or the Naked Man Festival, brings together thousands of men wearing nothing more than loincloths in order to pray for good luck and touch god. The origins of this festival can be traced back about 1,250 years, when it was first held as a way to combat plague and pestilence.
The festival starts on Lunar New Year, which falls in either February or March, depending on the lunar calendar. It is a time of celebration and renewal, and believers from all over the city gather at Owari Okunitama-jinja Shrine, also known as Konomiya-jinja Shrine, to participate in the festivities. The shrine is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible by train from Kanayama Station in Nagoya.
To reach Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri, one can take the Meitetsu Line from Kanayama Station to Konomiya Station. From there, it is less than ten minutes to the shrine where the event is held. The journey itself is a part of the experience, as participants and spectators alike make their way to the shrine, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.
The festival begins with teams from all over the city parading through the town wearing nothing more than a loincloth and a few swigs of fortifying sake to ward off the winter chill. The procession is a sight to behold, as the local groups demonstrate their strength and dexterity by carrying large bamboo poles called “naoi-zasa.” The onlookers line the passage to Konomiya-jinja Shrine, cheering on the participants and admiring their bravery.
As the day progresses and the sun begins to set, the temperature drops, and the atmosphere becomes even more intense. The participants, still wearing only loincloths, endure buckets of icy water being poured over them. Despite the cold, they remain unwavering in their dedication and continue to shout their rallying cry, waiting for the appearance of the shin-otoko, the god-man.
The shin-otoko is a central figure in the festival. Chosen from among the participants, he spends days leading up to the event in solitude and prayer. On the day of the festival, he is shaved from head to toe and sent out into the crowds wearing nothing at all. His role is to serve as a vessel for the misfortunes and ill luck of the other participants. The thousands of semi-naked men strive to touch the shin-otoko, believing that by doing so, they can transfer their future misfortune onto him.
The atmosphere during this part of the festival is electric. The crowd cheers on the participants as they jostle and push their way towards the shin-otoko, hoping to be the one to make contact. It is a chaotic scene, but also one filled with a sense of camaraderie and unity. The participants are bound together by their shared goal and their belief in the power of the festival.
Finally, after much effort and determination, the shin-otoko is pulled into the shrine building, accompanied by the cheers and applause of the thousands of supporters. It is a moment of triumph and celebration, as the participants believe that their prayers have been answered and their misfortunes have been transferred to the god-man.
The Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri is a testament to the enduring power of tradition and faith. Despite the passage of time, this festival continues to draw thousands of participants and spectators each year. It is a reminder of the importance of community and the strength that can be found in coming together for a common purpose.
In conclusion, the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri is a captivating and unique festival that brings together thousands of men in a display of faith, bravery, and unity. It is a celebration of tradition and a testament to the enduring power of human belief. As the participants strive to touch the shin-otoko and transfer their misfortune onto him, they are bound together by a shared goal and a sense of camaraderie. The festival is a reminder of the importance of coming together as a community and the strength that can be found in shared beliefs and traditions.
Address And Maps Location:
1-1-1 Kounomiya, Inazawa-shi, Aichi-ken