Update Abroad Correspondent Yingqiao Zhao reports:
The first weekend of May will bring Tokyo City’s Rainbow Pride Parade.
As one of the most energetic cities in the world, Tokyo has it’s own unique LGBT culture.
Japanese Studies Professor, Karl Neubert said “In Japan, there is no religious script says it’s a sin to be homosexual or to identify with a different gender.”
In Japanese history, there were times where homosexuality was seen as an ideal form of love. It was a male dominated society, so the relationship between a samurai and his younger male apprentice was seen as more pure than a heterosexual relationship. Even between monks, homosexuality was quite accepted.
Neubert also spoke about the differences between LGBT acceptance in Japan verses the United States.
“Discrimination isn’t as harsh and not as violent in the United States. However, there is a kind of more subtle ways of discrimination. If you would really tell and be open about it, there can be harassment against you.”
In 2015, Tokyo made strides towards LGBT tolerance when they began issuing certificates for same sex marriage couples. Though it doesn’t have legal values, it could help the couple with problems such as finding housing.
Neubart says, “Progress is being made but the step is very little by little and for many people still, LGBT is something which is not really in your life.”
The upcoming pride parade features the theme “We are all queers and we are everywhere”. Series of art shows and seminars on LGBT awareness issues will be hold in preparation for the final parade.
The Update Abroad correspondents will be reporting throughout their time abroad, you can watch more of their pieces below: