Every year, on the second Sunday in March, hundreds of Japanese women ride penises through the streets of Nagaoka in the name of good luck.
Welcome to the Hodare Fertility Festival. Scores of newly-wedded women jump at the opportunity to parade the streets of the city atop the wooden phallus, according to Ruptly.
They believe the ritual will bring marital bliss, fertility and good luck. The totemic symbol of virility measure 2.2 metres (7.2 feet) in length and weighs 600 kilograms.
Throughout the parade, the penis is raised above the crowds as the newly married women in traditional dress straddle its girth in an alarmingly NSFW spectacle.
Local residents clamour for the chance to touch the tip and shaft, hoping that contact with the phallic symbol would ensure a good marriage, healthy delivery or good fortune.
Nagaoka city’s Hodare Fertility Festival is considered the biggest of its kind. While the celebrations were conceived as a small festival for locals, people now flock from far and wide to witness the penis parade.
Hodare means ‘male genitals’ but when written in capital letters, the translations alters to ‘the ripening of rice plants’, apparently.
Similar festivals are held around Japan in early spring each year. Some follow centuries of tradition and date as far back as the 17th century.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.