politics

Gay candidate hopes to raise awareness in election campaign

37 Comments
By Olivier Fabre

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37 Comments
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Raise awareness of what, that there are gays and lesbians? We knew that already.

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

3 to 5% is way too high. It is actually, according to psychological studies, about 1.5 to 2%. And Gokai is totally gay. But since gays migrate to big cities, you may get the impression that there are more than there actually are overall. I hope we get some legal recognition. I'd like to marry my guy! I admire America's openness about this, even if there are anti-gay types there.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

If he wants to run single-issue, better to change districts to that most likely to elect him (if he's not there already), and try to join a party that has a chance. Would LDP take him?

He's already first elected gay public official in Japan (2011, won ward assembly election).

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2011/04/26/national/first-openly-gay-candidate-wins-in-tokyo-ward/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He should rise aware of STD and AIDS among gays and lesbians community.

I’m not against gay and lesbian peoples and their right but parent should encourage to their children to be proud of what sex they got at birth. I mean parent should teach girl to girl thing and boy thing to boy rather than openly encouraging them to becoming gay.

-16 ( +7 / -22 )

"sexual preference is not a choice", seriously? Then what about other preferences like preferring thick to thin crust pizza, or preferring to walk instead of taking the bus? Are they programmed into my DNA too?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I don't know about gayness always being about DNA, but, its clear that no one woke up one day and decided "I think I will be gay from now on."

I don't think we can discount the idea that sexual preference has something to do with upbringing in at least a minority of cases. For some at least it is surely a preference that is conditioned. But I think its a bit funny that we labor so very hard to hide any and all sexuality from children and even teenagers, then express surprise that their sexuality turned out not at all like we hoped. Its a brain fart of mammoth proportion.

I wish Ishikawa luck, but frankly, even those who are all for gay tolerance in this world are in deep denial about gayness and sexuality in general too. Its a wonder that some places have become so pro tolerance while still maintaining so much of that denial and dogma.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"I would like to think that these people could use their vote to tell the nation that they exist,"...

An interesting aspect of Asian cultures is that many continue to deny the existence of gays. Do they see the obvious or is it something they can't accept or admit? This is for sociologists to figure out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sensei258, how about you leave gay business to the gay population and stop making up crack pot theories about something you obviously have no clue about. If being gay was a choice, then, wow, I think I'd choose the easy way, I think I'd choose to be straight. If you look at it objectively, who on earth would choose to be ostracised from their community, to run the risk of serious physical attack or even murder?

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I mean parent should teach girl to girl thing and boy thing to boy rather than openly encouraging them to becoming gay.

No parents teach their kids to be gay, any more than they teach their kids to be homosexual. Homosexuality is in the DNA, it is not a choice.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I never said there's anything bad about being gay, my son is and I love and support him. I also enjoy friendship with a few gays. What I have a problem with is people who tell me they have no choice. I'm not talking about personalities, or colorful behavior (which I think make the world a more interesting place).

1 ( +5 / -4 )

No parents teach their kids to be gay, any more than they teach their kids to be homosexual.

Typo. I meant to say "teach their kids to be heterosexual".

What I have a problem with is people who tell me they have no choice.

Then you have a problem with the human body and science, because homosexuality is driven by DNA, not by choice.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The physical act IS a choice.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

That's like saying that the physical act of heterosexual sex is a choice. Sure, it's factually correct, but it ignores the fact that the drive behind it that makes one want to perform that act is genetic. It's instinctual, not made by choice. And very, very few people choose to not have heterosexual sex in their lives, and there is no reason people should choose to not have homosexual sex if that's what they like either.

It also ignores the fact that homosexuality doesn't just refer to the sexual act either, it refers to the attraction to someone of their own sex. That attraction is not a choice, anymore than heterosexual attraction is.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Does his sexual preferences make any difference to the democratic process? I frankly couldn't care less about his sexuality, what about policies beyond raising LGBT awareness?..

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The physical act IS a choice.

