Last week I posted photos of the ceramic votive phalli at Mara Kannon Shrine in Yamaguchi. Here are some of the other more individualastic and larger votive phalli at the shrine. Some are carved in stone, some wood, and some steel.
As promised here is the rather gruesome story of the origins of this shrine. It was founded back in the mid 16th Century, a time known as the "Warring States Period" as samurai clans all over the country were fighting each other to gain control of territory. In this part of what is now Yamaguchi two of these clans were the Ochi and the Sue.
In September 1551 in nearby Taineiji, Yoshitaka Ochi was facing imminent defeat and chose the "honorable" solution of committing suicide. Two days later his oldest son was captured and killed. His youngest son, dressed as a girl, fled to the mountains and hid out.
Next spring he was discovered near Tawarayama and killed. As was the custom his head was cut off to be taken back to the victorious leader, and for some unknown reason they also cut off his penis. Some time later the local people constructed the shrine to pray for soul.