national

Tokyo ward 1st in Japan to recognize same sex marriage

79 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

79 Comments
Login to comment

Great news, and a small, but symbolic, start.

I find this line quite amusing though:

He said he struggled growing up as a transgender in Japan, and hated going to an all-girls school.

.... if I was a teenage boy "trapped" in an all-girls school I wouldn't be struggling too hard to escape.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

A tremendous step forward for the LGBT community...hope the other cities follow suit

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Japan is probably one of the gayest places on the planet, so it's good to see society finally starting to embrace that rather than deny it.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Good on Shibuya. I hope Shinjuku, where I live, is next. I'll marry my partner. BUT why is there a crowd of only three people (at least in the pictures)?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Japan is probably one of the gayest places on the planet, so it's good to see society finally starting to embrace that rather than deny it.

Oh dear, I burst out laughing when I read this!

Anyway, blessings to the happy couples.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"Trangenderism" is a load of crap.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The individual rights of all must be protected (equally) regardless of sexual orientation.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Right step forward.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

With a couple of places back home taking giant steps backwards it's nice to see one place taking at least a small step forward.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Sure hope this is true, if it's an April fools joke it would be a horrible one.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Not surprising, Shibuya was always the place for a gay ole time.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Gerard

It's true. It's on the Sankei Shimbun site.

Not the kind of thing they'd joke about....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Several interesting aspects here. One is that a transgender person still cannot get their proper gender identity recognized. I believe most places that comes before same sex marriage rights. Not that I am complaining. Its just the order is unusual, no?

Another is wondering what the reason for conservative opposition is. In America it seems to always be religion that is cited, although I never believed that. I am sure its the same reason as here, and it boils down to pure selfish bigotry.

held a symbolic wedding at Tokyo DisneySea two years ago.

I absolutely hate that wording. The marriage was absolutely not symbolic. That implies that the government is our masters. No. The marriage is real and true because two people have chosen to be married. Having the pencil pushers at city hall recognize the marriage is just another hurdle, and absolutely not the defining element.

Bureaucrats and lawmakers are just that. They are not our overlords. They don't get to declare if our marriages are real or not.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Awesome, welcome to the club, Shibuya!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Interesting. If I am allowed to ask one question, I would like to know which is legally more "equal" in Shibuya: being a common-law couple or a gay couple?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Shibuya ward Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara says accepting diversity matches the friendly, vivacious character of the area". Wow I want to move there now.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In the end it matters not what two folks do or how they live.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@WithExtreme:

I was once, long ago asked a simple question that opened my eyes:

"So, you're straight right? When did you choose to be straight?"

So, assuming you are, when did you choose to be straight? Was it ever a conscious decision where you sat down and weighed the options?

Nobody does: I like girls because I do, so do lesbian women. There's nothing more to it, and it certainly wasn't something I had to decide on.

It's the same for gay people..they've just always been the way they are.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Being against basic human rights is certainly a lifestyle choice.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I'm straight, proud of it, and I'm not flaunting it.

Japan is one of the gayest places on the planet.

This is true. Be interesting to see if they discriminate against homosexual and lesbian foreign couples as opposed to Japanese ones

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

“A great social ramification will be expected from such a decision,” Mari Sato

What "social ramifications" are we talking about? What an intolerant bonehead!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Here we go...the minority LGBT Zealots telling the overwhelming majority of society what we 'must do', what we must accept.

Yeah. Why should the majority have to accept minorities having rights? We should all be able to go down to the market and pick us up a gay slave to help with the household chores.

Maybe these people are not "telling us what to do", but rather just telling us that we have to obey our own constitutions and the international agreements we signed concerning human rights?

Actually its people telling others what they can't do that is the real problem. Nobody is telling you you have to love gays or have gay friends. You just can't bar their happiness with unfair laws is all. Sorry if people saying so are such killjoys to you.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Christopher Glen "I'm straight, proud of it, and I'm not flaunting it."

You don't get the whole pride thing I guess.

LGBT people are told to be ashamed. They shouldn't. Nothing wrong.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I was once, long ago asked a simple question that opened my eyes:

"So, you're straight right? When did you choose to be straight?"

So, assuming you are, when did you choose to be straight? Was it ever a conscious decision where you sat down and weighed the options?

Nobody does: I like girls because I do, so do lesbian women. There's nothing more to it, and it certainly wasn't something I had to decide on.

It's the same for gay people..they've just always been the way they are.

