Japan, Asia

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands making it an archipelago. Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents. A major economic power Japan has the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP and the third largest in purchasing power parity. It is a developed country with high living standards (8th highest) and a world leader in technology, machinery, and robotics.

Japan has had no laws against homosexuality. Technically, sex among consenting adults, in private, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender, is not a crime under National legislation. However, some local governments and prefectures have indirectly addressed homosexuality by enacting laws that effectively raise the age of consent for homosexual conduct to eighteen, on the grounds of protecting the youth. Japanese civil rights laws do not include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the city government of Tokyo has passed legislation banning discrimination in employment based on sexual identity. See gay rights in Japan.


News & Reports:


With the theme ‘love and equality,’ this year’s march saw the biggest attendance yet.

Some 7,000 people attended Tokyo Rainbow Pride in Japan this weekend, up from 5,000 in 2016, according to organizers. “Everyone is equal in love. We seek no special rights, but the same thing, the same way. The freedom to love. That basic freedom is what we want to achieve,” organizers told Pink News. Some 37… Read more »

Japan’s Fukuoka Begins Registering Same Sex Couples

Seventh municipality in Japan begins registering LGBT couples, continuing march to greater equality in the country. Southwest Japan’s Fukuoka Municipal Government on Monday began recognizing LGBT couples this week, becoming the seventh municipality in the country to offer such registrations after Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward began in 2015. Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima handed the first official… Read more »

Same-sex couples officially recognized in one of Japan’s big cities

Lots of couples flocked to have their relationships registered in just the first few days Same-sex couples can now register their relationship in Fukuoka, one of Japan’s biggest cities. Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima made the announcement about the good news in February. But now everything is up and running for the partnership oath system which… Read more »

‘Boys For Sale’: The Dark World Of Japan’s Gay Prostitution

Although technically not illegal, gay prostitution remains cloaked in secrecy, and a new film reveals the ‘boys’ themselves often have no idea about the health risks they are taking It took the creators of the documentary Boys For Sale more than a year to fully win the confidence of the male prostitutes, owners of gay… Read more »

What’s It Like Being A Gay Student In Japan?

In a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ society, teachers receive directives but no training to support anxious, closeted children when they are ‘outed’ Loretto Cunningham has had a rough day at work. A well-meaning colleague inadvertently revealed her sexuality to a senior member of staff at one of the primary schools in Tokyo where she teaches… Read more »

Japanese city of two million becomes biggest to recognise same-sex partnerships

Two million more people can have their same-sex relationships legally recognised from today. Sapporo became the first major city in Japan to issue official partnership vow papers to those who wish to enter a legal same-sex union. And the city on the northern island of Hokkaido will also recognise heterosexual relationships involving at least one… Read more »

Here are 12 pictures of Tokyo Pride which will make your day

Tokyo’s Rainbow Pride parade is always a sight to behold – and this year smashed all expectations. A record 6,000 people attended the event yesterday, in the Shibuya district of the Japanese capital. The parade, which has taken place every year since 2012, was given the theme “Change” this year, and 23 floats did their… Read more »

Tokyo Rainbow Pride participants march for ‘change’ in LGBT recognition

Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people paraded through Tokyo’s Shibuya district on Sunday to express hope that Japan will further embrace gender equality and diversity. The LGBT parade was the finale to the annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride festival, and this year’s theme was “Change.” “I believed that nothing would change. But, little by… Read more »

Straight Asian Men Love To Kiss!

Japan’s thoughts on LGBT life still need a little work, but they might be getting some unexpected help. On the underground, Japan has a busy and thriving gay culture. Populated areas have plenty of gay centers and spots for LGBT people. In addition, the country originated the comic genres of Yaoi and Bara, which caters… Read more »

Japanese city becomes first to officially recognise same-sex foster parents

A city in Japan has become the first to recognise a first same-sex couple as foster parents. The gay couple in Osaka, who are in their 40s and 30s, has now officially fostered a teenage boy, who has been living with them since February. The older of the two men – who asked not to… Read more »

Circuit Parties Began Fading in North America a Decade Ago—Why Are They So Hot in Asia?

