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Japanese pray in icy water to end COVID-19



Tokyo – During a Shinto ceremony at a Tokyo Shrine on Sunday, men in traditional loincloths and women in white robes clapped and applauded before entering an ice water bath to purify their souls and pray for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event is held at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine. Due to the health crisis, the scale has been reduced this year, and there will be more than 100 people in early 2020. Spectators of the event are not allowed to enter.

After warming up and singing under a clear sky, the outside temperature was 41.18 degrees Fahrenheit, nine male and three female participants entered a bathtub filled with cold water and large ice cubes. Shinoi Ooi, a 65-year-old participant, said: “I pray that the coronavirus will end as soon as possible.”

Japan has been working hard to contain the recent surge in coronavirus infections, and Tokyo reported 1

,494 new cases on Sunday. In order to curb this spread, the Japanese government announced on Thursday that the state of emergency in Tokyo and the three surrounding counties will be limited, covering approximately 30% of the country’s population.

Naoaki Yamaguchi, who participated in the event, told Reuters that there were fewer participants in the Shinto ceremony, which made the water extremely cold.

“Usually we have more participants, which will increase the water temperature a little bit. But this year there are only twelve people, so (the cold) is crazy,” said the 47-year-old.

This shrine adds the theme of “Prevention of Epidemics” to its annual event held on the second Sunday of each year, and it is now its 66th year.


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