1,000-Year-Old ‘Naked Man Festival’ Comes To An End

[Screenshot/YouTube/Nippon TV News 24 Japan]

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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The 1,000-year-old Somin-sai Festival, commonly referred to as the “Naked Man Festival,” came to an end on Feb. 17 in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture.

Hundreds of men dressed only in loincloths gathered at the Kokusekiji Temple in Oshu for the traditional festival, where they battled for the last time to gain ownership of a bag of talismans blessed by the temple’s chief priest, UPI reported.

The tradition was terminated by Daigo Fujinami, chief priest of the Kokusekiji Temple, who announced that the Somin-sai Festival was officially coming to an end due to the declining population in the area where the event was held, according to the outlet.

“This decision is due to the aging of individuals involved in the festival and a shortage of successors,” Fujinami wrote on the temple’s website. “While efforts were made to continue the festival to the best of our abilities, in order to prevent last-minute cancellations or disruptions in the future, the decision to cancel the festival itself has been made.”

The “Naked Man Festival” took place every year on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, according to UPI. (RELATED: Video Shows Dozens Of Trapped Whales Attempt To Escape Drift Ice)

The winner of the final Somin-sai Festival’s contest was Kikuchi Toshiaki, a 49-year-old who is a member of the festival preservation association, the outlet reported. Toshiaki expressed his sorrow that there would never be another “Naked Man Festival.”

“It is sad that the festival is ending. I participated in hopes that it would be a memorable festival,” Toashiaki said, according to UPI.