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*Ancient rice festival has reputation smeared by 'therapeutic' facial cream claims

>A Fukuoka festival dating back to ancient times is growing increasingly popular with Japan's adult movie fans because it involves smearing gooey, white liquid all over the faces of participants, according to Cyzo (January).

>For better or worse, words like "geisha" and "hara-kiri" have been joined in the global lexicon by "bukkake," which has adapted a more specific meaning overseas rather that the original Japanese meaning of "to splatter."

>And the same adult movie world that spread the word is now getting behind the Oshiroi Festival held every December at the Oyamazumi Shrine in the Fukuoka Prefecture town of Haki.

>Initially, the festival is a somewhat closed affair as the shrine's parishioners gather at the main hall to have a feast.

>As time goes on, Cyzo notes, the atmosphere becomes considerably lighter and soon men come along bearing containers.

>Inside the containers is rice flour mixed with water to form a sticky, glutinous substance called oshiroi, which is where the festival gets its name.

>Starting with the shrine's chief priest, the men draw out handfuls of the gooey mess from the containers they're carrying and smear it all over the face of all those taking part in the banquet, whether they like it or not, with results closely resembling what the adult video world refers to as a gansha, or facial shot.

>Oshiroi is said to have a therapeutic effect on the skin, which has attracted a growing number of young women to the festival in recent years, Cyzo says, adding that it's custom for both men and women to have their mugs daubed.

>Since ancient times in Japan, there has long been a traditional to link farming and sex. In Nara Prefecture's Onda Festival, a god-like creature with a long nose called a Tengu simulates making love to a traditional Japanese peasant woman called Otafuku, which means "lots of fortune." 
>During the ritual, the Tengu pours sake into a bamboo flute, which it waves around and splatters its contents over onlookers in an act that clearly mimics ejaculation.

>In the Fukuoka festival, oshiroi's rice base, Cyzo says, is said to serve the same purpose. (By Ryann Connell)

December 27, 2005





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