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Published on Feb 17, 2008
Hadaka Matsuri - or Naked Man Festival - run in Saidaiji, Okayama, Japan on February 16th, 2008.It is a cold winters night. Temperature is close to zero, at about 11.45pm. Blessed sticks are presented to a crowd of "Naked" men who collect them and return to the priests. The winner gets blessed with luck for one year - plus a cash payout of 1 million Yen I hear. They used to be naked years ago to prevent knives and swords (katana's) coming into play. For modesty's sake the nappy or "Fundoshi" was introduced. Here the men jostle for position before the sticks are released to the crowd at midnight.