One is born heterosexual as the default position. This is due to the selfish gene pool. Our genes only care about self-preservation and propagating itself. Choosing to be gay how ever is a choice only done firstly against the default position. You do realize that if gay people were "born gay" then by default their parents had to be gay? but that would contradict the life style choice. Assuming that one is born gay then ultimately it would have to be looked at under rational basis as some sort of bio-disorder as unpolitically correct that may sound since the life style choice negates the continuation of life.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

Japan is one of the gayest places on the planet? Really! Why is that?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You do realize that if gay people were "born gay" then by default their parents had to be gay?

Not true. Sometimes Black people give birth to White babies. I kid you not. Sometimes brown eyed parents have blue eyed kids.

Traits can skip generations. There are recessive genes to consider.

There need not be one, singular "gay" gene. Its may be a combination of genes. And even then, it may lead to a tendency rather than an absolute.

Plus, we cannot forget about bisexuals and even asexuals. They prove that its all very complicated and that none of these simplistic explanations hold any water.

But who gives a flying fig? Why even bother considering genetic or psychological causes if not to create a treatment? And why consider a treatment when we can just shut up and let same sex couples happily go about doing their thing? What is the harm? What is the problem except for some people who seem to be chronic whingers?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

You do realize that if gay people were "born gay" then by default their parents had to be gay?

Homosexuality is not a genetic trait otherwise it would have died out a long time ago, since many homosexual don't procreate.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Christopher Glen "I'm straight, proud of it, and I'm not flaunting it."

This always makes me laugh, straight people ARE "flaunting" their identity whenever you walk hand in hand, kiss in public, put a photo of your family on your desk etc.

Aiser x "You do realize that if gay people were "born gay" then by default their parents had to be gay?"

You do realize that you are completely wrong. I'm a lesbian but my parents are straight, my lesbian friends have straight kids from a gay donor. If you ask any gay person they will tell you they were born this way. Why do you, and others like you, insist you know how we felt growing up better than us??

The only "choice" for us is to live proudly as ourselves or hide and pretend we are straight. That's not much of a choice but for some LGBT that's what they must do to survive,given that there are hostile,irrational people in the world who would do us harm. Seen the California proposal to shoot gays in the head? Lovely

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Let me just clarify my statement statement above. I say that homosexuality is not a genetic trait not to empower those who think its a lifestyle choice (which it clearly isn't), but to rather dismiss the notion that there is such thing as a "gay" gene. If homosexuality was genetic trait, then it would have died out a long time ago because there wouldn't be enough procreating people to continue this trait. If it were a dominant trait, then there would be far more gay people vs straight people in this world.

Its not a lifestyle choice either. Who would choose to be persecuted, ridiculed, humiliated, and often times treated as a second class citizen? Not to make it sound as if it were a disease, but homosexuality is likely an outcome that happens due to a hormone imbalance during the time of the mother's pregnancy, and this hormone imbalance itself may be genetic. This explains why many twins (identical and non-identical) tend to be homosexual, while further dismissing the notion that its a life style choice

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I don't understand why gays want to marry its over anyway.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Ohh well other reason investors will invest in Japan: a Japan miss universe mix race and now same sex can marriage. Let me guess what will be next legalize gambling in 2016 or 2017 enough time to build casinos before the Olympics 2020.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Wow, so much biological ignorance here.

You do realize that if gay people were "born gay" then by default their parents had to be gay?

If you're born left-handed, then by default, do you parents have to be left-handed? (For the curious: No, they don't.)

Homosexuality is not a genetic trait otherwise it would have died out a long time ago, since many homosexual don't procreate.

A gene that can increase fertility when it's inherited by a woman could cause a tendency toward homosexuality when it's inherited by a man. In other words, the effect of the gene is dependent on its background: the body it inhabits and its interactions with other genes. In fact, there is evidence that this explains at least some of the heritability of male homosexuality.

since many homosexual don't procreate

Virtually no-one with progeria lives long enough to have children, and yet the genes for progeria persist. If progeria is a genetic trait (which it is), why hasn't it died out long ago, since almost no-one with progeria procreates?

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Great! That first paragraph is written weirdly!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nessie

There's a huge difference between heredity and a genetic mutations. Progeria is the latter otherwise it would be far more common.

A gene that can increase fertility when it's inherited by a woman could cause a tendency toward homosexuality when it's inherited by a man. In other words, the effect of the gene is dependent on its background: the body it inhabits and its interactions with other genes. In fact, there is evidence that this explains at least some of the heritability of male homosexuality.

