At the Sanja Matsuri festival in Japan, known for its wild nature, the Japanese honor those who founded the city’s oldest temple. The festival is insane with almost two million people celebrating for a period of three days.
While most festivals in Japan are controlled by organised crime syndicates (known as “yakuza” in Japanese), their participation is usually very concealed. Once a year however, the yakuza openly present a show of strength at the Sanja Matsuri festival. They undress, displaying their full-body tattoos, and one hundred men join forces to lift a portable shrine (known as a “mikoshi”) that weighs over one ton and parade it through the streets.
The police are present but are not bothered. Perhaps there is an underlying peaceful relationship between the police and the yakuza, as the yakuza reportedly value justice and duty above all else and forbid allowing others to suffer.
After they undress, the yakuza stand on top of the shrine and just before it is lifted, they jump off. The sound of chanting fills the air as the shrine is carrying through the streets – a powerful sight.