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How tolerant is Japan towards gays?

gaypandopler

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I've been reading up on Japanese culture and it's view on gay people but something really bugs me.

I'm sure than several Western European countries and Commonwealth Realms are more progressive towards gay people than Japan is, but I get the impression that Japan is actually quite benevolent towards it's gays, especially in comparison to countries like the US.

My impression comes with the history of a couple of decades and obviously the US has become more tolerant of gays recently so some of this conversation might be invalid.

1) Japanese media is very lavish for gay people, including areas like music, fashion and anime.
2) A lot of gay celebrities are openly gay within the entertainment industries and are popular among all demographics, including traditionally homophobic areas such as sport.
3) Japanese youth are far more open to homosexuality than westerners, and youth culture is filled with gay positive and sex positive material.
4) Hate crime against LGBT is very rare in Japan.
5) Being feminine, pretty, or "gay" isn't looked down on in Japan.
6) Japanese people don't have any hatred for gay people, but expectations to start a family are still quite strong in Japan (I don't understand this one. How does Japan influence financially independent people?)

Any input or other comments would be helpful.
 

Mike Cash

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The simple answer is that Japan has only very small numbers of people belonging to the two major religious which have traditionally persecuted homosexuals. Without the power of religious zealotry to drive it, most people either don't care at all or don't care enough to actively bother anybody.
 

Lothor

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1) Japanese media is very lavish for gay people, including areas like music, fashion and anime.
2) A lot of gay celebrities are openly gay within the entertainment industries and are popular among all demographics, including traditionally homophobic areas such as sport.
6) Japanese people don't have any hatred for gay people, but expectations to start a family are still quite strong in Japan (I don't understand this one. How does Japan influence financially independent people?)

Any input or other comments would be helpful.
It's only in the last couple of years that gay issues have been raised in the media, with the increasing popularity of Pride marches and the more progressive wards of Tokyo starting to provide same-sex marriage certificates (not legally binding but a step in the right direction). True there are many openly gay people in the media, but the ones on television tend to be flamboyantly and very obviously gay, i.e., their gayness is their defining feature used for entertainment (as is the foreignness of foreign people on Japanese television). I can't think of any openly gay Japanese people in sport.

Pressure to start a family - my experience is that many Japanese people keep their personal lives very much to themselves, regardless of whether they are gay or not. For example, I don't know if any of the unmarried Japanese people in my office are dating or not despite having good working relationships with them. If people don't talk with their families about sexuality then their parents are going to assume that their children are heterosexual, which goes hand in hand with the hopes of many parents to see their children happily married, or at least married, and to produce grandchildren. I imagine that any pressure to start a family is from parents and indirectly from peers rather from 'Japan' and is unrelated to financial independence.
 

Kazekawa

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From what I have seen, and from the people I have met and spoken to who are gay in Japan (both foreigners and Japanese), things seem to be much better here that in some other countries.

On tv, you can see transgender, homosexual, and men in drag hosting shows, being guests, doing commercials and so on. Thanks to manga, anime and other outlets, youth culture is indeed exposed to same sex relationships and don't seem to have much of an issue with it.

Heck, when my wife and I were shopping for wedding rings, the staff member who was showing us the rings was very openly gay. To the point that he was telling my wife how handsome I was, how lucky she was and how his heart beat so quickly in my presence. At the time I had no idea what he was saying as I was still just getting started with learning Japanese. So I just smiled and laughed when he laughed and found out what had been said over lunch. Haha.

The Japanese culture has changed quite a lot in the past few decades as more and more people choose not to start a family or even have children due to work, disinterest and other factors. This kind of situation seems to work in the favor of openly or even secretly gay couples as the pressure or expectations to have children appears to be decreasing.

I'm sure if you did some research or looked around you could find a gay community in Japan to ask more questions.
 

gushers

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Japan is totally tolerant. It was kind of shock for me, but people doesn't care about you - until you behave culturally.
 
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thomas

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An historical look on same-sex marriages in Japan on JT today:

Same-sex marriages? Japan’s been there, done that, kind of

oda-nagoya-jpg.22144

A man’s man: Warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), immortalized here on the right in statue form in Nagoya,
is widely believed to have preferred male sexual company, but he relied on concubines to sire a number of
offspring. These children were then often deployed strategically to cement alliances. (Kyodo)
 

Mike Cash

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Maybe someday the OP will come back and read the replies. Wouldn't that be nice?
 
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