On Saturday, hordes of gay men and other dance lovers will descend upon a club space in Manhattan for the Black Party, an edgier, kinkier underground variant of the “circuit party,” a gay institution that has, for better or worse, defined a certain strain of macho, drug-embracing, sex-positive party culture since their initial appearance around… Read more »

Japanese city set to become biggest to recognise same-sex relationships

Nearly two million more people will be able to have their LGBT relationships legally recognised from June. Sapporo, a Japanese city on the northern island of Hokkaido, has finished a public consultation which led to an overwhelming 1,500 people writing in to support the proposal. Opponents who wrote in were largely concerned that the step… Read more »

Sapporo set to become first city in Japan to recognize same-sex partnerships

Congratulations Sapporo! Sapporo is set to become the first city in Japan to recognize same-sex legal partnerships. While law still defines marriage as between a man and a woman in Japan, progress is slowly being made to give gay couples some legal protections to their relationship. In 2015, Tokyo’s Shibuya district announced it would allow… Read more »

With Manicures and Makeup, Japan’s ‘Genderless’ Blur Line Between Pink and Blue

Tokyo — With the precision of a craftsman painting a ceramic doll, Toman Sasaki blended foundation onto his fine-boned face, shaded the side of his nose with blush and shaped his lip color with a small brush. After 40 minutes of primping in his tiny studio apartment in Tokyo, he peered into a hand mirror… Read more »

Japan election manifestos free LGBT rights from political closet

When openly gay independent candidate Wataru Ishizaka campaigned for a 2007 Tokyo local election, people snickered at his speeches, but now even Japan’s conservative ruling party mentions gay rights in its platform for this year’s upper house election. Though the paragraph is deep in the manifesto of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)… Read more »

Tokyo Pride Parade-Goers Share Their Dreams For Japan’s LGBT Community

Thousands marched through Tokyo’s streets this weekend to celebrate Japan’s sexually marginalized groups. The Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade saw high levels of participation this year, with thousands of people marching through Yoyogi Park on May 7 and 8 to raise awareness of Japan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The march comes at a time… Read more »

Human Rights Watch Calls Bullying Of LGBT Students In Japan ‘Epidemic’

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday released an 84-page report on the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in Japanese schools. In the report, titled The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down: LGBT Bullying and Exclusion in Japanese Schools, HRW mostly blames the Japanese government for the nation’s “bullying epidemic.” “Based on… Read more »

“The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down”

LGBT Bullying and Exclusion in Japanese Schools These comics tell the stories of specific individuals Human Rights Watch interviewed, using their own words to describe their experiences. In a few instances the artist added language to provide necessary context. Summary Japan: Bullied LGBT Students Unprotected May 5, 2016 Japan: Bullied LGBT Students Unprotected Policies, National… Read more »

Japanese tech giant Panasonic to ‘recognise’ same-sex marriages despite lack of legal status

Japanese tech giant Panasonic has made a bold statement by extending employment rights to its gay and lesbian employees – despite a lack of government recognition. Though homosexuality has long been legal in Japan, the country does not formally recognise same-sex partnerships – and households headed by same-sex couples are ineligible for the legal protections… Read more »

Another Japanese city to recognise same-sex relationships

The city will become the fourth district in Japan to strengthen its LGBT rights. The city of Iga in Mie Prefecture has announced plans to start issuing certificates recognising same-sex partnerships as being equivalent to marriage. The certificates will be issued from next April onwards, in a bid to address discrimination against the LGBT community,… Read more »

Poll reveals that majority of Japanese support same-sex marriage

Poll results were released last month that show a majority of Japanese citizenships support changing the country’s laws to allow same-sex unions. Fifty-one percent of people polled by researchers from the National Institute of Population, Social Security Research and Japanese Universities back legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The poll quizzed 1,259 men and women between… Read more »

Third Japanese district to recognise gay relationships

A third Japanese district will soon recognise same-sex relationship with partnership certificates. The city of Takarazuka yesterday announced that it will follow in the footsteps of two Tokyo districts in recognising same-sex relationships. As well as officially recognising the relationships, the city also hopes to fuel a debate on equal marriage. The new certificates will… Read more »

New poll shows majority of Japanese support marriage equality

Many people support a change in the law, results show. According to a new poll carried out in Japan, the majority of people support changing the country’s laws to allow same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage was much higher in younger age groups, with over 70 per cent 20-40 year olds backing the move. Despite… Read more »

Japan to air first lesbian drama

Fuji television has announced the airing of Transit Girls, a drama series that will feature a lesbian love story as its central theme. Japan’s first drama centred on a lesbian love story will be aired next month according to a release from Fuji Television. A promotional photo (above) shows the two lead actresses lying in… Read more »

New education minister in Japan pledges support for LGBT students

Japan’s new minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology has expressed his support for LGBT students. In an interview with The Japan Times Hiroshi Hase, Japan’s recently appointed minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, discussed the need to support LGBT students. Hase remarked that the issues facing LGBT students were not understood… Read more »

Japan belatedly joins gay rights movement

Tokyo — As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to sanction same-sex marriage across the United States, gay couples in Japan are belatedly making strides of their own. Starting this summer, one of Tokyo’s largest districts will begin issuing domestic partner agreements that for the first time will give legal protection to gay couples in… Read more »

Tokyo Ward Shibuya To Recognize Marriages Of Gay Couples

The assembly of Tokyo, Japan’s Shibuya ward on Tuesday approved a plan to recognize the relationships of gay and lesbian couples as the “equivalent of a marriage.” According to the AP, a majority of the ward’s 34 legislators favored the proposal, which only applies to Shibuya – a dense district known as a fashion center… Read more »

LGBT students may be ready to come out, but are Japan’s schools ready to accept them?

