Showing posts with label Gay Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Japan. Show all posts

June 4, 2020

Mie in Japan First to Ban Outing Gay Individuals,The Samurai Allowed Fluid Sexuality for Centuries

The Distriet is Mie

Outing will soon be officially out in Mie.
Although still somewhat behind other developed nations, Japan has been making some headway in LGBT rights over the past five years. Several local governments have begun recognizing same-sex marriages and both companies and schools in the country have begun making moves to become more inclusive.
The latest development comes from Mie Prefecture, where on 3 June, Governor Eikei Suzuki announced the creation of a ban on the outing of LGBT community members without their permission. Under the prohibition, which is a part of a wider anti-discrimination law, third parties will not be able to reveal a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, nor can they coerce that person to publicly reveal it themselves.
Penalties will be created after a conference of experts deliberate the matter. Governor Suzuki said that the act of outing, “can destabilize family and working relationships and drive people into isolation by disrupting their friendships and contact with other people.”Suzuki added, “We need to do more to create a society that cares for each other.”
Online the move was widely applauded as a welcome change. Most supported it and urged for more to be done, while a few seemed to have trouble with the concept of “outing” and the extent of Mie Prefecture’s legal jurisdiction.
“This country should work for a future where any love is recognized.”
“I wish we didn’t need this law in the first place.”
“We can’t change everyone’s opinions overnight, so this is a good start.”
“Hopefully we can work on the underlying problems as well instead of just banning things.”
“I wonder if this is really equality though. It seems like special treatment.”
“What about old movies where someone calls someone else a ‘homo?’ Can they still show that?”
“Most of Japan is probably just going to ignore these laws. Nothing will change unless people’s thinking changes.”
It’s certainly true that real change can’t be accomplished by laws alone. To shift the perceptions of an entire society deeper action needs to be taken. But at least this ban has already sparked a lot of discussion in the country and in that way hopefully led a few to think more carefully about the situation and what it means to everyone.
Speaking of which, maybe it’s also time again to remind everyone about the remarkably widespread fluid sexual orientations of samurai for hundreds of years in Japan.
Source: KyodoMy Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

April 23, 2020

LGBT in Japan Worries CORONA-19 Will Mean A Forced Coming Out


Many members of sexual minorities in Japan worry that catching the novel coronavirus could mean their sexual orientation is revealed against their will as authorities probe infection routes, a supporters' group has found.

A survey by Marriage for All Japan also showed they worry about whether they or their partner will be able to receive important medical information that hospitals provide to family members if one of them becomes infected with the pneumonia-causing virus. 

About 180 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people among others had responded to the survey by Friday. 

A 34-year-old man who lives with his same-sex partner in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, has chosen not to be open about his sexual orientation at his office. But he worries it may be revealed if he becomes infected with the virus as he would have to tell a public health center about his partner when asked about people he has had close contact with.

Even those who are open about their sexual orientation are worried about being excluded from important decision-making processes on treatment if their partner is hospitalized with COVID-19.

Kohei Inagaki, 28, and his partner have been recognized by the city of Saitama as partners equivalent to a legally married couple. But he said, "I may not be notified of my partner's health condition and may not be able to be involved in making decisions on treatment."

The same survey revealed that there is also a misperception among some LGBT couples that they are not eligible for government compensation for parents who take leave from work to look after children due to the school closures prompted by the virus outbreak.

Haru Ono, who is raising three children together with her partner, said the government has not clarified that the program targets all people with kids.

"There are many (LGBT) people who have given up on applying for it without knowing" it applies to them, too, said Ono, adding, "I want them to state that same-sex couples are also covered."

Gon Matsunaka, who heads a nonprofit organization for supporting LGBT people, warned that minorities who are often left out in normal circumstances tend to suffer even more during crises, and urged the government to help them.

"We understand that the government's top priority is protecting the lives of the people, but we want it to take a look at LGBT and other people who have serious problems regarding privacy and take measures so that they don't fall through the safety net," Matsunaka said.

