About Japanese Naked Fighting Man Festival
Hadaka Matsuri,also known as Japanese Naked Fighting Man Festival,is one of the most famous and oldest festivals in Japan which is held every third Sunday of February. The Hadaka Matsuri is largely celebrated around different parts of Japan, but the Saidaiji Temple in Okayama City has become the highly advertised tourist location when it comes to hosting this grand event. Every year, the Naked Man Festival gathers approximately ten thousand male participants, all of them wearing a traditional loincloth or fundoshi and tabi socks which can be bought at stalls near the temple during the event. The participants would be seen wearing only these thin pieces of clothing no matter how cold the weather gets, all the while chanting the word wasshoi on the streets as they make their way to the temple. Each of the participants are determined to take one of the two lucky sticks or shingi which would be tossed by a priest from the temple’s balcony at midnight. These sticks are considered to bring good luck and happiness throughout the year to whoever gets it. The whole concept would be about these men battling it out to see if who are persistent enough to snatch the stick and successfully put it in a wooden box with rice called a masu. The spectators are also expected to bring much hype and anticipation from their designated seats while the event is taking place. The Hadaka Matsuri is a unique experience for everybody, including tourists who’d like to know more about Japan’s religious history and culture.
Aside from the main event, here are other activities during the Hadaka Matsuri:
Children’s Hadaka Matsuri
Prior to the main event, the kids are given the opportunity to enjoy the essence of the festival as they perform a reenactment of the annual Hadaka Matsuri which will commence in the afternoon. To fully capture the experience, they are required to wear the fundoshi and tabi socks while parading around the streets and finally into the temple where they would catch the famous pair of lucky sticks or shingi. This ceremonial activity will be done by the adult men later in the evening.
Traditional Dance, Drumming and Other Events
Any festivity won’t be complete without the lively beats by the Taiko drummers as well as traditional Japanese dances and abundance of foods everywhere. This type of event remarkably captures the lifestyle of the Japanese people and gives them a chance to showcase their talents and skills. For tourists, this is the perfect time to document their vacation by taking pictures at the temple and mingling with the friendly locals.
Parade to Pool of Freezing Water
For the men to be cleansed and purified, each team would have to walk towards a pool of cold water. This is a cheerful occasion and the locals intend to keep it that way. For this event to run smoothly, there are certain set of rules which needs to be followed. Aside from wearing the traditional Japanese costume, the participants are not allowed to show tattoos (if they have any) nor consume any form of alcoholic drink. The event is not just limited to the locals, but the tourists are also welcome to participate which makes it even more exciting.
The Hadaka Matsuri at the Temple
This is the much-awaited event of the day, where thousands of men finally assemble in huddled position as they try to secure their places and plan for different strategies on how to be the bearer of the lucky stick. The real fun starts at twelve midnight just as all the lights are simultaneously turned off and the priest throws the two lucky sticks into the group of men who are hoping to get triumphant in claiming the shingi. The event is being kept as good-natured and festive as possible, and the participants aren’t allowed to get into serious fights with each other so as not to ruin the core of this spiritual gathering. People come to the temple to pray for different things, but generally they wish for success and happiness all through the year, which is why the Hadaka Matsuri is an important part of cultivating the Japanese people’s belief and religious tradition.
Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri Youtube/Video
Japanese Naked Fighting Man Festival Dates
- Japanese Naked Fighting Man Festival 2016: Feb.20