Clitoraid was invited to the phallus festival of Kanayama shrine at Kawasaki in Kanagawa prefecture, near Tokyo, on Sunday 5th April.
Kanayama shrine’s festival is becoming more famous every year with its big phallus paraded on the “mikoshi” (portable shrine). So, it is generally nicknamed “Kanamara matsuri” (phallus festival). Recently, not only Japanese but many foreign tourists visit there.
Before this festival, we sent a letter to the shrine owner asking to participate in the event though anticipating their refusal since it is illegal to display a vulva in public in Japan. But, surprisingly, Head Priestess Nakamura welcomed us. According to the Priestess, although Kanayama shrine is dedicated to both penis and vulva as symbols of harmonious couple, fertility or prosperity, the media and the public only focus on the penis display.
In fact, while at the festival, the Priestess told us about the dedicated vulva statue which is found inside the shrine’s sanctuary but is closed to the public, because the vulva statue was “too realistic” and some visitors were too shocked to see it. In contrast, the phallus statue is on open display inside the shrine’s ground where everybody can see and touch it.
The Priestess is also a friend of the youngJapanese artist, Rokudenashiko who is currently awaiting trial and a possible jail sentence in Japan for displaying her extensive vulva art work, and who made Clitoraid's vulva logo. Once again, in Japan, the public display of female genitals, even in art, is forbidden. Our participation aimed not only at raising awareness regarding the taboos that surround the vulva and the clitoris but also to renew our support to Rokudenashiko. We are sure that the Priestess welcomed us partly because we both support Rokudenashiko.
On the day of the festival, to our surprise, we found ourselves in the spotlight like Hollywood stars with our Clitoraid vulva signs. Even though it rained, the shrine was packed with worshippers and foreign tourists, and many people paid attention to us and took our photo. Especially, the poster of Rokudenashiko’s logo illustration which caught people’s eye. We were interviewed about Clitoraid and Rokudenashiko by several Japanese and US media.
We were so thankful to Head Priestess Nakamura for allowing us to join the street parade. The staff of the shrine was friendly to us, and we received cheers from street side spectators. Among them, a Canadian woman cheered passionately for us, saying that “I know Dr. Marci Bowers [Clitoraid's volunteer surgeon}! I met her several times! You are really great!” It is to be noted that the Priestess and her Priest father are also involved in stopping FGM.
The parade was peaceful and joyful, we enjoyed a lot and we look forward to participating again next year with a giant display of a vulva artwork along side the penis statue and end the taboo and discrimination of the female genital organ.
Clitoraid to be represented at Japan’s renowned Shinto Phallus Shrine - Introducing its new clitoris awareness logo designed by artist Rokude Nashiko
LAS VEGAS, April 3 - U.S.-based, international humanitarian organization Clitoraid, which offers clitoral repair surgery to victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), has been honored by Shinto High Priestess Hisae Nakamura, owner of the Shinto Shrine in Kawazaki, Japan. In accordance with this new recognition, Clitoraid's vulva logo will be displayed during the Shinto celebration, Sunday April 5th, where penis statues are paraded in the streets, according to a statement released today by Clitoraid.
"This honorable invitation is highly symbolic,” said Lia Steinman, Clitoraid’s U.S. spokesperson, who was born in Japan. "Clitoraid's vulva logo is the result of an artistic collaboration with Japanese artist Rokude Nashiko, who is currently awaiting trial and a possible jail sentence in Japan for displaying her extensive vulva art work there. In Japan, the public display of female genitals, even in art, is forbidden. Our participation aims not only at raising awareness regarding the taboos that surround the vulva and the clitoris but also to renew our support to Rokude Nashiko.
Head Priestess Nakamura explained: "Originally, our shrine was dedicated to both the penis and the female genitals as symbols of fertility, prosperity, and happy couples, but the public and the media have focused only on the penis tribute. So many people misunderstand about the shrine worshipping only the penis."
“In accordance with the humanitarian vision of Maitreya Rael, who founded Clitoraid in 2004, our organization works toward restoring sexual pleasure in women whose basic human right has been trampled for centuries,” Steinman said. “Whether women are victims of extreme physical violation, such as female genital mutilation, or victims of a more subdued psychological and cultural violation, as in modern Japan, our goal is to restore their dignity and ability to experience pleasure without shame or guilt."
To emphasize the importance of female genital pleasure and women's dignity around the world, Clitoraid has established Clitoris Awareness Week during the first week of May, Steinman said.
“During this special week, we educate the public about the clitoris and celebrate this magnificent female organ, which was vilified far too long, yet is so vital to women's inner-balance and self-esteem,” she explained. "That’s why we hope to see a large vulva statue parading at the Shinto festival next year alongside the wonderful phallus symbols ."
Clitoraid supports Heather Hironimus, a Palm Beach County, FL resident who is facing a prison sentence for refusing to have her 4 year old little boy genitally mutilated or "circumcised" as the medical community lightly calls cutting off a part of a boy's penis who has no say in this matter.
“Bodily harm is against the fundamental rights of all children, and we can’t understand when a so-called civilized country such as the United States would allow its male babies to be so readily mutilated legally!" said Nadine Gary, spokesperson for Clitoraid.
Clitoraid (clitoraid.org) is the international, non-profit organization founded by Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement (rael.org), to end Female Genital Mutilation by offering free clitoral repair surgery to victims of this barbaric act. Now the organization is urging a worldwide end to genital mutilation of male children as well.
“The United Nations passed a resolution that condemns all cultural and religious arguments in favor of FGM because the act constitutes a gross violates of children rights,” Gary said. “But how can the U.N. ban Female Genital Mutilation and not denounce Male Genital Mutilation as well? Is it exempting certain religions from respecting the fundamental right of baby boys?”
Gary said that according to the World Health Organization, 30 percent of males worldwide are circumcised.
“This means billions of people have been mutilated without their consent,” Gary said.
Brigitte Boisselier, Ph.D., head of Clitoraid, affirmed that mutilation of any baby or child in the name of a god is unacceptable.
“It’s been done for centuries under the pretense that a god requested it, but no religion should be allowed to harm infants or children who can’t give informed consent,” she said. “We’re setting up a hospital in Africa that’s due to open next year, where female victims can go to have genital repair surgery for free. “And, thanks to Clitoraid, thousands more can find relief at several clinics in North America. But we’ve also been getting e-mail from hundreds of circumcised men who want to have their own mutilation undone. They need help too! So, as Rael has repeatedly stated, it’s urgent to have all the old scriptures reviewed by an independent committee on human rights so that all religious group practices are in agreement with the Declaration of Human Rights.”
The documentary is a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes into the mind of one of Clitoraid's patients, an FGM victim who is about to have her Clitoral Repair Surgery. Clitoraid wishes to thank this patient for allowing her story to be told and filmed so that it may help heal millions of other victims of FGM until genital cutting no longer exists.
Clitoraid is a public charity and has been granted tax exempt status (section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code). US taxpayers can deduct donations to us from their federally-taxable income. Our tax-ID# is: 20-4818106