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

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.

October 16, 2017

The Reasons Japanese Business' are Endorsing The LGBT Community

In faraway Toronto, an art exhibition titled “The Third Gender – beautiful Youths in Japan” is an eloquent statement on Japan’s attitude towards gender. Long before the term LGBT came into vogue, Japan went its own way regarding gender definitions, as the exhibition shows. It harkens back to a more relaxed era, depicted in art as the “Floating World”, before the Meiji restoration in the 19th Century opened Japan to Western ideas and concepts, including a more Victorian attitude towards sex roles. That is changing rapidly in Japan, led by big business seeking to tap into the underappreciated market for lesbians, gays and transgender people estimated at US$50 billion.

Japan schools a ‘hateful’ place for LGBT students, says rights group

The online shopping mall operator Rakutan earlier this month announced that it would recognise same-sex relationships for spousal benefits. Under the new rule, employee couples of the same sex can receive the same benefits and treatment as married couples, including condolence leave and condolence payments.
Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) take part in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade. Photo: AFP
“We are very proud to support and provide an inclusive work place with services and benefits that recognise same-sex partners,” said Akio Sugihara, managing executive.
Rakuten is known as a trend-setter in Japanese business circles. It made news earlier when it announced that it was demanding that all 13,000 employees learn to speak English for the company to work better in a global setting. But other more venerable Japan Inc. companies are following suit.

Hong Kong to propose hosting the gay Olympics: ‘the Gay Games needs to come here because we need to improve LGBT rights’

The massive electronics emporium Panasonic announced it too would recognise employees in same-sex relationships by conferring on them paid leave and other benefits. One motivation is the 2020 Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo. It has a rule prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Panasonic aspires to be a prime sponsor.
Drag queens take part in a gay pride event in Tokyo. Photo: AFP
Japan Airlines and its affiliate Trans Ocean Air Company together sponsor the Pink Dot festival on Okinawa, becoming the first Japanese airlines to sponsor a private LGBT event. Beginning this year, JAL will also allow officially certified same-sex couples to share their frequent flier miles as family members. Both JAL and Trans Ocean, based in Naha, rely heavily on tourism.

Indonesian LGBT groups set up safehouses as ‘cacophony of hatred’ reaches fever pitch

“We can see the ripple effect among numerous additional Japanese companies”, says Ayumu Yasutomi, a professor of social ecology at Tokyo University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Asia.
Like its counterpart in the United States, Tokyo Disneyland sponsors an LGBT Pride event. This includes a popular marriage hall, which performs a kind of symbolic marriage ceremony for same-sex couples. Nomura Securities, was one of the first major LGBT-friendly companies in Japan when in 2008 it bought the US investment bank Lehman Brothers and adopted its marriage equality policies.
Two women take part in a gay pride event in Shibuya, which has introduced “Proof of Partnership” documents. Photo: AFP
Hakuhodo DY Holdings, a major Japanese advertising firm, this spring established a think tank, the LGBT Research Institute, to cater to Japanese firms that feel they need to learn more about sexual minorities and their buying habits. “The LGBT market is still largely uncharted territory,” declared institute chief Takahito Morinaga. His research shows that LGBT people tend to spend more on travel, art and pet goods, he says. “I believe there are tremendous big business opportunities,” he said.

Hong Kong’s LGBT community left disappointed by long awaited report on discrimination against sexual minorities

Change is coming, albeit more slowly, in the public sector. The self-governing Shibuya district of Tokyo created quite a stir when in February 2015, it declared that it would begin issuing “Proof of Partnership” documents, providing same-sex couples with rights traditionally reserved for married couples, stopping just short of fully–fledged same-sex marriage certificates.
The Setagaya district quickly followed suit, but since that initial outburst, no other Tokyo district has done so, although the small city of Iga in Mie prefecture became the first government entity outside of Tokyo to issue Proof of Partnership documents for same-sex couples.
A gay pride event takes place in Tokyo's Shibuya and Harajuku shopping districts. Photo: AFP
One might reasonably question that if these districts are issuing documents for same-sex couples that are practically marriage certificates, why not take the next logical step and fully legalise same-sex marriages. The answer has less to do with views on homosexuality, which are fairly relaxed in Japan, as it does to more practical concerns such as inheritance and the definition of the family under law.

Hong Kong’s annual LGBT festival: where pink means party

In Japan, couples can go through any “marriage ceremony” they wish, from the most traditional Shinto wedding ceremony to marriage halls in Disneyland and Hawaii (combining the wedding with the honeymoon). But no one is actually and legally married until they go to the city hall and enter their names in the family register or koseki. For married couples only one family name must appear.
The koseki system performs by itself the roles taken on in other countries through several documents, including birth certificates, death certificates and of course marriage or adoption. So many conservatives are loath to tinker with it.
Two Japanese men take part in an LGBT rainbow rally in Tokyo. Photo: AFP
As a rule, then, Japanese don’t have much cultural hostility to LGBT people. Homosexuality has been legal in Japan since 1880. Neither of the two main religions, imported Buddhism and the native Shinto, has any position on sexuality. (The tiny Christian minority does not much exert influence.)
A law passed in 2002 allows transgender people to change their legal gender after obtaining sex re-assignment surgery. There are no laws governing which bathrooms to use. Indeed, there are occasional signs in front of public toilets saying this stall is gender free.

Two-thirds of Macau’s LGBT community face ‘high’ discrimination, survey finds

The current exhibition of Japanese wood-block prints running in Toronto is itself a fair indication of Japanese attitudes towards gender. In the kabuki theatre men play women’s roles, while in the Takarazuka review women play the men’s roles.
Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) take part in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade. Photo: AFP

Japan’s politicians have been slow to react to LGBT issues. In the recent upper house election in July, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s manifesto contained some vague language of support for LGBT issues but was placed towards the end of the document.
“The Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would probably try to get by without dealing with LGBT issues. Without outside pressure [the Olympics] things might not have gotten this far,” says Akiko Shimizu, associate professor of gender and sexual studies at Tokyo University. “But doing nothing looks bad.”

Actor Ian McKellen urges India to ‘grow up’ in its attitude towards LGBT rights

Japan’s constitution, written by occupying Americans in 1947, goes farther than even the US constitution in guaranteeing women’s rights and specifically places women on an equal plane with men in terms of consent and inheritance, but does not mention partners of the same sex.
For the first time since the war, the ruling LDP has enough votes in both houses of parliament to call a national referendum on amending the constitution, which has never been changed since it was first promulgated.
However, the LDP’s proposed amendments, which it published in 2012, contain no references to same-sex marriage, and indeed, proposes strengthening definitions of family. These proposed amendments can be changed, of course, but it doesn’t seem likely that the conservatives who now dominate the government will be willing to go down that road.
Todd Crowell has been a journalist in Asia for 30 years, in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan
South China Morning Post

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