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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

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Homosexuality and Japan? 2004/3/29 13:51
Being bisexual, and intending to live in Japan in the furture, I was wondering how homosexuality is dealt with in Japan.

I know several media sources feature gay chracters, such as: anime, manga, vdeo games, and various television shows. I also read that singers (like the wonderful Gackt) perform homoerotic gestures during concerts and live performances.

Are they any laws that prohibit homosexuality? What type -- if any -- anti-discrimination laws exist? Can a homosexual couple adopt children? Can a homosexual couple marry? How is homosexuality approached by the majority of the public?

I am only sixteen, so I am particularly concerned with that of my generation, but any information is helpful and much appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance.
by Imaginary Boy  

Homosexuality and Japan 2004/3/30 02:13
"Are they any laws that prohibit homosexuality?"

Having homosexual partners or running gay bars are not illegal if that's what you're asking.

"What type -- if any -- anti-discrimination laws exist?"

If people discriminate you for your homosexuality (not employ you, not rent you residence etc.), you can sue them and if you win you can get loads of cash, if that's what you're asking.

"Can a homosexual couple adopt children? Can a homosexual couple marry?"

I'm afraid not, but many couples live together.

"How is homosexuality approached by the majority of the public?"

You've answered it yourself. The media features them possitively in a way, gay bars are popular even among healthy women...The most homosexual-friendly place in Japan is the Shinjuku 2-chome district in Tokyo. Very friendly. But there are people who just can't help thinking it's disgusting. In the conservative countryside, things can be a bit tougher and many hide their homosexuality even in the cities.

"I am only sixteen, so I am particularly concerned with that of my generation, but any information is helpful and much appreciated."

It depends. Frankly speaking, I'd say most teens probably would find it "weird". But then in boy's schools (or girl's schools) gay has not been that rare, and they would even be relatively open. In any case, the Japanese generally do not speak loudly about their love life. Kissing or hugging in public is considered impolite. So you can remain "humble" about your homosexuality or bisexuality or any kind of sexuality outside your home until you find a friend who can understand you.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Why 2004/4/3 05:07
Why do u wanna know about that kind of stuff?
Answer my question please
by Celena rate this post as useful

RE: Why 2004/4/3 06:25
(It was late when I had written my previous post, so please forgive the typos.)

I suppose I want to know this type of information because it concerns me. If I was to live in another country, it would be wise to be informed of all that pertains directly and indirectly to me, right?

Thus being bisexual, I am trying to research information on Japanese policies, laws, general atttudes, et cetera.

I doubt I would ever get married nor have any children, but it is useful to know that if I indeed chose to, what I would and would not be able to do.

Thank you, Uco, for answering my (poorly composed) questions. It very helpful. ^_^

I had assumed homosexuality would not be so "offensive" (for lack of a better term) as it is regarded in Western cultures, but I wouldn't be comfortable with simple presumptions.

Anyway, thank you again.

by Imaginary Boy rate this post as useful

Beware 2004/5/17 13:38
Someon said :
"If people discriminate you for your homosexuality (not employ you, not rent you residence etc.), you can sue them and if you win you can get
loads of cash, if that's what you're

I am not sure it would be so easy. Whatever you think, japanese society still regards gaijin as weird guys. For example, if your boss discovers you're gay and if he disapproves it, he can do what he wants. He could fire you for any false reason, and given you're a gaijin, that you probably don't speak japanese, you cannot sue him. Japan is not the US. To sue him would force you to reveal publicly your homosexuality, therefore self-destroying all efforts of integration.

But as mentioned, if you accept to hide yourself and only go to gay bars, meet gay guys secretly, then you'll have no problem. This is perfectly legal, even not accepted yet by the population.
by Falpars rate this post as useful

Gays and discrimination 2004/5/18 09:40
I would agree with the last poster that discrimination laws are pretty toothless, whether it is discrimination against gender, age, or race.
Having said that, and going back to the original poster's question, I think Japan is probably more tolerant of homosexuals than many "western" nations. The feeling I get here is that homosexuality is tolerated as long as it is discreet, and I don't recall ever hearing mention of hate crimes or violence against gays like you hear of in the west. That's just my 2 yen's worth. Good luck if you do decide to move to Japan. I'm sure you will enjoy yourself.
by Dave rate this post as useful

Gays in Japan 2004/7/12 14:44
Well acutally yes gay couples can adopt and they are not really all that different than their str8 counterparts other than they cant marry.

GO BOY! ha ha
by Sho rate this post as useful

Anti-discrimantion Law 2005/8/15 12:02
I read somewhere that a city called Miyakonojo has a law saying that homophobia and discrimantion aginst transgendered people is illegal. I heard that some type of district in Tokyo bans anti-gay discrimantion. Most Japanese people don't really hate them intensely.
by Wes rate this post as useful

tolerance and dialogue is a value 2005/8/30 09:01
There is a difference between social and personal attitudes.

Socially, Japanese have a more tolerant attitude towards homosexuality. Personally, they might be more conservative (not to be confused with suppressive).

