Oliver Francis

Thoughts from the spaces in between


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Oniyo Fire Festival

As it’s just been bonfire night, in honour of setting light to things for spurious reasons, here are some pictures of a rather different fire festival.

The Oniyo Fire Festival of Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan happens every year on 7 January – and has done so apparently for the past 1900 years or so. Its purpose is to banish evil spirits from the town and grant┬áluck, fertility and prosperity.

The temperature is close to freezing, and the men are dressed only in loincloths – so these campfires that they gather around are practical as much as ritual (generous quantities of Sake also help with proceedings.)

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