Menkake Gyoretsu 3

David Lynch vibes at Menkake Gyoretsu: a traditional festival of men wearing ancient and grotesque masks in Kamakura, a coastal city to the south of Tokyo.

Back in September I attended an extremely unusual matsuri called Menkake Gyoretsu: a 200-year old procession where those taking part take to the streets wearing an assortment of grotesque masks. The origin of the festival is disputed, but legend has it that when Yoritomo Minamoto – one of the first samurai leaders in Japan – impregnated a girl, her family had to wear masks when visiting him in order to conceal their identities and consequently their poorer backgrounds. Today’s procession by the ten masked men is a novelty that can be seen nowhere else, and has therefore been designated an Intangible Cultural Asset by the Prefectural Government of Kanagawa.

You can read my report for DAZED here.

Menkake Gyoretsu 15

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