If this were true, then it would be that most or all of us have a "gay gene" and its just a matter or whether or not that its turned on that affects our sexuality. Its an interesting argument to be had, but there have been studies to suggest that its more hormonal than genetics.....not to say that any of these studies are conclusive.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Shinjuku should have beaten them to it. Wasn't aware that transgender and same sex marriage was a big deal in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't care one way or another.

But

Japan is one of the gayest places on the planet.

Reputable source?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It will be a big deal when more get married. And when more transgenders start demanding things like their own public restrooms, etc. That's how these issues start, 1,2,3,4 -soon an entire city will make straight people there seem like the minority.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Homosexuality Is Not Normal By Ben Cerruti

Moderator: The URL will suffice after you have posted your views on the topic.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

I hope the foreign posters will realize that practically nothing they are saying will make any sense here in Japan. We have never been Christianized, so "sex" is not perceived as something that can be good or evil. It is like saying a machine is "evil" if you put in money and nothing comes out. Sex is just something fun. Gay sex was "hentai", but in Japan, just because something is "hentai", doesn't mean you wouldn't want to try it. @ReformedBasher "reputable source"? Just some to Japan. Japan is the reputable source. @Mirai Hayashi If what you say is true, there never would have been a "gay gene" in the first place.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Good on Tokyo. It's a good gesture, and a big symbolic move, but it's somewhat watered down by the fact that LGBT are still so widely discriminated against and have so few rights as it is to the point where they have to hide it more. Let's hope this changes that, and people are proud of how they're born and who they are.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

You don't get the whole pride thing I guess.

What's there to be proud of? I'm not really that antagonistic towards them, except for when it comes to raising kids. Well, I guess Shibuya is about to join Ni-chome

Why do homosexual couples who wish to establish a union between themselves insist on having the government allow them to be endowed with the same marriage title provided to heterosexual couples? Why are they not satisfied with being provided the same legal provisions in the form of a title called "civil union"? A single answer to both questions is obvious. They want society to consider their relationship normal. The reason the government should not concede to their demands is also obvious. Their relationship is not normal because man and woman were put on this earth with complementary sex organs meant to procreate the species.

True enough

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

My reading of the U.S. Constitution is that it guarantees freedom to individuals provided their actions do not infringe upon the freedom of other individuals. [...]. By claiming normality in their relationships homosexuals, and attempting to use the government to legally bless their unions, they hope to indoctrinate society to accept it as so. In this process they are affecting one of the freedoms most parents desire to have for their children. That is to have them educated with the understanding of homosexuality that they consider to be self evident.

What a fallacious argument ! It's rather impressive ... "Freedom is guaranteed to individuals, by getting married homosexuals affect my freedom ..."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I never really payed attention to the LGBT community in Japan but then I didn't know Japan was so against it. I thought that sort of hate came from the bible thumping countries.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mirai HayashiApr. 01, 2015 - 11:02AM JST

Homosexuality is not a genetic trait otherwise it would have died out a long time ago, since many homosexual don't procreate

You have to think outside the box. You are well aware that homosexuality carries very negative stigmatization. There are many people out there who are trapped in heterosexual marriages, producing children, but would rather remain in that situation than admit they would rather be with someone of the same sex. Point is, not because you may see someone marry the opposite sex and seems reasonable happy, doesn't mean that person is not suppressing and denying his or her true feelings. Many married men and women indulge in discreet homosexual behaviors. Some use marriage as a cover because they do not want to be stigmatized.

In my opinion, most people who lash out against homosexuality to the point where they want to kill people, are the ones who have been suppressing and denying, and to get rid of/kill homosexuals would be like killing that part of themselves. Even homosexuals are against homosexuality. Trust me the homosexual gene is real.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Maybe Shibuya, not Kawasaki, should host the Kanamara festival from now on. Then they could hold up their rainbow banners & celebrate their "rights".

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

tonttu2012Apr. 01, 2015 - 09:37AM JST Interesting. If I am allowed to ask one question, I would like to know which is legally more "equal" in Shibuya: being a common-law couple or a gay couple?

Common-law couples still have a lot of advantages that gay couples don't have in Shibuya, such as income tax benefits and anything else that is centrally managed rather than at a ward level. This also means that they're restricted to Shibuya hospitals if they want to visit their spouse, etc.

