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Japan Takes Tentative Step Toward Same-Sex Marriage as Tokyo Ward Recognizes Gay Partnerships

Shibuya

At a Tuesday assembly, a local authority in Tokyo, Japan — the Shibuya ward — became the nation’s first jurisdiction to recognize same-sex partnerships. The partnerships will be recognized via certificates that give couple’s relationship a recognition that is “equivalent to marriage.”

Though support for same sex partnerships has been building, and in other local authorities other than Shibuya, the move is likely to be met with opposition from conservatives in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party. Prime Minister Abe himself is very hesitant to endorse same sex partnerships, citing the Japanese constitution, and a desire to avoid modifying it. The First Lady, however, has participated in Gay Pride parades.

According to Bloomberg, Japan is “mainly tolerant” toward homosexuals, though many gay people hide their sexuality from coworkers. Public opinion is warming toward homosexuals. A March Mainichi newspaper poll had 44 percent of respondents approving of same-sex marriage, while 39 percent opposed. Women, young people, and city dwellers were more likely to support same-sex marriage.

(photo flickr Guwashi999)


Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: Lost in Translation in Japan

Tom_kyoto
Instagram: "Why hello there, #Kyoto! Mario jump outside of Kyoto Station."

This new series features dispatches from LGBTQ travel writers, bloggers, and photographers who are on the road in far-flung places. If you know somebody who should be featured here, send us an email at travel@towleroad.com.

Tom Stockwell is a 27-year-old British teacher and traveler living in Taipei, Taiwan who writes a site about his travels called 'Waegook Tom'. He explains:

Waegook – the Korean word for “foreign”. So, basically, Waegook Tom is “foreign Tom”.

You can visit his site here and follow him on Instagram here.

Tom has been traveling around Japan for the past week and delivering some eye-opening images of its landscapes, its cities, and its food, touching down in Tokyo, and continuing on to Osaka and Kyoto.

Tom writes of the photo below: "One of the most famous places in #Kyoto is the bamboo forest, a lovely place to have a stroll and escape the city."

Kyoto

He's also a really excellent food photographer.

More of his shots of food and life in Japan, AFTER THE JUMP...

First the food:

Continue reading "Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: Lost in Translation in Japan" »


Japan's First Lady Akie Abe Joins Tokyo Gay Pride Parade: VIDEO

Akieabe

Japan's first lady Akie Abe participated in Tokyo's Gay Pride parade on Sunday to show her support for LGBT people, AFP reports:

The 51-year-old wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe donned a white suit to stand on a float with a drag queen, as some 3,000 participants marched through the trendy Shibuya business and shopping district.

Akie, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on her Facebook page later that she has been involved in the issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year.

“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” she wrote.

Watch Akie on her float, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Japan's First Lady Akie Abe Joins Tokyo Gay Pride Parade: VIDEO" »


Tokyo Selected as Host of 2020 Olympics: VIDEO

Rogge

Tokyo, Japan is celebrating tonight after beating out Madrid and Istanbul as the host of the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympics.

Watch IOC President Jacques Rogge make the announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tokyo Selected as Host of 2020 Olympics: VIDEO" »


Thousands Take Part In Tokyo's Rainbow Week

TokyoYesterday, about 12,000 people took to the streets of Tokyo to march in in Japan's very first Rainbow Week.

The AFP reports:

"This is our first attempt to link up with many groups" of sexual minorities, said one of the organisers, Hiroko Masuhara, 35. "The parade is a symbolic event in the (Tokyo) Rainbow Week programme." Masuhara, who held a wedding with her partner at Tokyo Disney Resort last month, said support for gay rights was rising in Japan. "We have an impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years," she said.

Masuhara and her partner became the first gay couple to be married at Tokyo's Disneyland.

Rainbow Week ends May 6. Watch a video of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Thousands Take Part In Tokyo's Rainbow Week" »


Disneyland Tokyo Opens Its Doors to Gay Wedding Ceremonies

Tokyo_disneyland

The Magic Kingdom just got a little more magic in Japan, the Taipei Times reports:

Tokyo Disneyland said this week it would allow gay couples to hold ceremonies on its grounds, although same-sex weddings have no legal status in Japan.

Disneyland’s decision came to light after Koyuki Higashi, a 27-year-old woman, inquired about marrying her female partner, identified only as Hiroko, at the resort. Higashi was initially told she would be able to marry her partner provided they were dressed “like a man and a woman,” she wrote on her blog. Staff at Disneyland, which attracts about 14 million visitors a year, were apparently concerned about how other visitors would react to the sight of couples both dressed in wedding dresses or tuxedos.

A spokeswoman for Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of Tokyo Disney Resort, later said there had been a misunderstanding, telling Higashi and her partner they could dress how they pleased, although they would not be able to exchange vows in the chapel because of “Christian teachings.”

The park is now accepting all applications for same-sex wedding ceremonies.


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