The Japanese philosophy/view of life encourages various points of view and dialogue and less on rigid dogma.

I'm glad that differences are not quelched.
by ... rate this post as useful

hm... 2005/9/25 17:44
i'd say... homosexuality in JAPAN is more...ignored / less discriminated against than in the United States.... (maybe i'm wrong...) but there are international support sites such as : with ppl from allover the world..
by someone u dont know... rate this post as useful

.. 2005/9/25 22:28
This thread is a bit old...

Well homosexuality is not a big issue in Japan. With characters like Hard Gay and Kaba Chan on television it really makes for a desensitized country. People dont flaunt their homosexuality, but it is seen out in public. People dont think twice about these situations.

by .. rate this post as useful

previous post....What do you mean. 2005/9/26 01:17
regarding the last posting...
What do you mean by desensitized country?
ALSO I am interested to know what your opinion is of such people on TV as Hard Gay and Kaba Chan... what kind of impression do you get of homosexual peole after seeing such a character on TV... Thnkyou for your time. D.
by Douglas ACC rate this post as useful

.. 2005/9/26 08:46
[i]What do you mean by desensitized country?[/i]
I mean the Japanese arent pro or against gays. They are treated like people. There arent any Gay bashings on the news in Japan. I think people do get pummeled, but not because they are gay.

[i]ALSO I am interested to know what your opinion is of such people on TV as Hard Gay and Kaba Chan...what kind of impression do you get of homosexual peole after seeing such a character on TV...[/i]
The first time I saw Kaba Chan on TV it was semi-disturbing because he is on as many as 2-3 different shows a day sometimes. Hard Gay is a famous wrestler turned comedian. He is in a full shiny leather/plastic outfit screaming "I'M HARD GAY!!! I'M HARD GAY!!! WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!". Then he proceedes to do a lude pelvic thrust for 20-30 seconds while talking. It was quite disgusting the first time I saw it. After watching him a few times it became amusing. Kaba Chan is a bit more polite about his sexuality. He is very afeminine like a guy trying to be a woman. He walks on his tippietoes like a fairy and is the stereotypical gay personality in the US.

I am not homofobic so I am very indifferent about what they do or how they do it.
by .. rate this post as useful

not just HG etc 2005/9/26 11:55
There are a lot of gay personalities on Japanese TV who aren't as over-the-top as, say Hard Gay. There are the brothers (twins?) Piko and Osugi, as well as other talent-types like Kaba-chan (and who is that young guy who wears a cowboy hat??) who show up on variety shows and contribute their opinions not just as "the gay one." However, at the same time, when topics such as relationships come up, they offer their gay perspectives and it's pretty much taken in stride by the other participants.

What about that ikebana master with the long hair - is he gay? He is quite feminine, but he seems to be treated with respect for his ikebana skills, etc. regardless of his sexuality. I mean, he might be on TV because he has a unique personality, but he has made a name for himself as an ikebana master, and not just as a 'talent.'

Then there's Peter and other transsexual/transvestite entertainers who have had fairly long and serious careers as transsexuals (as opposed to joke-tranvestites like Shingo-mama or Gorie).

Conclusion - gay and transsexual men have quite a presence on Japanese TV, which I think has resulted in the public becoming fairly acclimatised towards gays and the like. However, while there are some successful masculine women on TV like Wada Akiko, Shizu-chan from Nankai Candies, and various wrestlers and athletes, there is nowhere near the lesbian presence on TV as there is a gay one.

(how can you tell I watch too much TV? heh)
by sazae-san rate this post as useful

This really helps...thanks! 2006/2/17 16:15
I was always hesitant to ask the questions about homosexuality, probably because I'm still very much in the closet. But knowing now about these things in Japan relieves my tension, because I do intend on going there someday sometimes...and maybe with a girlfriend.
by jen111 rate this post as useful

. 2006/2/17 17:41
It might be worth knowing that most Japanese have no idea what the word "gay" means.
by Adam rate this post as useful

They don't know the term "gay"? 2006/2/19 07:55
Do you mean they don't know the term "gay", or they don't know the definition? What would japanese people call homosexuality? I know that in anime and manga, the term is refered to as yuri, yaoi, shoujo ai, shounen ai, or something like that. Do japanese refer to homosexuality with these terms in real life too?
by jen111 rate this post as useful

gay 2006/3/24 01:47
'gay' is a katakana word in the japanese language.
by apple rate this post as useful

what about lesbianism?? 2006/4/15 16:47
when i went to japan, i hardly perceived any women to be lesbian. I'm sure they exist, but I did not see many visible signs. I am just come from Thailand, and in Bangkok there were many obvious couples holding hands. Mostly butch/femme types. I this something that is not seen openly in Japan? Maybe I was just not in the right this last trip was spent mostly visiting temples in Kyoto, but is it common to see butch lesbians in japan? is it common to see gays or lesbians holding hands in public??
by alice rate this post as useful

... 2006/4/17 09:08
It is not common to see couples displaying their affection in public. Even less so in case of homosexual couples.
by Uji rate this post as useful

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