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Scapegoat

Intrigued this morning to read about a Japanese new year festival which involves  Japanese men in a cleansing  ritual. It is being screened on BBC4 tonight at 9pm on a programme called ” FEAST” .

Here is a description of what happens:

Japanese naked men

“Perhaps the most famous and widely attended of these Hadaka Matsuri is the one held in the city of Inazawa in Aichi Prefecture on the south-central coast of Honshu near the metropolis of Nagoya. On the thirteenth of January, nearly 300,000 people converge upon Konomiya Shrine to witness the spectacle of 10,000 men in loin cloths and wooden sandals, each one hell-bent on touching the Shin-otoko, a naked man chosen by the townspeople to act as a scapegoat to divest them of all evil.

Considered a great honor, the Shin-otoko is but one of more than a thousand chosen ones who have walked, or rather fled pell-mell  through the streets of Inazawa every year for more than 12 centuries. In preparation for the event, the Shin-otoko must undergo many sanctifying rites and shave all the hair from his body. Participants in this event, all of whom must be locals or invited guests, believe that touching the Shin-otoko will bring them good luck in the year to come.

Along the parade route, clusters of men in loincloths anxiously await in the brisk winter air for their turn to lay hands on the Shin-otoko. While they wait, they drink hot sake and write prayers on strips of cloth, which they tie to bamboo fronds for offerings at the temple later in the day. Fortunately, the Shin-otoko has a phalanx of bodyguards to accompany him as he makes his way through the streets of Inazawa. The guards use pails of cold water to ward off overly-eager touchers, but nevertheless, by the time the Shin-otoko reaches the temple gates, the poor guy is pummeled with bruises and reeling from exhaustion”

No time to do theology now, but I think Ive come across the idea of scapegoating and the taking away of sins somewhere before…..

” O lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” I shall say with a dozen faithful folk shortly at the 10.30am HC at Little Paxton – powerful words all to easy say to say them by rote..

May 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Ive never blogged before; I’m a blogging virgin!!! I was actually looking st Bp. David’s site and found yours to be far more interesting!!! re. ivy on buildings, no I don’t think it does them any harm. Used to live in a 300 year old farmhouse covered in a mattress of ivy 20-24″ thick, the predecesor peeled off the ‘overcoat’ and the brickwork was totally inharmed.
    I saw from one of your other comments that you are able to see how many people looked at your blog (56, or something) why don’t they make a comment ??? or is blogging a closet act?????
    On a different note; I was made redundant a month or so ago and would like to know whether there are priests out there who would like a bit of free help with things in return for some’parish experience’. Unfortunately Paxton is a bit of a long way from Downham Mkt. but if you know any Vicies or Vicars in W Norfolk then feel free to put them onto me.

    Comment by wingy | May 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Wingy – I havent met a blogging virgin before – Im not sure which gender you are??!! I suppose it was all new to me before I met ” wordpress.com” – then everything changed!! Think some folk havent been sure how to comment – its not immediately obvious – but Ive mentioned how to do it now on the ” About” page. Hope you keep popping on.

      Comment by paxtonvic | May 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Windy, Thanks for your e-mail and comments on the blog – I have replied on the blog but I thought I would reply directly to you as well.

      Im not sure if you are Liz or Philip?? ( or neither!) So sorry I cant address you directly. Yes, I hope more people will comment – they have been today as that makes the blog really interesting. It certainly isnt a closet thing… its just finding out how to do comments I think that people arent sure about.

      A lot of vicars seem to be blogging now – Bishop David’s is quite scholarly which has merits – I learn a lot from it. My brain is a bit more primitive so my stuff comes from every thoughts and observations I guess.

      I was interested in your request for some parish experience – are you thinking of considering ministry in some form? Are you Downham Market Way? I do have contact with the acting Rural Dean there and if you would like to tell me a little bit more about what you are looking for, I can pass you on his contact details.

      You would be welcome to have a look here – there is a lot going on- but as you say, its a bit of a trek from Downham.

      Thanks again for your encouragement and hope to hear from you again Kind Regards Nettie Reed Vicar of the Paxtons with Diddington

      Comment by paxtonvic | May 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Well, all I can say, having watched the Japanese ” naked men” fight their way into the presence of the Shin-otoko ( see above) is that Im very pleased Im a Christian!

    Comment by paxtonvic | May 27, 2009 | Reply


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