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  • For most of the year, Kounoniya Shrine is a peaceful place... but in the height of winter,

  • religious ritual joins with drunken delirium to create one of Japan's most extraordinary

  • sights -- the annual Nagoya nude festival. The celebrations begin solemnly enough...Five

  • men are competing for the chance to become a spiritual superhero... the Spirit Man, a

  • type of Japanese exorcist, able to absorb the sins and enormous punishment.

  • The lucky candidate is Shoji Shibata, a professional bonsai farmer. He is not allowed show any

  • emotion... understandable, given what lies ahead.

  • "Last year I applied but I missed out. This year, they have allowed me to be the Spirit

  • Man so I am very happy." "You're going to be beaten, frozen -- not

  • to mention naked -- in front of the whole town, and yet you're very happy about this.

  • Why does it mean so much to you?"

  • "That's right. As for as I'm concerned, this is more important and more difficult thanfinding a wife . Yes."

  • First stop is the barber... for a very close shave.

  • This is only the beginning... every single hair on the Spirit Man's body must be removed.

  • The idea is to turn him into a baby -- hairless and pure.

  • "I am now feeling very tense. I'm starting to become aware of my responsibilities as Spirit Man

  • and starting to think more about the festival."

  • After changing into something a little less comfortable, the Spirit Man is escorted into the Shrine.

  • He must spend three days praying, purifying... and fasting.

  • Outside the gates, the build-up begins.

  • Men from rival neighbourhoods gather at the Shrine. The temperature is close to zero.

  • The thonged throngs are freezing their butts off... and loving every minute of it.

  • "It's cold, it's cold! It's very cold but my heart is warm."

  • Now there is nothing that makes you feel as excited as this!"

  • They're vigorous and it's fabulous!"

  • Nine thousand loincloth-clad men are taking part..."

  • with 130,000 supporters cheering them on

  • It's an authorised escape from strict codes of behaviour... a celebration of local affirmation of the group

  • That is why everyone is dressed, or undressed, the same...

  • removing clothes also removes hierarchies of profession and class.

  • Those who are unable to participate -- the frail and the female -- give talismans to those who can.

  • The festival is secret men's business... women are strictly forbidden.

  • "It's more important than my wife. It's a men's festival once a year. Only men can understand."

  • I want to participate! I want to! But even though I have the wish, I cannot do it because I'm too old and embarrassed!"

  • Eventually, the Spirit Man emerges and the mayhem begins

  • Unlike his friends, Shoji Shibata is completely naked -- not that you can tell amid the seething swarm

  • The men desperately try to touch him, believing their bad luck will rub off.

  • "I want my body to be healthy, I want to exorcise the evil spirits and hope nothing will happen to hurt me. I want to gain profit at work

  • "I want my body to be healthy, I want to exorcise the evil spirits and hope nothing will happen to hurt me. I want to gain profit at work

  • --it's important

  • It's wet, it's wild, but it's not unique. In fact nude festivals are quite common in Japan.

  • Particularly in winter, when the weather turns cold it seems many men feel compelled to prove their manhood by exposing it.

  • then jumping in rivers, rolling in the snow or running around like this.

  • Japan prides itself on being modern, industrial

  • but according to the priests that run the show, traditional festivals are more popular than ever

  • "I often hear how Japanese people love their festivals.

  • I think that even modern people still want to share their joy

  • and come together to be united in their feelings."

  • The Nude Festival is one of Japan's biggest and oldest annual events. It dates back more

  • than one thousand years. "The Festival began when the Emperor personally

  • ordered that people drive away the plague and other bad things from the country.

  • It suggests that all people should be healthy and live in peace."

  • Healthy and peaceful perhaps... but injuries are common... deaths, not unheard of.

  • The poor Spirit Man cops most of it; local firemen provide some protection using icy

  • water to cool hotheads. music

  • Today's Spirit Man gets off relatively lightly... in the bad old days -- a few hundred years

  • ago -- you didn't get to volunteer. The local people would chase, catch and kill a passer-by.

  • Now though, after an hour of punishment, the priests mount a rescue mission... a cross

  • between bungy jumping and crowd surfing.Eventually, the poor Spirit Man is dragged to safety.

  • I feel very thankful. Everybody protected me, and I am happy that it ended safely.

  • I kept everybody's voices of support in my heart. The only thing I thought about was carrying

  • out my duty with all my might."

  • But his ordeal is not yet over. A few

  • hours later, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods, the Nude Festival

  • reaches its climax. By now, the Spirit Man is barely able to stand.

  • A black rice cake is attached to his back -- a symbol of the city's sins.

  • The Spirit Man does a few laps of the Shrine... is pelted with prayers... and then banished into the night.

  • Finally, he is free to go home... his duty done. Shoji Shibata is bruised and

  • broken but well aware that in 12 months time he'll be dishing out the punishment rather

  • than receiving it.

For most of the year, Kounoniya Shrine is a peaceful place... but in the height of winter,


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B1 中級

ヌードフェスティバル-伝統の名の下に日本の男たちが脱ぐ (Nude Festival - Japanese men strip off in the name of tradition)

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    黃駿祐 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日