When university student Osamu Inoue, 19, came out openly in high school two years ago and admitted he was gay, he had hoped that at least his school would have adopted a more positive attitude toward sexual minorities. That wasn’t the case, however. “Nothing was done at the school to mend the situation in which… Read more »

Japan’s gay community highly stratified by body type and age

Japanese gay media have promoted a gay identity linked to youth, masculinity and highly gym-trained bodies as being highly desirable, says a social researcher. Gay men’s identity in Japan are subject to stereotypical categories based upon media created ideas of an idealized depiction of youth, body type and modes of consumption, says a social researcher… Read more »

Japan’s gay community highly stratified by body type and age

Japanese gay media have promoted a gay identity linked to youth, masculinity and highly gym-trained bodies as being highly desirable, says a social researcher. Gay men’s identity in Japan are subject to stereotypical categories based upon media created ideas of an idealized depiction of youth, body type and modes of consumption, says a social researcher… Read more »

Shunkoin Temple In Kyoto Helps Japan’s Same-Sex Couples Tie The Knot

A Buddhist temple in Japan is offering LGBT couples a place to have symbolic wedding ceremonies — even though gay marriage is still illegal in the country. Japan allows same-sex marriage ceremonies within its borders, according to the Council On Foreign Relations, but these couples won’t be given the legal rights and privileges that heterosexual… Read more »

Japan school introduces poster campaign to explain LGBT identities to children

A school in Japan is embarking on a new poster campaign to explain lesbian, gay, bisexual, and asexual identities to children and reduce the rate of LGBT-related bullying. Entitled Who will you come to like? the poster is part of a series on healthcare issues called Kokoro Kenkou no Nyusu roughly translated from the Japanese… Read more »

Japan: 70% of LGBT pupils bullied in school, 30% contemplate suicide

A new study in Japan has revealed 30% of LGBT school pupils have considered suicide after suffering from some of the highest rates of bullying in the country. The Japan Times reports this is the first large-scale study of its kind in the country. The report comes after a UK study found similar statistics, with… Read more »

Akie Abe, Japan’s First Lady, Joins Tokyo Gay Pride

Tokyo’s annual Gay Pride parade got a boost Sunday with the participation of Japan’s first lady Akie Abe, the wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Thousands of people participated in the parade, the high point of Tokyo Rainbow Week 2014, which runs through May 6. Abe waved to parade watchers from a float and… Read more »

Japan LGBT news update

Let’s have a look at the latest LGBT updates from Japan. There’s been a revealing poll about the nation’s stance on gay marriage, a HIV awareness billboard causing a stir in Tokyo and an inspirational coming out speech from a teenager. Billboard censored in Tokyo’s gay district Viiiv Healthcare has erected a large billboard in… Read more »

Queer Tokyo, Lost In Translation

Walk through the narrow streets of Ni-Chome on a Saturday night, and you’re forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled upon a massive impromptu gay-pride festival. That’s because Ni-Chome (pronounced knee-chomay) boasts the highest concentration of gay bars in Asia, if not the world. When I first started coming here 30 years ago, much of the action… Read more »

Japan revises law to protect against same-sex sexual harassment

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare acts on rising reports of sexual harassment by colleagues of the same gender Japan has taken a small step towards better gender equality by banning same-sex sexual harassment in the workplace. From July 2014, a female boss who keeps asking subordinates of the same sex to dine with… Read more »

Japan: Government district in Osaka becomes first to support LGBT human rights

A local government ward in the city of Osaka has become the first Japanese district to officially support LGBT human rights. Yodogawa ward, one of 24 wards in Osaka, passed a resolution recently after a consultation with residents on LGBT issues, including Hiroko and Koyuki Higashi, who were the first gay couple to get married… Read more »

Osaka district becomes first Japanese government area to support LGBT inclusion

Yodogawa ward in the city of Osaka has become the first government area to officially support the inclusion of LGBTs, passing a groundbreaking resolution A local government area in the city of Osaka has become the first Japanese district to officially support the inclusion of LGBT people in society. Yodogawa ward, one of 24 wards… Read more »

First-ever Pink Dot Okinawa sees 800 participants

Pink Dot Okinawa, which is the first public LGBT-affirmative event in the prefecture, attracted 800 participants on Sunday, July 14. Inspired by the event of the same in Singapore, co-organiser of Pink Dot Okinawa Hideki Sunagawa was inspired to organise one as a way for Okinawans to show their solidarity for a more tolerant and… Read more »