Fraternity | Saidaiji Temple, Okayama | 2015 仲間意識|岡山県・西大寺観音院|2015年


Across Japan, ancient customs and rites of passage are passed on from generation to generation, establishing unique, localized identities. This image represents the fraternal bonding these traditions foster.  


I took this photo at the Saidaiji Hadaka Matsuri. Held every February for at least 500 years, it's one of Japan's top three 'naked' festivals. A crowd of around 9,000 men dressed in loincloths descends on Saidaiji Temple in Okayama Prefecture. After cleansing themselves in freezing waters, they wait for the temple priests to throw lucky talisman from the temple balcony. A battle ensues as participants wrestle to recover the talisman and be blessed with good luck for the following year.

A lot of talk around toxic masculinity forgets how intoxicating masculinity can be. 


My videos from the event capture the purification ceremony, and the moment the talisman is dropped inside the temple.