Donzuki Festival


Donzuki Festival

***** Location: Japan, Niigata
***** Season: Early Spring
***** Category: Observance


"Body Throwing Festival", Donzuki Festival,
Donzuki matsuri
どんづき祭 (どんづきまつり)

February 15 (lately: 3rd sunday in February)

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At the Shrine of the Mountain God, Akatani-san 赤谷の山神社 in the village of Shibata in Niigata Prefecture.

The festival has a history of over 700-years.
It takes place from 7 pm to 8 pm. The area is still all white with snow.
"Men of the year" dressed in white loincloth only jostle one another and pull ropes to worship at the Shrine to pray for a good harvest and good health the coming year. They pull the rope from the shrine to the entrance gate (torii) and back. Hot steam rises from their naked bodies and the onlookers throw snowballs at them. Then one of the priests and the leader of the men are thrown high into the air and others catch them (dooage 胴上げ), which later gave way to the pronounciation "doozuki, donzuki".
The men all carry a paper lantern with their own name.

When they come home, they get a special food called "holding the life together", inochi tsunagi いのちつなぎ.

It used to be one of the New Year Ceremonies of old.

One of the "naked men" festivals.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


shoonen no fudoshi massara ni donzuki sai

the loincloth of the youths
all tight in place ...
Donzuki Festival

Tr. Gabi Greve

© Okamura Yuko 岡村優子


Related words

***** Man of the year, toshi otoko


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