I've been thinking a bit about this and in a way it is a bit worrying in that it may create a sort of gay ghetto, which is the furthest thing from equality one can think of.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Gay sex happens to be one of the widely accepted samurai practices before the Meiji restoration. Gay sex as in pederasty between grown samurai and their squires. It was one of the main (but obscure) pillars of this great martial institution, which we praise for loyalty and honor.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

We simply want the right to be with the person we love.

Says it all right there.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

HELLFIRE and DAMNATION will be CAST upon SHIBUYA!!!!

Hahaha, just kidding!

Congratulations! :D

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This is great news for homosexuals. None of my friends are homosexual, but the homosexual community still has my full support. Keep fighting the good fight.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Gay sex happens to be one of the widely accepted samurai practices before the Meiji restoration. Gay sex as in pederasty between grown samurai and their squires

This much is historical fact

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This is a great symbolic victory, but has no legal validity. And you would think that LGBT residents of Shibuya already face less discrimination than LGBT people in other areas of Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Intresting that this thread seems to be mostly non-Japanese. I guess I'm the only Japanese here. And gay. Although this is good for English practice, I should really get a life.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I have a certain very large half-black puerto rican friend who should be really happy about all of this. unfortunately he moved away from tokyo for the moment.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

0 Good| Bad TahoochiApr. 01, 2015 - 01:21PM JST

We simply want the right to be with the person we love.

Says it all right there.

Maybe, but being together and marriage are, it seems to me, 2 different things. nevertheless i suppose no harm in 2 blokes or girls being "married"

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Mirai

Thank you for your comment.

If this were true, then it would be that most or all of us have a "gay gene" and its just a matter or whether or not that its turned on that affects our sexuality. Its an interesting argument to be had, but there have been studies to suggest that its more hormonal than genetics.....not to say that any of these studies are conclusive.

Hormones are genetically influenced. It's not either/or.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

...and I could have sworn that LGBT meant a " lettuce, guacamole, bacon, turkey " sandwich...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@withextremeprejudice

Sorry. Being LGBT is a life-style choice until I can see valid scientific proof that it's genetic.

Well, are you looking at the science? And where's your scientific proof that it's a lifestyle choice? What I suspect you actually mean is that it's a lifestyle choice to you until you see scientific proof, which you're making no attempt to evaluate or even look at.

We could spend a lot of time thrashing out how "lifestyle" versus "genetic" should be defined vis a vis homosexuality, and an equal amount of time quibbling over whether a binary distinction is particularly important. And I could make quite a strong argument for all sexual activity (procreation purposes included), being a lifestyle choice.

But on the question of homosexuality, has it ever occurred to you that gays tend to be gay for life, and that in addition, a lot of them fight against their gay impulses for a variety of social reasons, including family disapproval, self-loathing (generally based on social conditioning), bullying and intimidation, or their own conservative/religious beliefs. It's a pretty powerful "lifestyle choice' that dominates all of those and more: people are gay in countries where discovery can lead to death, either by being beaten up, or in the more extreme countries, executed, and the consequences of being gay (bullying again) has also led to suicides, hence the It Gets Better project.

http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Great news. Any people who are all angry about what people unknown to them do in their beds really need to work more on themselves instead of commenting on websites or participating in hate rallies.

Gay sex happens to be one of the widely accepted samurai practices before the Meiji restoration. Gay sex as in pederasty between grown samurai and their squires This much is historical fact

Those of you who down voted Christopher Glen: I advise you to study some history. There appears to have ben many young boys serving their lord by helping him reach a happy ending. Mind you, I think overall homosexual behaviour in Samurai culture appears to have been less about desire for the same sex and more of a soap land type release of 'stress' where they thought if the soldier was able to 'extract his tensions' he would be more focused on the job at hand. Either way, men did lay with men.

As for modern Japan, it seems that homosexuality is not really frowned upon, but people are expected to give up 'childish' needs such as happiness and just enter a heterosexual or financially stable marriage for the sake of producing offspring.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So Shibuya will become the next Bangkok???