November 6, 2019

Japan Universities Are Moving To Give LGBT A Safe Space

Movements to create safe learning spaces for sexual minorities at universities are gaining traction across Japan, with alumni groups and faculty staff promoting initiatives to deepen students' understanding of issues and provide support for the LGBT community.
"I want to make my alma mater a place where sexual minorities can study with confidence," proclaimed Gon Matsunaka in a lecture hall at Hitotsubashi University located in Tokyo in September.(Gon Matsunaka)
An openly gay man himself, the 43-year-old is the president of Pride Bridge, a volunteer group made up of graduates from the university, and currently works at a non-profit organization supporting sexual minorities.
In September, Pride Bridge and the Center for Gender Research and Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University formally agreed to cooperate in creating an environment where sexual minorities can study without discrimination.
In addition to holding 13 lectures for students to learn about topics such as same-sex marriage and LGBT employment issues, the agreement also outlined plans to establish a base for LGBT individuals and supporters to gather.
The impetus for such initiatives was an incident in 2015 when a male student of the university committed suicide after he was outed by a classmate in whom he had confided about being gay.
Matsunaka, who remained closeted while attending the university, was shaken by the news and determined to spark change at his school. He started Pride Bridge with two classmates and made appeals to the university.
On Sept. 25, the group invited two postgraduate students in gender research to speak at its second lecture.
(Cooperation agreement between Pride Bridge and the Center for Gender Research and Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University.)"If someone comes out to you, it is important that you first try to sincerely understand them," Remi Kodamaya, 23, said to the audience of around 500 people as he touched on the 2015 incident.
"It is important the university conveys the message that it is a place where all minorities can feel safe in their daily lives," Kazuki Maenosono, 23, said after the lecture.
Other universities are also searching for ways to provide a safe environment for those who identify as LGBT. In 2017, the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture set the precedent for other universities in Japan by publishing a set of guidelines prohibiting discrimination against sexual minorities.
"As gender identity and sexual orientation has no bearing on abilities the university values, there shall be no discrimination or harassment," the guidelines said, also instructing students to refer to transgender peers by their desired name.
The university has also established a confidential consultation office, which can also be used by those unsure of what to do if someone comes out to them.
In June, the staff at the University of Tsukuba spearheaded the University Diversity Alliance, a network of individuals affiliated with institutions of higher education. Members of the alliance include faculty members from the University of Tokyo and Ochanomizu University, a women's university which has decided to accept transgender students.
"I hope to share knowledge accumulated by different universities on ways to support (minorities)," said Yoshiyuki Kawano, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Human Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, and one of the founders of the alliance.

September 24, 2019

The Popularity of The Gay "Manga" in Japan (Gay Cartoons)

A book cover for Tagame Gengoroh’s renowned series "My Brother’s Husband"  Photo: Twitter@tagagen.
Photo: Towleroad

The Popularity of Gay Manga in Japan: What are ‘Bara’ and ‘Yaoi’ and Who Are Its Fans?

Japanese manga and anime depicting gay sex have a huge fanbase here and abroad. So what's it all about?
While the topics covered in Japanese anime and manga are seemingly endless, if recent hits like Yuri on Ice (2016), or My Brother’s Husband(2014-2017) are any indication, gay and homoerotic relationships fill an extremely popular niche in manga plotlines.
But, My Brother’s Husband (which was was remade last year into an NHK drama) and Yuri on Ice are only the tip of the iceberg. Get ready to blush, gasp and “kyaaa!” as we delve into why gay manga is so popular, and how to navigate an already huge international fandom.

Gay manga subgenres: BL and Bara

Gay manga has two major subgenres, not to mention the huge variety of plotlines ranging from futuristic dystopian societies to gay cops fighting crime and finding love. Yuri on Ice and My Brother’s Husband are good examples of these two subgenres. 
Yuri on Ice, a light-hearted love story between a retired master Russian figure skater and his Japanese apprentice, falls under “BL,” or “Boys’ Love” which is a direct translation of shonen’ai (少年愛—literally, “boy love”) an older term for BL manga that fell out of usage in Japan.
Fun fact: Victor and Yuri never explicitly kiss. Another fun fact: They were still hardcore gay for each other.
Another disappearing term for BL is yaoi. This is said to come from the Japanese expression yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, or “no climax, no fall, no meaning,” to jokingly describe how BL is often critiqued for a lack of actual plot. 
Among Western readers, yaoi tends to connote BL works that have more explicit scenes, while shonen’ai is still sometimes used to refer to tamer gay manga series in which you watch an entire series only for the main couple to kiss. Six hours… for a kiss.
If popular BL series like Gakuen Heaven, Shungiku Nakamura’s Junjo Romantica, and Maki Murakami’s Gravitation are any indicator, BL characters are usually more willowy and traditionally “pretty.” There’s even a word for this style of male beauty: 美少年 (bishonen or “beautiful boy”). Flowers, tearful love confessions and slow-motion hugging scenes abound within the BL subgenre.
Among Western readers, yaoi tends to connote BL works that have more explicit scenes, while shonen’ai is still sometimes used to refer to tamer gay manga series in which you watch an entire series only for the main couple to kiss.
My Brother’s Husband, however, falls under bara manga, also known as “men’s love” or “gei komi (gay comics).” These comics are decidedly more “macho” when compared to BL.
Bara draws its name from the popular 1970s gay magazine Barazoku (薔薇族), or “Rose Tribe.” In a 2006 article by scholar Jonathan D. Mackintosh, he explains that Barazoku “pioneered a homo magazine genre and industry” that helped Japanese gay men feel less isolated. Some say the name also derives from a photo series in the 1960s called Barakei (“Killed by Roses”). The erotic portraits captured by photographer and filmmaker Eikoh Hosoe displayed the muscular writer Yukio Mishima, who wrote the homosexual novel Confessions of a Mask, which was first published in 1949.  
The word then later fell out of fashion, however. In an interview with My Brother’s Husband creator, Gengoroh Tagame, he explains that he doesn’t use the word bara and prefers “gay comics” or the abbreviated gei komi. Nonetheless, the word bara still persists among Western fans of the genre.
Bara has far fewer full-fledged series (i.e. longer than a few volumes) than BL. That said, works such as Standing Ovations by Tagame or Hide and Seek by Reibun Ike tend to feature characters that YouTuber KrisPNatz describes as “thick and fluffy” as opposed to BL’s willowy personae. Instead of flowers, you’ll find a lot more muscles and bulging jockstraps.

