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Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 03:16

We are a Chinese/American married couple with two newborns. My husband is considering taking a career opportunity in Japan. I am aware that Japan doesn't yet recognize same-sex marriage...

Questions: Does anyone have experience with same-sex parents in Japan? Do public schools emphasize mom/dad lesson material? Should we consider international American schools?

I am very hesitant! The main draw for us is the safety levels and gun control (coming from a politically and violently charged country). Please any advice, stories, or opinions are welcome. But, we must consider the social scape of LGBT+ for our family.
by Chong-Yun (guest)  

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 07:52
You won't be recognised. So family visas are a no.

The school won't teach LGTB stuff. But most school world wide don't.

Probably better of picking a other country with similar gun control laws.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 10:02
This potentially could be a touchy subject - so I'll try and keep politics out of it. Also note that these comments are based on my personal experiences and knowledge so take it with a grain of salt.

Before you look deeply into this - I'd look at if it's possible for a gay couple with kids to get a work visa together. I don't know the answer to this - but others might.

As a person who has lived in many countries overseas - the first thing that I suggest is to try and fit in with the local culture and not make it fit your own wanted structure. Questions such as teaching only mom/dad materials is an example of this.

Japan is progressive in some things - and very conservative in others. In general - people tend to leave you alone unless YOU affect them.

Some other things to consider is difficulty in finding a rental property as a foreign gay couple with kids in Japan. There is also some hangups against people who are Chinese in Japan from some people from the older generation. Note this comment is not calling Japan racist or discriminatory - just noting that the US might not always be as bad as some people consider it to be compared to the outside world (and I'm not American!)

In relation to schools - international schools will be much more progressive plus also teach in English. Do note that many of these schools teach a range of nationalities (I taught middle eastern diplomat kids in Japan) so these need to be also taken into consideration when pushing beliefs. International schools are expensive though and see if your job will cover the tuition. I do know that even if it is - it's considered a taxable expense.

Japanese schools also often require more parental interaction - so if you don't speak Japanese I'd give them a miss in your situation.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 11:30
As with mfedley, these are simply my personal observations and impressions from living in Japan for the past 20 years, and are not necessarily the definitive answer on the attitudes of Japanese society.

Generally speaking, though, when it comes to how Japanese society treats non-standard lifestyles (by which I simply mean lifestyles different from the statistical norm, and am not implying that those lifestyles are wrong or unnatural), there's a gap between acceptance and accommodation. By that I mean that people in Japan are, for the most part, unlikely to react with hostility when they see someone with a non-standard lifestyle. They're unlikely to confront that person or aggressively try to make them change. At the same time, though, they're unlikely to change things in order to accommodate someone with a non-standard lifestyle.

So, for example an example of acceptance, you asked "Do public schools emphasize mom/dad lesson material?" Japanese public schools are unlikely to have material that explicitly teaches children "A family has a mom and a father, and any other kind of family is wrong and immoral!"

But on the other hand, as an example of a lack of accommodation, let's say a school is teaching kids vocabulary words, and there's a prompt on their homework worksheet that says "Mom, dad, and children," with the answer that the teacher wants the students to arrive at being "family." If a parent were to contact the school and say that they find the prompt insensitive, and want the school to change "mom and dad" to something less gendered, like "parents," the school would be less likely to make that change, I believe, than many schools in the U.S.

In other words, in Japan I think you're less likely to encounter hostility towards your lifestyle and identity than you would in the U.S., but also less likely to find direct, outspoken allyship as well. As a pretty clear reflection of that, Japan has far less street violence directed at LGBT+ individuals than the U.S., but the U.S. has much more recognition of LGBT+ marriage and family union than Japan does. People in Japan are less likely to glare at you and your husband in a restaurant, but also less likely to agree to rent an apartment to you to live together in.

Basically, in regards to LGBT+ issues, you're likely to find Japan better than the U.S. in some aspects, and worse in others, so when you say "we must consider the social scape of LGBT+ for our family," whether or not Japan would be a good fit for you probably depends on which specific LGBT+ issues are most important for you.
by . . . . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 12:41
i agree with the comments by mfedley above.

Before the parents issue, may I ask about your marital status. Japan does not recognize same-sex marriages, and for non-Japanese couples, only in the case where the countries of the two partners recognize same-sex marriages would they issue gdependenth visa for the partner, even if they got married in a country where it is recognized. It is better or geasierh if both partners are eligible for visa (employer sponsored, student, etc.) independently. I have no idea how visa works for your children.

Secondly, please note that only limited municipalities unofficially recognize same sex marriages in terms of resident rights and promote ease for living - to put it plain depending on where your partnerfs work takes you, it might be difficult to find an apartment.

School: before school starts at age 6, you have quite some years to deal with child care, kindergarten, etc. these are cumbersome to deal with without being able to speak/read Japanese (and being able to understand school or city hall lingo).

In recent years I have been assisting a non-Japanese couple (different-sex) with a child living here in Japan (one parent can speak Japanese at a conversational level but not read fully, the other cannot) with the kidfs enrollment with child care (you need child care if you too want to work, but eligibility and availability issues exist), entering elementary school etc., and it is a lot to deal with.

So unless you find an international school where everything is in English, with two babies (thatfs a handful!) I do not recommend pursuing a stay here.
Best wishes.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 13:17
I met a gay guy couple years ago who came to Japan as his husband's domestic helper (for their children). So the immigration office may unofficially recognize gay marriages through that route, maybe.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/1 16:36
Three things came to my mind.

1. Public schools in Japan do teach LGBTQ today. Whether all teachers are qualified or not is another question.

2. You say you're concerned about guns. I agree that Japan is not a gun-friendly society. However, Japan may not be as safe as you'd think. We have our fair share of strangers barging into schools to stab students to death. For this reason, schools haven't opened their gates to the public as much as they used to, say, a couple of decades ago, which gives them a reason to be socially closed.

3. Speaking of 2 fathers, Ayano Fumino's family publicly speaks of themselves as a family of 2 fathers, 1 mother and their 2 children. I'm sure a lot of people have seen them on the media including TV. They are a family of a male who was born a female, his female wife, and their lawful children. The children's biological father is their best friend who often visits them.

I hope it helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Two Fathers Two Babies 2022/7/10 02:19
I have lived in Japan for a decade and now I live in the US, so I have seen both sides. Safety and gun control is your only draw towards Japan? In that case I would rather consider countries like Canada or Singapore.
Japan will come with its own sets of differences and issues, you need to be sure thatfs the place for you, this is also true for a non-gay couple.
by KB (guest) rate this post as useful

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