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:

 

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 »

Dutch LGBT rights advocate says Japan is starting along path to gay marriage

Borris Dittrich, former Dutch MP and LGBT director for Human Rights Watch, said ‘the start is happening now’ The man who helped make the Netherlands the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001 has said ‘the start is happening now’ for the same in Japan. Borris Dittrich, former Dutch MP and… Read more »

Gay pride march kicks off first ‘Tokyo Rainbow Week’

Thousands of people joined a parade Sunday to kick off “Tokyo Rainbow Week,” a series of events aimed at supporting sexual minorities. Organizers said about 12,000 people took part in the inaugural parade, which has been held for several years around the Harajuku district as a gay pride event. The week of special events runs… Read more »

Japan: Thousands march in Tokyo in support of LGBT rights

Thousands marched in Tokyo this weekend as Japan kicked off its first Rainbow Week, which aims to reach out to LGBT people in the country. Organisers of the parade estimated that 12,000 people took place in the parade on Sunday, the first in a week of events in a programme which runs until 6 May.… Read more »

Lauren Anderson: The Brit fighting for LGBT rights in Japan

GSN meets the girl from Liverpool who is committed to achieving equality for gays and lesbians in Japan and has become a key part of Tokyo Rainbow Pride On a recent visit to Tokyo, Lauren Anderson’s name seem to come up a lot. The English communications officer for Tokyo Rainbow Pride – it was clear… Read more »

Tokyo Rainbow Pride planning a bright future for Japanese gays and lesbians

GSN meets the organizers of Tokyo Rainbow Pride I met Inui Hiroteru, co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride at the Park Hyatt hotel near Shinjuku. ‘Call me Hiro’ he said politely as we shook hands; 33-year-old Hiro’s English was perfect, my Japanese non-existent. It was happy hour in the New York Bar, so we chatted over… Read more »

Tokyo Rainbow Pride planning a bright future for Japanese gays and lesbians

GSN meets the organizers of Tokyo Rainbow Pride I met Inui Hiroteru, co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride at the Park Hyatt hotel near Shinjuku. ‘Call me Hiro’ he said politely as we shook hands; 33-year-old Hiro’s English was perfect, my Japanese non-existent. It was happy hour in the New York Bar, so we chatted over… Read more »

Lost in Tokyo

GSN channels our inner Scarlett Johansson and explores the Japanese capital This was my first visit to Japan and I was excited. I flew Virgin Atlantic from London’s Heathrow to Tokyo Narita Airport (grabbing some Yo Sushi! for breakfast to help me start to connect with the Japanese culture). I was prepared to be overwhelmed… Read more »

Homoerotic traditions in pre-modern Asian & Pacific Island societies

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities are commonly thought of as relatively recent, western, social constructs… but what do we know about non-heteronormative expressions of sexuality in historical Chinese, Korean, South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures? There is a very wide misconception that ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender’ (LGBT) constitutes a purely modern phenomenon… Read more »

Japon: 2.500 personnes à la Gay Pride de Tokyo

En costume de carnaval ou en tenue de samouraï, les LGBT défilaient dans un pays où l’attention portée aux minorités sexuelles est assez faible. Environ 2.500 personnes ont pris part à la Gay Pride de Tokyo, qui se déroulaient hier. Les LGBT réclamaient comme chaque année une plus grande tolérance de la société nippone à… Read more »

2,500 march for gay pride in Tokyo

Organisers of Tokyo Rainbow Pride say an April march will now be a firm fixture in the LGBT calendar Wataru Ishizaka, Taiga Ishikawa, the first two openly gay politicians elected in Japan, and Aya Kamikawa, the only openly transgender politician in Japan, march in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade Sunday’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade attracted… Read more »

Tokyo has twice the Pride

The capital of Japan has two LGBT Pride marches this year. Gay Star News speaks to the organisers of this Sunday’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride In Tokyo Pride marches are like buses. You wait for over a year and then two come along at once. Although with Tokyo’s excellent transport system, the analogy doesn’t translate so… Read more »

Tokyo gets double dose of gay pride for 2012

LGBT community deserves to be spoilt for choice after a parade-free 2011 For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, gay pride parades are not only a great means to raise awareness of LGBT issues and spread the message of diversity and acceptance, but also a much-needed excuse to gather supporters together and party down.… Read more »

Gay Japan News & Reports 2009-11

1 Japan gives citizens the green light for gay marriage abroad 3/09 2 Political shift gives hope to gays 8/09 3 Tokyo’s Gay Scene – Ni-chome in Shinjuku 2/10 4 Brief History of Gay Culture and Rights in Japan 3/10 5 Tokyo Pride to return after three years 8/10 6 Safer Sex Japanese Video 1/11… Read more »

Gay Japan News & Reports 2004-08

1 Japan refuses refugee status for gay Iranian 4/04 (see #6 of 2003 News & Reports) 2 Japan’s pioneer gay magazine giving way to cyber sites 9/04 3 Japan in the Footsteps of Yukio Mishima 1-2/05 4 A visiting Brit offers insight into a culture steeped in history and tradition 4/05 5 Homosexuality in Japan… Read more »

Gay Japan News & Reports 2000-03

1 Sex change no cure for torment 6/01 2 Tokyo Disneyland offers gays chance to come out in the sun 8/00 3 Trocks in frocks in Tokyo (Male Ballet Company) 7/01 4 Coming out at the workplace the next big challenge for gays 6/01 5 ‘Selectively out:’ Being a gay foreign national in Japan 3/01… Read more »