Who creates and consumes gay manga?

You might have noticed that most BL creators tend to be women. In fact, after looking at a sample “The Top 10 Best Gay Manga” blog postby Lindsey Lee, a google search reveals that all 10 listed manga were drawn by female artists. 
In an article on Savvy Tokyo titled “Boys’ Love, the Genre that Liberates Japanese Women to Create a World of Their Own,” writer Kirsty Kawano noted that women are the primary readers of BL. This is mostly true, and consumers of other shojo series (manga aimed at teenage girls) like NichijoOuran High School Host Club, or Lucky Star are familiar with the common fujoshi (literally, “rotten girl”) character who, often quiet and bespectacled, enjoys reading and/or drawing sexually explicit gay manga. 
As Kawano’s article eloquently points out, many women in Japan feel “liberated” to explore their own sexuality through love scenes between two men rather than between a man and a woman. 
Work by Gengoroh Tagama via Twitter @tagagen.
But just because women primarily draw BL doesn’t mean only women read it. Just like fujoshi, men who enjoy BL are called fudanshi (literally, “rotten boy”). 
Not all fudanshi are gay, either. One manga series, The High School Life of a Fudanshi (2015-present), features a teenage boy who loves gay manga but identifies as straight. 
many women in Japan feel “liberated” to explore their own sexuality through love scenes between two men rather than between a man and a woman.
Bara is supposed to be aimed more at men, and it definitely has a more macho aesthetic that appeals to men. However, Anne Ishiia popular bara translator who also happens to be a woman, points out in an interview with women’s website The Hairpin’s Chris Randle that plenty of women enjoy the more “muscley” aesthetic of bara artwork, too. 
Bara and BL are not all that different in terms of plots, and Anne Ishii notes that women read gay manga to get down to the “nutty core of desire” prevalent in both BL and bara fiction. 

The fetishization of gay sex

You might be thinking that BL, as it appeals more to straight women, would be much less sexual than the more outwardly pornographic bara titles. You would be wrong. More often than not, sexually explicit BL consists of “one-shots,” or manga/anime series that only have 1-2 volumes/episodes, like Sensitive Pornograph (self-explanatory title), Ai no Kusabi, or Haru wo Dateita, to name a few. 
The sexual dynamic in BL is a bit different from the sex in bara, however. Because of the strong heterosexual female influence, BL couples often consist of a more masculine seme (literally, “attacker”) character who pursues a smaller, more effeminate uke (literally, “receiver”) character. 
Ai no Kusabi anime based on the novel by Rieko Yoshihara; DVD cover.
Unsurprisingly, BL terminology differs a bit from actual gay relationships in Japan. 
In the real world, uke is still used to denote the “bottom” of a gay relationship (i.e. the receptive partner during anal sex) but has nothing to do with that person’s masculinity. Seme is only used in BL; in the gay world, tachi is instead used to denote the “top” (i.e. the insertive partner during anal sex) and riba (short for “reverse”) describes a guy who likes to do both. 
Because of the strong heterosexual female influence, BL couples often consist of a more masculine seme (literally, “attacker”) character who pursues a smaller, more effeminate uke (literally, “receiver”) character.
In fact, BL depictions of the dynamics of gay relationships are often so unbelievable that many fans talk about the “yaoi hole,” which Kabi Nagata, in her autobiographical manga My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, describes as a “mysterious organ in much of BL that doesn’t appear to be the anus in position, shape, or function. When they [BL characters] bone, stuff goes in, it gets wet, etc. [It’s about] High performance.”
Gay readers, and some woke fujoshi, often find that BL sex scenes fetishize gay men and lose sight of actual social issues gay men face in their fascination with oftentimes bizarre, unrealistic sex.
Not all of the sexual misrepresentations of gay manga are as benign, though. Both bara and BL also feature many sex scenes that tread the line between consent and rape, and BL also commonly features characters that appear to be underage, known as rori characters, named after the famous novel Lolita, which depicts an adult man’s desire for an underage girl.
Scholar Mark McLelland points out in his essay “What is the Future for BL?” that international law may pose a threat to BL if creators do not speak out against the too-common depiction of underaged characters in sexual scenarios.

