PHOTOS: Hadaka Matsuri The Insane Naked Japanese Festival

Hadaka Matsuri sits proudly at the weirder end of human traditions. Who wants to see a bunch of naked Japanese chaps fight over a couple of sticks in the dark?

What’s that you say? Something weird and mental going on in Japan? Well I never! That’s new isn’t it? Of course not, but I’m always super chuffed when I find another mind-bendingly left-field Asian event. But I don’t want you to think for a second that I’m looking down on our Asian cousins, au contraire.

I’m of the opinion that all countries and humans are as madcap as each other. If a man from a wet and windy island that harbours haggis, morris dancers, gurning and cheese rolling can’t enjoy the wonders of other nation’s traditions, then I don’t want to be alive anymore.

Today’s welcome addition to the house of Japanese japes is the Hadaka Matsuri naked festival. There’s three things that make this festival brilliant:

1) They’re all pretty much naked

2) The prize they obtain for their crushing embarrassment is a couple of sticks

3) They have to find sticks in the pitch dark

Hadaka Matsuri - Japanese Naked Festival - fight

Brilliant. A couple of sticks. It seems like a bit of an effort for a couple of sticks, no? Well, these sticks are special, they’re called shingi. See, it already sounds cooler now they’ve got an authentic and mystical sounding name doesn’t it?

Basically a priest lobs the two shingi into the sweaty and semi-sane huddle of chaps and they scrabble around like rabid truffle pigs trying to get them.

Hadaka Matsuri - Japanese Naked Festival - Sticks

The fella that gets both sticks upright into a box is said to be blessed with happiness for a whole year. A WHOLE YEAR OF HAPPINESS! OMG!

Hadaka Matsuri - Japanese Naked Festival - Reach

There are similar competitions held at other temples around Japan. At Saidaiji Temple in the city of Okayama bundles of willow strips have been thrown into a crowd of barely dressed boys for almost 500 years.

Here’s a shot of the cheeky priest preparing to throw the twigs:

Hadaka Matsuri - Japanese Naked Festival - Priest

More great pictures overleaf…

☛ Watch Next: Terrifying Japanese Dinosaur Prank

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