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Mud festival

26 Comments

Men carry babies in a muddy rice paddy during a mud festival at Mimusubi shrine in Yotsukaido, east of Tokyo, on Wednesday. The ritual is believed to bring a good harvest and good health for babies.

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26 Comments
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Japan has some truly bizarre festivals. This one borders on child abuse.

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Good health for the babies but maybe not for the fathers.

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If Ebi-chan was in this picture it would be more interesting.

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And they have to be in their shreddies because?

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Why do half the festivals here have to involve people getting half naked? When many of the participants are elderly or out of shape, you just don't want to know.

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Unknown to most, this is a tradition that the womanfolk made up generations ago as a joke to make the men run around in thier underwear in the mud carrying the babies, so they could have a laugh.

"Here, go shujin, carry junior around in the mud in your underwear. I'm going shopping."

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thanks for the info bamboohat

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It seems to be young farmers only showing holy spirit and no change of culture for many years even if Japan has larger world economy.

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Seems like all the comments are quite one sided and all have very little knowledge about cultural value specially when it is Asian. Quite sure, there are lot more crazy things you can see in your country or may be you do it by yourself also. There is no need to change the true cultural steps while it is necessary to upgrade the things needed to complete the cultural steps. First of all they are not naked, and they are not looking ugly or odd in whatever they have dressed

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Japanese men in skimpy clothes..hmm...sorry not my cup of tea.

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"Good health for babies"

What if they slip in that mud and drop their babies?

I agree wth zurc.

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I'm all for upholding tradition, but when it jeopardises the safety of a forced (and probably in many cases, fairly reluctant) participant, I have to question whether it is a ritual worthy of continuation.

I suppose one consolation is, at least the kids aren't stripped naked as well.

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Good grief! Is there really such a life-threatening risk to any of these kids? I'm sure all the men involved are taking as much care as they possibly can. There's other matsuri that have a much higher risk of injury (although admittedly not of babies). I went to the Spring festival in Kashima and was fascinated that even the participants can't explain fully what it all meant. It's just something they've done every spring for 2000 years.

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It brings good health for babies as long as one of those jokers in nappies doesn't drop the kid in the mud and fill it's lungs with pesticide laidened mud, of course!

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There's other matsuri that have a much higher risk of injury (although admittedly not of babies)

And that is where the objections arise. I'm all for jumping around in mud half naked, or pushing and shoving other half-naked men to grab a piece of wood, or being chased by bulls, or nailing myself to a cross etc. Each culture has their own traditions that are in many ways masochistic. Only when we are purged do we become cleansed, no?

But including babies in the ritual exposes them to unnecessary risks. Perhaps not life-threatening ones, but a 1.5m fall into shallow mud with only God knows what in it is probably not in the child's best interests.

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It is interesting why only men perform the ritual. Nice photo.

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A lot of mudslinging in this topic

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indiboy, you are a tool

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Good god! Half the posters go on and on about men never helping with the kids... always working... Here is a case where this is not true and folks are screaming child abuse???

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sexy back he,he...nice omoshiroi festival...

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tmarie -- actually agree with you on this one. Japanese men actually spending time with their kids in the name of preserving the culture, to me, is a good thing. Is this any different/worse than all those little boys forced to wear shorts all winter long because that is the uniform for their fancy private school? Cut these guys some slack.

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Oh for crying out loud, people! Bordering on child abuse indeed! Lighten up! Yours (with a few exceptions) are the sort of attitudes that would put paid to daft but fundamentally harmless traditions like cheese rolling in the UK, in the name of health and safety.

It's just another one of those eccentric festivals that make Japan the bizarre, endlessly entertaining country that it is. Surely you wouldn't have moved to Japan if it was like everywhere else?

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cheese rolling in the UK

Yes, that should be banned too. It encourages bad health.

I'm all for dwarf tossing though.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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oh my lord, what is this? men in diapers?!

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i love this picture - fathers participating in such an old tradition with their beloved babies. this is so far away from bordering on child abuse - yes health and safety is a huge consideration, however, what is better: a father spending time with his child (whilst wearing a nappy himself admittedly) and simultaneously blessing said child with good health, or the father who is too busy/scared/indifferent to even take his child to observe this festival?

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Am I the only one who thinks this is just a little bizarre? I must show my friends this photo because if I don’t think they would not believe me if I just told them about this. Is this a local traditon?

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