Ready to explore gay manga? Do your research first

Be sure to research any gay manga before reading it to avoid this content. While some of the titles mentioned in this article may feature younger characters, none of them are depicted having sex.
BL sex scenes fetishize gay men and lose sight of actual social issues gay men face in their fascination with oftentimes bizarre, unrealistic sex
When considering that both men and women are creating and reading gay manga, it’s easy to see a sort of conversation happening between BL and bara. It’s a fast-evolving, varied world of fiction with an enormous online fanbase, and while some issues within the BL/bara creator communities need to be challenged, the pros outweigh the cons. 
Gay manga is a space in which both men and women can explore fantasies, laugh at cheesy romances, question society, and look at hot, highly stylized drawings of dudes making love. If you didn’t think gay manga was for you, think again. There’s a lot to love in boy’s love. 

July 29, 2018

Thousands Protest in Japan the LDP Mio Sugita Remark "Gays are Unproductive"

Thousands of angry protesters rallied on Friday night in front of headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, calling for the resignation of junior lawmaker Mio Sugita, who had earlier branded the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community “unproductive.”
Sugita is facing nationwide criticism over an article she contributed to in the latest issue of conservative magazine Shincho 45, in which she argued that taxpayer money shouldn’t be invested into policies supporting same-sex couples because “these men and women don’t bear children — in other words, they are ‘unproductive.’ ”
Many joined the rally after a hashtag went viral on social media encouraging people to gather and unite in a show of protest against the two-term lawmaker.
Participants wielded an array of signs and placards featuring rainbow colors — a symbol of LGBT pride — and chanted slogans demanding that Sugita quit, saying: “We don’t need a lawmaker who disregards human rights!”
Yumi Moriya, a representative of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, one of the groups involved in organizing the rally, claimed the turnout topped 5,000.
” ‘Unproductive’ is not a word you use to describe human beings — LGBTs or not,” said Rina Matayoshi, 26, who said she is a lesbian.
Matayoshi said the fact that the LDP has yet to unequivocally call out Sugita — let alone take punitive measures against her — is tantamount to the party condoning her remark. When asked about a backlash against Sugita earlier this week, LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai neither supported nor criticized her, saying “different people have different views.”
In the magazine, Sugita said the recent media tendency toward celebrating sexual diversity risks instilling in those “capable of enjoying normal romance” a misguided notion that “they have an option of going homosexual” and therefore increasing the number of “unhappy people.”
“So what, is she saying we’re abnormal or something?” Matayoshi said.
Another participant, 26-year-old Ame Kondo, said she was so hurt by Sugita’s comment — which she thought completely disregards the human rights of LGBT people — that “I couldn’t sleep well for a few days.”
“It felt like I was being told that I don’t deserve to be alive,” Kondo, who was born male, said, adding she is currently undergoing hormone therapy.
“The fact she can say these things so blithely means that she is denying the very existence of LGBTs.”
Mariru, a 21-year-old university student in Tokyo, said the productivity — or the lack thereof — shouldn’t be cited to determine the value of a human being in the first place. But she said she took notice of the disappointing way some people reacted to Sugita’s remark on social media.
“I realized some people were arguing that LGBT people, too, are contributing to the Japanese economy because they work and pay taxes like anyone else. But that way of thinking is actually the same as Sugita’s,” said Mariru, who wished to be identified only by her first name.
Huge applause broke out at one point during the hours-long protest when a woman came forward and shouted from the top of her lungs.
“I won’t let anyone stop me loving a woman!” the woman, who said she was a 22-year-old lesbian, screamed into the microphone.
“Everyone deserves to be alive! Everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally!” she said. “I have the freedom to live the way I want.”
Japan Times

