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 to women and gay men who love gay romance/smut stories.
That said, LGBT life is still a mystery to Japan’s general audience. The typical perspective is that gay is ok if it’s away. This has led to several gay men deciding to stay in the closet to survive.
Ironically though, it seems that if two seemingly straight men do it, guy on guy kissing is fine!
For years now, Japan has had multiple trends and games that friends play with each other, record as they do it, and then upload online.
Some of these games include what they call Kabe don, a classic romance drama cliché when one person stands against a wall and another slams their hand against it. (‘Cause nothing says love like a dominating presence).
Another game is called the Pocky challenge in which two people eat at each end of a Pocky stick (a pretzel stick covered in chocolate). They then Lady and the Tramp their way to the center. It’s much like a game of chicken. Will you be brave and accept the kiss or will you chicken out?
And the guy on guy fun doesn’t stop at just teenage goofs as even professional athletes are kissing for “the fun of it.”
Late last month the Japanese Volleyball league hosted an All-Star game. During that game players Yu Yamamoto, a chaser for Sun Yamagata, and Takuya Takamatsu, a forward for Toyoda, got into an argument after Yamamoto’s team scored.
It was obvious by the smiling faces of their teammates that the two were only joking and the fight wasn’t real. Then to add to the moment, Yamamoto and Takamatsu kissed to end their bickering before getting back to the game.
Since it was obvious this was all one big farce from fight to flirt, the crowd applauded the kiss.
In the four minute video for their latest song titled Shadow Kiss, the members kissed each other at least 36 times with kisses ranging from pecks on the cheek, to thigh kisses, kisses on earlobes, and full on make out sessions.
The pop group has been working for about 5 years now as they debuted in 2012 under the name of Morning Musumen. Back then they only did cover songs of an all-female idol group called Morning Musume, but have since transitioned into their own music.
Since their debut, the sexuality of MeseMoa’s members has been questioned before, but they have never defined their sexual orientations.
So like with the fun and games mentioned before, all the kissing may just be for the fun and the fans.
And certainly, gay men, and women who love gay men, are celebrating all this guy on guy content. Yet, none of it seems to be aimed towards being actual gay content.
In Japan, and most countries in Asia, male contact is considered normal because they aren’t as concerned about hyper-masculinity and “not seeming gay” as we are.
This has led to the ability of Asian men being able to have physical contact with each other to lengths that we wouldn’t even consider doing.
And again, in Japan gay life is still more a foreign thought than a reality to the everyday citizen. So even playful kisses like the one by the volleyball stars is more considered guys being goofy guys than any indication of sexual orientation.
This begs the question, if Japan became more aware of gay life and actual gay people would any of this change? Would men still feel comfortable with their close physical contact or would they start to push such actions away like we in the West do?
Probably, some of that change would happen, but hopefully the centuries of culture wouldn’t be rewritten by unnecessary fear.
Until that day happens, we can continue to enjoy these public displays of (platonic) affection, and hope that one day gay men in Japan can be just as public too.
by Devin Jackson
Source – Gay Pop Buzz