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Tokyo Pride to return after three years

Christopher Brocklebank August 12, 2010

The Japanese capital’s gay community and friends are preparing to party this Saturday as Tokyo Pride takes place once again after a three-year absence.

In the run up to the celebrations, the local gay community have been holding debates and there have been political theatre shows aimed at fostering a wider understanding of LGBT lifestyles in Japan.

The parade has not taken place for the last three years owing to a lack of organisational staff. Many LGBT Japanese people are apparently put off by pressure from the more conservative elements of the country’s traditional, family-oriented society. This may not be apparent to outsiders, as Japan is often portrayed as a country with a very youth-centric culture, plus a strong kitsch aesthetic.

Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, which houses some 250 gay and lesbian bars, is to host the celebrations. After Saturday’s parade, there will be a “Rainbow Festival” with food and beer stalls. There will also be a debate on the future of the gay rights movement in Japan.

Since March 2009, Japanese nationals have been permitted to wed their same-sex foreign partners – but only in countries where same-sex marriage is permitted.

More: Asia, Gay rights, Japan, Tokyo Pride

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