Weird shrines are not uncommon in Japan. In the past we reported about Karube Shrine, where people go to worship breasts, and the Shinto shrines where they bury broken needles in tofu. But the weirdest one we found so far has to be the Kunigami Shrine, in Tochigi Prefecture, that allegedly prevents and cures hemorrhoids.
So how does a shrine manage to cure a painful medical condition? Well, our guess is as good as yours. All we know is that according to an ancient tradition, people who wash their backsides at a nearby river and eat egg offerings are completely cured of hemorrhoids.
In modern times though, people have stopped washing their butts in public. Instead, they simply point their posterior at a smooth, shiny, egg-shaped butt washing stone placed at the center of the shrine and recite a silly incantation. This can, apparently, cure people of hemorrhoids. For those who are healthy, it can prevent their occurrence for life.
‘Kisai’ is the annual festival held at Kunigami Shrine, when people arrive in throngs to receive a cure for the painful condition. The centuries-old festival was discontinued in 1988, but then it was revived a couple of years ago, owing to a sudden surge of hemorrhoids among the Japanese.
This year’s festival saw at least 70 people in attendance – each of them bowed reverentially and then pointed their rectum at the “butt washing stone”.
Thank goodness they just pointed their rectums at it, instead of using it to wash them, or it indeed woulda rectum. 😉
(“Rectum? Damn near killed ’em!” 😉 )