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Along with justbcuzisay, for deniers of the prevalence of gay samurai relationships, there is lots of stuff on this in English, along with illustrations (from the very graphic "pillow books"). But do not look at these unless you mind seeing.... well, you know what.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So long as they're hot, people will allow them to marry

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people here seem to be agree with this law, I m not. Im not in first place because in a real democracy, it is the society itself in funtion of their own culture who must decide what is correct or not in these cases, not a external imposition. Second, it is clear for me that a woman cant take their natural rol of pregnacy and breeding, and at the same time work as a man, and in consequence we cant expect the same for the two in the jobs market; and third, just because of the second reason its very common and natural that wives depend of their husband income, so its not only men but women who benefit for these incomes. For end, I dont think go against traditional family will rise birthrate but I have no doubt that is going to degrade society.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ancieres, In that case, in the US there would still be laws making marriage between races illegal. They would still have slaves. I like the US because Americans work out these issues, and come out for progress. I know there are "conservatives", but gay marriage is legal in about 30 states. Americans think about things. That is why the US is great.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

in a real democracy, it is the society itself in funtion of their own culture who must decide what is correct or not in these cases, not a external imposition.

Nothing indicates this decision has been made through external imposition. Shibuya wrd has decided to do this on their own behest, and they are the ones who decided it is correct.

So in fact, assuming you are not Japanese, your disagreement with their decision would appear to be an external imposition of your belief that allowing gay marriage is wrong.

Second, it is clear for me that a woman cant take their natural rol of pregnacy and breeding, and at the same time work as a man, and in consequence we cant expect the same for the two in the jobs market; and third, just because of the second reason its very common and natural that wives depend of their husband income, so its not only men but women who benefit for these incomes.

What does this have to do with anything? It's not like gay guys, faced with the inability to have a legal marriage with their gay partners, are suddenly going to marry straight women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'We simply want the right to be with the person we love.' Well said, nuff said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As I stated in times past that "marriage should be between male and female" because I believe it is by a Divine will!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Many Japanese companies will have difficulty recruiting top-level talent and would have an even harder time if they were perceived to tolerate discrimination. LGBT people are not asking for aggressive new protections, they just want a level playing field. Then there are dollars-and-cents issues. That LGBT workers at companies that adopted policies of nondiscrimination and domestic-partner benefits were more productive and more committed to their jobs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I stated in times past that "marriage should be between male and female" because I believe it is by a Divine will!

Why should others be denied basic human rights for your religious beliefs?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Given Japan's dire demographic situation, it is difficult to see homosexual couples getting much in the way of legal recognition in the near future.

I am opposed to gay marriage, as marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman. However it is important that the property rights of homosexuals are adequately protected, and I'm not sure that this is the case within Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Given Japan's dire demographic situation, it is difficult to see homosexual couples getting much in the way of legal recognition in the near future.

Did you not read the article? They are already starting to get more legal recognition.

And once again, the logic of your comment somehow seems to think that if gay people cannot get married, they will suddenly decide to become heterosexual, and will have children with other heterosexuals. This is in defiance of fact.

I am opposed to gay marriage, as marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.

No it shouldn't. That's simply what the religious and/or the bigoted think, but has no basis in reality.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gay marriage and acceptance of homosexuality does encourage some people who would be otherwise having children to engage in homosexual relationships. This is a fact.

Given Japan's demographic issues, I support the conservatives who oppose this.

If Japan's birthrate were higher then we would be having a different conversation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Gay marriage and acceptance of homosexuality does encourage some people who would be otherwise having children to engage in homosexual relationships. This is a fact.

No it's not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Americans think about things. That is why the US is great.

If that was the case - America would be banning private ownership of firearms and thus preventing thousands of deaths every year. Back on topic, my previous comments still stand

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Congratulations Shibuya!!! :D I do hope soon though gay marriage will finally be legal in Japan and be considered 100% equal to a straight marriage and be legally binding.

Equality for all!!!

Japan is changing a lot, and soo debating gay rights won't be needed anymore, I dream of the day we can all have our rights respected and be given all support and love that we need

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

soon though gay marriage will finally be legal in Japan and be considered 100% equal to a straight marriage and be legally binding.

Legally binding..........well perhaps. Equal to a straight marriage (in terms of raising kids with a mother and father figure) definitely not

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Equal to a straight marriage (in terms of raising kids with a mother and father figure)

My wife and I are friends with married couple, a male and female, who have no kids. Am I to understand that they are not in fact a straight marriage?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ah, you're trying to twist my words. Not every straight couple has kids - some are unable to. But it's more beneficial for those that do have kids to have a mother and father figure in their lives.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'm not twisting your words. You defined a straight marriage as one between a man and a woman who have children. So if you misspoke on that, then how do you define a marriage?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites