Forgotten PIcture
October 18, 2007 4:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for disturbing image I came across several years ago. It was a flash shot taken in a completely dark auditorium containing several hundred Japanese college age males, in their underwear in complete darkness. Several were hanging from the wall railings and other falling into the pit below,. I seemed to part of an initiation. Ring any bells?
posted by Neiltupper to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
There is a certain ceremony in Japan where priests - I think - toss some scrolls into an auditorium of sorts, and a bunch of almost-naked guys then scramble for the scrolls. Not sure if this is what you're thinking of, but maybe it'll help prod someone else's memory towards giving you the answer. =)
posted by Xere at 4:18 AM on October 18, 2007

i remember the photo, and xere is spot-on with the scroll business. I remember seeing it in a national geographic.
posted by craven_morhead at 4:52 AM on October 18, 2007

I know this picture exactly. I saw a similar one in an old Time-Life book on Japan (it was a series of books each focusing on a country) that belonged to my dad (I think he got it from his dad so it could be quite old). Xere is correct that it's a ceremony where an entire roomful of Japanese guys in loincloths scramble after scrolls (although I recall the accompanying text saying it was just some sticks but I could be wrong) throw in amongst them.
posted by PenDevil at 5:08 AM on October 18, 2007

Oh, Christ, Xere jogged loose some memories of that article. Spooky as hell.

Def. National Geo; probably either four years or two years ago, as I had to cancel my subscription for a year.
posted by notsnot at 5:09 AM on October 18, 2007

Here you go!
posted by misozaki at 5:35 AM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here is a larger picture.
posted by Psychnic at 5:43 AM on October 18, 2007 [4 favorites]

An here is the obligatory Wikipedia article.
posted by 4ster at 6:52 AM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by miss lynnster at 8:23 AM on October 18, 2007

Random comment about the Wikipedia entry: they have translated "hadaka matsuri" as "naked festival", which is about as close to right as English allows, but not perfectly accurate. "Hadaka" means something more like "undressed". If you go outside wearing jeans and no t-shirt, you are described as "hadaka". If you go out buck-naked, you are also described as "hadaka". So "hadaka" refers to the whole spectrum from "fully naked" to "half-naked". So they aren't cheating by calling it "hadaka matsuri" while wearing underwear.
posted by Bugbread at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2007

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