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5 Terrifying Festivals You Won't Believe Are Legal

#2. Suwa Onbashira -- Get Crushed Under a Giant Uncontrollable Log

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Held once every six years in the forest hills near Nagano, Japan, the Onbashira festival is basically a landlocked Splash Mountain for the suicidal. Although it's technically about placing sacred pillars around an ancient Shinto shrine, the festival's true appeal lies in riding multi-ton trees down steep-ass hills, knowing full well your bones could wind up crushed into a fine powder should you fall the wrong way. Or the right way. Or pretty much any way.

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Especially that way.

Onbashira is divided into two parts, one just as deadly as the other. The first part, Kiotoshi, involves manually transporting logs from the forest to the shrine. When they encounter a hill too steep for dragging, a group of fantastically, enthusiastically suicidal idiots will ride the pillars down the hill at breakneck speed, because ... does TV suck in Japan, or something? We have no idea.

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images
This stage creates okonomiyaki, or Japanese pancakes.

The second part, Tata Onbashira, sees the fortunate survivors raising the pillar into its post while standing on it the entire time, like they're claiming the forest spirit's erection for Japan.

Les Sharp
Injury here is as easy as falling off a log.

Deaths are common: During the most recent Onbashira in 2010, at least two people were obliterated, while 2004 boasted no fewer than 135 participants with notable injuries, including pelvic and cervical spine fractures.

Such tragedy has forced the Nagano authorities to ... do absolutely dick. In fact, they welcome the risk, claiming that the most dangerous positions (usually in front) bestow more honor and respect. And don't expect Onbashira to go away anytime soon, even if 2016 brings hundreds of deaths and thousands of horrific injuries. This festival has gone on for over 1,200 years completely uninterrupted, after all. If it didn't stop for World War II, it ain't gonna stop because some hippies don't want to see the corpse of the forest mocked so fiercely, or some lame families wish their dumb ol' relatives were still stupid alive.

Clearly, the bitchin' log ride is what's important here.

#1. Takeuchi -- Get Beaten to a Bloody Pulp With Giant Bamboo Sticks

via Japan Probe

"Takeuchi" literally translates to "bamboo battle," and "bamboo battle" literally translates to a battle with friggin' bamboo. Takeuchi is not a place for your pansy figurative language, college boy.

Described as "half street brawl, half war game," every February 15 a couple hundred citizens of Rokugo, Japan, divvy up into North and South, get hammered, and take the flimsiest excuse to beat the quivering crap out of their friends and neighbors with 20-foot bamboo poles.


They wear helmets, so be sure to hit nowhere but the head.

In true Japanese fashion, even getting drunk and bashing each other's brains in with giant sticks is an organized affair. Takeuchi is divided into three rounds, the first two being your average, run-of-the-mill pole battles (you know how those go), but the third round is where the true madness kicks in. The folks in charge, as laughable as the concept of anybody being "in charge" of the Great Outdoor Stick Fight might be, light a giant bonfire, and the participants dip their sticks in and resume whacking each other with gigantic bendy torch-whips. At least until the fires go out and they resort to fisticuffs, which of course happens often.

GoldenJipangu
Forestry, fighting, fire ... it's the festival trifecta!

After the flames and fists have subsided, the judges declare a winner. Yes, of course there are judges. And yes, of course they're drunk, too. According to tradition, if the North team wins, the rice harvest will be good that year. If the South wins, then the price of rice will go up. Some years, both happen simultaneously, which we assume results in a lightning round with literal lightning.


Monte Richard is a slumlord who sometimes writes about slumlording. E. Reid Ross is a columnist at Man Cave Daily and the proud father of a brand new baby Twitter account that you can coo at here.

Related Reading: For some violent festivals you won't believe are real, click here. Explosive sledgehammer day should be every day. And if you want to feel like a video game character, try this fireball festival. Ready for some city-wide parties? Click here.

Cracked's favorite festival is the pocket film festival. Watch it!

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