June 20, 2018

In Japan Schools Are Introducing LGBT Friendly, Practical Uniforms

[Translated from Japanese, please forgive the fonts, grammar used]
An emerging number of Japanese schools are introducing genderless uniforms or flexible uniform codes in an effort to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.School officials hope the move will ease the mental anguish of students hitherto required to wear rigidly gendered uniforms such as a jacket with stand-up collar and trousers for boys and a sailor-type outfit with a skirt for girls.
At Kashiwanoha Junior High School in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, which opened in April, students can freely choose whether to wear skirts or slacks as well as ties or ribbons to go with blazers regardless of their gender. 
Originally, the school did not intend to make students wear a uniform but had to change course as nearly 90 percent of parents and prospective students surveyed wanted one.A panel of parents, teachers, prospective students and education board members was set up to discuss a suitable kind of uniform. Some members said consideration should be paid to LGBT students and that girls should also be allowed to wear trousers because they are more practical and warmer in winter.
Koshin Taki, vice principal of Kashiwanoha Junior High School, said, "We thought it would be better to let students wear something they feel comfortable in if they have to struggle to come to school because of uniforms." 
"We chose a subdued color and check patterns so that the uniform would be suitable for any student," he added.
Similar moves are spreading elsewhere in Japan with a junior high school in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Fukuoka preparing to abandon stand-up collar uniforms and sailor-style suits, instead of introducing blazers and allowing students to choose between skirts and trousers in the new school year from April 2019.In Tokyo, the education board of Setagawa Ward is set to follow suit next April while the education boards in the cities of Osaka and Fukuoka said they will start considering what kind of school uniforms would be acceptable for LGBT students. 
Anri Ishizaki, who heads FRENS, a nonprofit organization supporting LGBT people, said that trying to fit all students in gender-specific school uniforms can be a burden to transgender students who are afraid of coming out."Some students are embarrassed and cannot concentrate on their studies because of uniforms. In some cases, they stop going to school," said Ishizaki."Although uniforms are not the only factors tormenting them, it is a significant element as they are required to wear them all the time," added Ishizaki, noting that offering students more options about their clothes is likely to provide transgender students with "a sense of ease." 
According to a 2014 survey by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which covered elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan, there were 606 consultations cases nationwide related to students' gender identity disorders that came to the attention of schools.The following year, the ministry issued a notice encouraging schools to enhance support for gender minority students and pay consideration to their clothes, hairstyles, use of bathrooms as well as swimming and other activities. 
Tombow Co., the uniform manufacturer picked by Kashiwanoha Junior High School, says it began developing genderless uniforms after it received an increasing number of inquiries from junior high schools and high schools about such outfits from around the time of the government notice in 2015.Ayumi Okuno, a school product designer at Tombow, said that she found out in interviews with LGBT students that many of them do not want to wear uniforms that clearly differentiate the shape and silhouette of men and women so she pays attention not to highlight certain designs such as curves that emphasize womanliness. 
"We are also offering various suggestions to schools so they can select what works best for them," said Okuno, noting that the company provides schools with several options, such as introducing a flexible dress code like Kashiwanoha Junior High School, providing uniforms that suit the gender identity of each student, or allowing students to wear gym clothes except for certain ceremonies or formal occasions.Of the uniforms Tombow manufactures for Japanese schools, about 50 percent are a stand-up collar or sailor-style uniforms but more and more schools across Japan are introducing slacks for girls, according to the company.Although the two schools mentioned above allow skirts for male-to-female transgender students, Okuno believes it is still "difficult" to develop such a product and see it take hold in Japan.

"Even if schools and students accept such a uniform, it is likely to be frowned upon by many people in society," she said.While the introduction of a new dress code is seen as a positive step forward, taking such measures without bringing LGBT students under unwanted attention could be a challenge as special treatment may lead to the disclosure of their gender identities, according to experts.In the government's 2014 survey, only about 20 percent of the 606 cases of students involved in consultations on gender disorder had revealed their gender identities to their peers at school while around 60 percent kept them undisclosed.Kashiwanoha Junior High School's Taki said that he is carefully monitoring reactions of students after the introduction of the new dress code as some female students expressed fear about drawing special attention for wearing trousers. 
He stressed that the dress code offers options not just for transgender students but also for others who want to wear them for practical purposes."I hope (the new dress code) will help students choose what they want to wear without necessarily disclosing their gender identity," he said.

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