February 2006 For most of the year, Kounoniya is a peaceful place. But in winter, religious ritual joins with drunken delirium to create one of Japan's most extraordinary sights -- the Nude Festival.
In temperatures close to zero, a designated 'Spirit Man' is stripped and beaten by the crowd. The ritual, which dates back over a thousand years, is meant to absorb the city's punishment and brings good luck. As one participant admits: "It's more important than my wife."
Produced by ABC Australia Distributed by Journeyman Pictures