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Calls for same-sex marriage legalization growing in Japan

55 Comments
By Keiji Hirano

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This is a step in the right direction. Good for Japan. Homosexual couples in a committed relationship and willing to stay together and support each other is a win-win situation. Couples are happy, society is better for it, and they can support each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can imagine the Stoney faced oyaji in the Diet curling their lip over this issue.

Not in their lifetime!

Shame.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Can imagine the Stoney faced oyaji in the Diet curling their lip over this issue.

Not in their lifetime!

While the old men in this country seem to be against the idea because they don't understand it, they don't seem as hell bent against it as people who are against it in western countries. I could see it happening a lot easier here than in other countries, now that the movement has begun.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

"Calls for....?" Sadly this is a commonly over used term here to describe something that should have already been the norm.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Avoid at any cost to have such decision to go through.

-15 ( +12 / -27 )

That's great, but nothing will happen with the current government for sure.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

One part of the national government, the Gaimusho, currently accepts same sex partners from other countries for the Japanese Diplomatic List, provided they are described as "family".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Strangerland...quite true - alot of presumptions here about the government. Reading the comments on this article and others it seems many here in Japan feel much more qualified running Japan (or insert other country) than those doing so.

@Peter why avoid at all cost? Can you tell me how this will impact you, your family or your life at all? My guess it would make society better.

Amazing how time after time after time positive strides are turned negative by people posting here.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Avoid at any cost to have such decision to go through

Yeah! Look what happened to Canada after they legalized same sex marriage.

(Hint - it went on as normal, and believe it or not, Armageddon didn't happen!)

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Takeshita was reported as saying he is opposed to having same-sex partners at the banquet table with the imperial couple because it "doesn't fit with Japan's tradition."

Yes, yes. The suit Takeshita undoubtedly wears also didn't fit with the Japan's tradition when it was first introduced to this country. I could go on, but I think everyone gets my point.

I could see it happening a lot easier here than in other countries, now that the movement has begun.

Mind elaborating on this as it isn't obvious. I think you're getting at the lack of Judo-Christian fanatics in Japan, However, there are many indicators that recognizing same-sex marriage will meet stiff resistance here.

Married couples are legally required to share a family name; there is no enforceable parenting time in divorces; women are limited in their ability to climb the corporate ladder because they may take maternity leave, etc. Changing the aforementioned requires a progressive society, just like recognizing same sex marriage.

That said, I would definitely appreciate your insight.

Avoid at any cost to have such decision to go through

Because only members of the opposite sex are capable of loving each other to a degree that they can contractually declare so through marriage?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I think it's more likely to happen because Japan doesn't want to be seen by other countries as backward, not because it's the right thing to do. But whatever it takes, I guess.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Mind elaborating on this as it isn't obvious. I think you're getting at the lack of Judo-Christian fanatics in Japan, However, there are many indicators that recognizing same-sex marriage will meet stiff resistance here.

When the Japanese get it in their mind to do something, they can often do it quite efficiently and well. Same sex marriage seems to be hitting a critical mass of people who are ok with the idea. Once it hits that, I think that implementing it legally will happen fairly quickly. And the lack of judeo-christian values will make that easier, since the people against it are usually not against it for religious reasons (and religious people are the most resilient against logic).

That said, all just personal feeling and opinion on my part. Nothing based in any facts per-se, just my feelings from observations over two decades here. I could be entirely wrong.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Very good to hear, however would like to see more, and more regular, pollling data on this topic going forward as a few interviews with people doesn’t necessarily mean “calls are growing” for same sex marriage

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Marriage is relationship between one man and one woman

That's weird, I know same-sex couples who are married. So it would appear that statement is incorrect.

the reason people get married is to have children.

That's not why I got married. I didn't even want children when I got married.

It is unnatural if two guys or two women raise children together.

No it's not.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Marriage is relationship between one man and one woman

As currently defined in Japan by law. The beauty of law's is they can be changed.

and the reason people get married is to have children

What about married people that choose not to have children?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Stranger:

Thanks. Agreed that once an idea gets in their heads, Japanese go all out. I'm not convinced it's reached a critical mass.

Like you, just my opinion. You've got a decade's experience living here on me though. (Does this kind of talk make us old?!)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

peter k:

Marriage is relationship between one man and one woman and the reason people get married is to have children.

Well, in that case, go and tell our Dear Leader, and other childless 'normal' couples to get a divorce. Judging from Liz Taylor's marriages and number of children, it seems like she was short-changed.

Quite a lot of children have been abused by their straight parents. Maybe straight people shouldn't be allowed to marry and have kids. Just saying. Anyway, you can always move to Saudi Arabia if you're uncomfortable with the fact that gay people exist and don't want to be treated as second citizens.

