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Women to Participate in Central Japan’s Traditionally Men-Only ‘Hadaka Matsuri’ Naked Festival for 1st Time

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ayaka Suzuki speaks about being able to participate in Hadaka Matsuri festival in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, on Saturday.

This year, women will participate for the first time in the traditionally men-only Hadaka Matsuri naked festival held at Konomiya shrine in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture. One of the roughly 40 women planning to participate in the festival to be held on Feb. 22 spoke about her excitement at a press conference at the shrine on Saturday.

Ayaka Suzuki, 36, said she had wanted to take part in the festival ever since she was a little girl, thinking, “I could’ve participated if I were a boy!” She is a vice chair of a women’s group that pushed to allow women’s participation in the festival.

The festival traditionally features a huge group of men clad in white fundoshi loincloths pushing each other to drive away evil spirits. This year, about 40 women from the group will pay a visit to the shrine as part of the festival, wearing traditional happi coats, but at a different time slot from the men.

“I’d like to pray for the safety of my family and for the people affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake,” Suzuki said at the press conference. “I will take good care of myself until the day of the festival.”