5 The Hadaka Matsuri <国府宮はだか祭り

The Hadaka Matsuri
A:What is this red cloth, Ken?
B:Well, it's naoi, a sort of charm. In February, there is a festival,
Hadaka Matsuri at Konomiya Shrine in Inazawa. My father took
part in the festival and bought it there.
A:Hadaka Matsuri ? Hadaka means naked, doesn't it?
B:Exactly. All the participants are wearing loincloths, fundoshi in
Japanese, and only men can join.
A:What do they do during the event?
B:A man is chosen as Shin-otoko every year. He is a kind of scapegoat
and is believed to absorb evils. They chase him through the streets to
touch him.
A:I see. Did your father touch him?
B:He said he did, but I don't believe him. Finding Shin-otoko is very
difficult, and it is even more difficult to touch him. There are about
10,000 participants, and in addition to this, Shin-otoko is guarded by
strong men, so he couldn't have done it.
A:Can foreigners take part in the festival?
B:Yes, of course. Many foreigners also enjoy it.
A:OK. Is your father going there next year?
B:Yeah, he enjoys it every year, and I'm also going. Will you join us?
A:Yes, I'd love to. I'll touch shin- otoko.
B:OK. Give it a try.
naoi 儺追(なおい)
take part in ∼に参加する
couldn’t have done したはずがない
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Shin-otoko 神男
Hadaka Matsuri Guide
The Hadaka Matsuri is an old divine service to exorcize plagues, which was started by an
Imperial ordinance in the Nara period. It begins on the 2nd day of the lunar New Year
when the Shin-otoko (神男), who is the man burdened with all the world's calamity, is
selected among the applicants by lot and prayer. He is given a sakaki (榊), a kind of plant
offered to God in Japan, with a special mark which proves that he is the Shin-otoko. Then
he must have all his hair completely shaved, even the hair on his body.
On the 7th day of the lunar New Year, Oh-kagami-mochi (大鏡餅), a large round-shaped
rice-cake, is made from 50 bales of rice.
Shin-otoko joins in the making of this
kagami-mochi with Guji (宮司), the chief priest of the Shinto Shrine. On the 10th day of the
lunar New Year at 5 pm, the Shin-otoko must begin his three-day confinement in a shrine,
Naoi-den (儺追殿), for devotional purposes. At 7 p.m. on the 12th day of the lunar New
Year, a divine service is executed in a government office building.
At 5 p.m. on the 13th day of the lunar New Year , the Shin-otoko is prayed for, to be given
the ability to carry out his important mission. When the prayer is over, a lot of men and
women rush to the sanctuary to give a prayer for exorcism and to get Naoi-kire (儺追布), a
protective charm.
In the afternoon on this day, lots of naked men from the district around Inazawa city run
into the shrine with Naoi-zasa (儺追笹).
A Naoi-zasa is bamboo grass and people who
cannot be undressed write their names, ages and wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to
the bamboo grass. The naked men then wait for Shin-otoko in the cold winter weather.
At 3 pm, after Naoi-shinji (儺追神事) is over, Guji and Shin-otoko worship and offer sake
to God. Negi (禰宜), a Shinto priest, brings a huge sakaki, sacred branch, and he swings it
above Shin-otoko
s head three times and says, "Go to the Naoi-hojo (儺追捕場) from now
on" in a loud voice.
Shin-otoko, who is completely naked, then runs into the crowd of
waiting men while Negi begins to swing tetsuhoko (鉄鉾) while praying for his safety. The
naked men make a dash to touch him in order to exorcize plagues. Many participants drink
much sake and get heavily drunk.
quite a few people get injured.
They hit and jostle each other during the festival so
Shin-otoko comes into Naoi-den about an hour later and
Negi makes sure he is safe.
the lunar New Year 旧歴正月
divine service 神事
plague 疫病
calamity 災害,災難
sanctuary 神殿
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exorcize (厄など)を追い払う
exorcism 厄払い
(1) What does "Hadaka" mean in English?
(2) What is "Shin-otoko"?
(3) Is it easy to find Shin-otoko during the festival?
(4) What is "sakaki"?
(5) Do many people get injured in the festival?
(1) 彼はスピーチコンテストに参加した。
He (
) in the speech contest.
(2) 彼女がうそをついたはずはない。
She couldn't (
) a lie.
(3) ワインはブドウから作られる。
Wine is (
) grapes.
(4) まり子は髪を切った。(切ってもらった)
Mariko (
) her hair (
(5) 彼が来るかどうか確かめてください。
Please (
) whether he is coming or not.
It takes about 12 minutes from Nagoya to Konomiya Station by the Meitetsu limited
express train. The Konomiya Shrine is about 5 minutes’ walk from Konomiya Station.
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