SMS in Japan? Ain't going to happen in my time. (I only hope I'm wrong). This is a country where couples are forced to share the same name, and the definition of a father can be the mother's ex-husband, and not what DNA testing tells you. And a country where the most famous gay "role-models" are the オネー on TV. Japan may be more ahead compared to, say, Korea, China or the Middle East, but that is not saying much.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@Peter - using your logic there are alot of childless married couples who would need to divorce. It is a shame you feel intimidated or challenged by those who chose to live differently. I know married gay couples who have a much better relationship than those of some of my straight married couples who have children

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Marriage is relationship between one man and one woman and the reason people get married is to have children.

Other reasons to get married : get a visa, get tax advantages, family not bothering you with getting married anymore, unprotected sex without being "irresponsible", and, most incredible of all, love.

 It is unnatural if two guys or two women raise children together.

Most species do not raise their little ones with one father and one mother. Then what is more "unnatural" ?

Plus, marriage doesn't exist in nature, but homosexual behavior does.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Gay soldiers and gay women were a huge deal during the Roman Civilization!! The marches and multiple invasions of the Roman army, led to a lack of sexual relation between a man and a woman. Instead they used what was available, their same sex.

This shows, that since the birth of human Civilization, Human kind has on multiple occasions had sexual relationship with the same sex.

What happened? From this homosexual acceptance 2000 etc years ago, to this practically becoming illegal?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The problem with politics and politicians in general (and this applies to every country) is that they see themselves as waaay above you and I... The common old Joe. They rarely listen, and more seldom still, act on the wishes of the electorate.

They don't see us as qualified to know what we want and firmly believe that they do.

This is the way it has been for many a year. Gone is the time when serving in office was seen as an honour and a privilege.

Now it's just an excuse to rub shoulders with like minded egotists on an easy money grab.

The legal status of LGBT should have been sorted years ago.

Live and let live folks!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Met lots of straight couples who are miserable in their marriage, usually the female gets a dog or pet to receive some affection. I see no reason why same sex couples should be deprived of the opportunity to be equally miserable. Although gods are really going to be angry too.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

isn't this putting the cart before the horse? first, gay people need to be more accepted and come out in japan. right now, most gay people are closeted. i hardly think if gay marriage were legalized it would cause them to come out. so let's start with that first before we jump the gun on gay marriage.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Now that Taiwan, Akrotiri and Dhekelia have legalized it in Asia, Japan doing it will be a huge precedent for the rest of Asia.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is good. I hope it comes to pass sooner rather than later.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

isn't this putting the cart before the horse? first, gay people need to be more accepted and come out in japan. right now, most gay people are closeted. i hardly think if gay marriage were legalized it would cause them to come out. so let's start with that first before we jump the gun on gay marriage.

Maybe legalizing same-sex marriage would say to the homosexuals "hey, we value your relationships as much as our own". This institutionalized affirmation of the validity of their relationships could very well accomplish what you are stating in getting people to come out of the closet. As long as the government is saying "your relationships don't hold as much value as ours", there is reason for homosexuals to not come out of the closet.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Well let's face it, our lives here are very short , after 70 to 80 years or so, your're dead. So you should be able to do what you want and what makes you happy. Personally I want a woman in my bed but if the same sex partner is your thing, then legally or otherwise, there should be no impediments. But, this being Japan, legal same sex marriage legislation will take years and years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When the Japanese get it in their mind to do something, they can often do it quite efficiently and well. 

LOL... Now THAT is really quite priceless.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Sadly it seems that there are still too many people that are homophobic and can't wrap their heads around the idea of same-sex marriage.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Equality is fair for all of us. Same sex marriage is equality. As Ricky Gervais once said:

Same sex marriage is not gay privilege, it's equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes. Like churches don't.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Same sex marriage is not gay privilege, it's equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes. Like churches don't.

Nice.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

LOL... Now THAT is really quite priceless.

Not really. Two examples come to mind. The first was the proliferation of broadband internet. When I first moved here, pretty much no one I knew had internet at their home. Then the government decided to push for broadband internet in some number of homes (I think 80%) within some period of time, and like three years later, I didn't know anyone who didn't have internet in their home.

The other example i can think of is suicide - in 2007, the government began an initiative to reduce the suicide rate by 20% within 10 years, and the suicide rate has been reduced by 30% in that time period.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

How can I put this...?

I like green pea soup. You may or may not like green pea soup. Whether you do or don't does not concern me one way or the other.

You like minestrone soup.

I don't.

And that shouldn't concern you either.

I won't force you to eat pea soup and you won't force me to eat yours.

Let's all enjoy whichever soup we like and not worry what everyone else is eating.

And if two people want to share the same bowl of pea soup?

That's cool with me too.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

No one is forcing anyone, the anti-crowd always tries to claim that.

Everyone should be free and be able to get the desired support.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I live in Australia and we're just in the process of legalising SSM. The people voted for it 61-39, although it's still to be ratified in Parliament. As might be expected, the usual suspects, religious and ideological, are fighting a rearguard action, despite the clear will of the electorate. Anyway, I'm looking outside at the sky right now, and it's still up there. Hasn't fallen in.

I'd always believed Japan had a tolerant attitude towards homosexuality. If you've ever read Donald Richie, the fact that it was much easier for a gay man to live in Japanese society than in the US was one of the big reasons he moved here. In fact there was a coterie of mainly US expats in post-war Tokyo - scholars, writers, Japanophiles - who were there for the same reason. And in earlier times homosexuality was accepted and common among the samurai warriors. As long as he did his duty by the family and fathered kids on some (unfortunate) woman, what a samurai did with his spare time was up to him.

I'm male, married to a woman. I voted for same sex marriage because it seems to me it's a question of equal justice and rights for all. If my wife and I are allowed to express our love and commitment for one another by marrying, then why shouldn't two gay people have the same right?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

To be honest, I don't think the average Japanese person is "calling" for the introduction of legal gay marriage as in the headline, they are more concerned with other things, but it is discrimination and should be ended.

Gay marriage will smash the koseki system, which would benefit everyone, not just gay couples. There are a lot of stupid laws in Japan, like taxing happoshu (fake beer) less than beer, but assuming every family fits one pattern like the family register does is not stupid, it is cruel.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In my country same-sex Unions are supported and legal rights are same as 'marriage', just different labels to appease our Catholic majority. Religious marriage is NOT legally binding nor a legal 'marriage'.

Now in Japan marriage involves filling in some papers at City-Hall and off you go, same for divorce. People tend to get hung up on terminology more than anything.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

100% for it...but, if they can’t ban passive smoking in restaurants that kills 25000 a year, I think this will only be a discussion.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Look what happened to Canada after they legalized same sex marriage.

(Hint - it went on as normal, and believe it or not, Armageddon didn't happen!)

The effects of fundamental changes to society and economics are normally not seen for several decades or generations, by which time people no longer even remember the changes. Check back in 50 years, and then we can talk.

That said, people have the right to change their society in any way they see fit.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In 15 years of living in Japan I've never met a Japanese person who is openly gay.

That suggests it's not a country where coming out is beneficial to the person.

Therefore I can't see this happening which is a shame.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wonderful to hear. Hopefully same sex marriage will be legalized soon.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Got many LGBT friends here and overseas, they are on there and not hiding.

Hope that it will get approved soon.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The only gay Japanese I have met are coupled from gay foreigners I know.

All very secretive. Families don't know. Nor do their employers.

Strange really, because these days "coming out" (hate that term) in my country can *sometimes afford you a level of protection other co-workers may not have.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Come Japan wake up! At least 1 in 10 people are gay. Everyone deserves human rights, that means that everyone is treated the same, with equal rights for EVERYONE!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I swear to accept all kind of people with exception species like Trump, Kim Jong-un and Abe.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Equal marriage will hopefully be legalised in my home country of Australia by the end of the year. I would love to see it in Japan too. Though local governments recognising couples is a nice step.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Equality on the increase. About time.

Who's it going to hurt?

Nobody.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is one way to increase marriages Japan! Some might even adopt children! Let them marry!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I'm for a it but for couples with children consisting of a genetic combination of both parents there has to be priority.

That is the only caveat that I have....

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

kurisupisu:

I'm for a it but for couples with children consisting of a genetic combination of both parents there has to be priority.

Priority for what????? The fake churches here aren't exactly bursting at the seams with wedding bookings. Is there a shortage of 'priests'?

big yen:

I'd always believed Japan had a tolerant attitude towards homosexuality.

True, unless you start asking to be treated as an equal. As long as you keep your mouth shut, don't complain about the stereotypical image of gays on TV, and smile while all your straight friends and colleagues talk about their spouses, partners and children, then everything's fine.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There's lots of orphaned Kids in Japan, it may be good if Same sex couples were "encouraged" as part of the bondship deal, to adopt at least one and thus support the Japanese population.

Alternatively change the rules to adjust the Marriage definition so that even Live together heterosexual couples would be able to benefit without having to actually get married.,..

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This will add more problem to the society of Japan. thumbs down this and realize what i said soon.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

never

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Pukey2:

That's why I said "I'd always believed Japan had a tolerant attitude" rather than "I believe Japan has a tolerant attitude" - reading the article made me think twice about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is unnatural if two guys or two women raise children together.

Darwin would agree. But humans make choices for themselves and should not have other people telling them what they can do. That is why marriage should be privatized and should be completed separated from  government control. Even in nations that allow homosexual marriage they still do not allow any other forms of marriage equality such as bisexual, multi-partner marriages, adult-child relationships, and marriage between people related by blood, for example. If morality is a fluid concept, then all types of relationships among people that enter into them voluntarily - whether you like it or not - should be tolerated.

Again, I don't think Darwin would see these types of relationships as beneficial to the survival of the species- but that isn't anyone's business. Nor should someone who does not support non-traditional marriage be forced - with their tax dollars - to support in any manner relationships that they believe are truly disgusting in nature. Don't make gay marriage legal, make all government sponsored marriages illegal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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