Ahh. Unconditional paternal love.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Aren't there lots of gay actors on TV and in movies in Japan? I always felt that Japan accepts gays as part of the culture of Japan, especially on TV. In non Christian societies, anti gay fear is non existant. Long live non Christian societies. Long live Japan. Gay, schmay! God loves everyone, and even Jesus was gay. Accept it.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I always felt that Japan accepts gays as part of the culture of Japan

Not exactly. They accept it as long as it's not their family or friends. A Not In My Back Yard type attitude.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The LGBT's are human beings just like the rest of us. Their individual rights must be respected.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Don't they already have the same rights?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Don't they already have the same rights?

No.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I always felt that Japan accepts gays as part of the culture of Japan, especially on TV.

Well for the most part, they prefer they STAY on TV.

But really, among my friends in their 20s, 30s and at least early 40s, there is a lot of acceptance and really a sense that it's not an issue. The problem, of course, is that the country is run by men in their 50s, 60s, 70s, whose notions of what is socially acceptable are, to put it nicely, both hypocritical and a little archaic.

Ishikawa is certainly trying to bring LGBT issues to the fore, but he's really trying to kick-start a broader social and political discussion of how Japan, and its government, treat all types of minorities and disadvantaged groups. The topic of LGBT rights, same-sex marriage, etc. is one way of approaching those issues, but only one.

People have the misconception that there is no LGBT discrimination in Japan, and that the law protects the LGBT community as it does others--this is not true. LGBT individuals don't even exist in the eyes of the law, and a big part of the problem is that a vast swath of the LGBT community itself seems to be satisfied with the status quo--with living mostly in the closet, which goes a long way toward explaining why so few people here claim to know any LGBT people--and really aren't aware of the things they're being denied, from mutual inheritance rights, to medical visitation, joint home ownership and insurance coverage, to freedom from job discrimination.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Anybody know if any chance of a gay candidate applying for LDP sponsorship? Any tried and been refused?

@Danny Bloom

Danny Bloom: I always felt that Japan accepts gays as part of the culture of Japan ...

Just guessing, but as there was all that "young shoots" shunga way back when and at least a bit going on in the literature e.g. one chapter or so of Hagakure where IIRC he warns aspiring young samurai not too indulge too much in The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, maybe the gay culture went underground when Japan decided emulating the Victorians was fashionable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagakure

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mean while in other news today hundreds of straight people ran for the elections but there sexual orientation didnt even need to rate a mention

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It is difficult for non-Japanese to understand about Japanese gays because Japan has never been Christianized. Neither Buddhism nor Shinto has anything to say about it. There are no "evil" or "good" sex acts like in Christianity. That is like trying to say "red is an even color". "Even" and "odd" do not apply to colors, only numbers. Gay sex may be "hentai" 変態, but so is spending a few hours with a dominatrix, and that doesn't mean you wouldn't want to try it. Now gays are being normalized, and we go to normal bars and clubs with our friends who don't care. It used to be that gays got married, but what they did in their private time was their own business. Now our lives are becoming like westernization. But we don't really have a sense of "gay lifestyle". I'm not sure what that is. I have a boyfriend, but that is the only difference between my friends and I. Of course, we cannot get married, so maybe Ishikawa-san can work on that. And we have always had famous cross dressing singers, like Miwa or Mikawa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mean while in other news today hundreds of straight people ran for the elections but there sexual orientation didnt even need to rate a mention

Exactly. There were hundreds of them, not only one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

LGBT individuals don't even exist in the eyes of the law

I misspoke here--transgendered individuals do have some legal rights and protections here, due to the recognition of their condition as a "disease."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a BIG and important issue and I am glad that he is running and waking people up about this. There is a lot of suffering in the LGBT community in Japan, specially in Japan although it is all over the world. It is not accepted by most Japanese to be Gay and those who are, are looked down on in society and most are fired from their job. I also dont agree with Gokai that there is only 1-2% who are gay, its MUCH higher then even the estimates in this article, more like 10% and so many live latent for most or all of their lives! Its a good thing that there is now a discussion about this! PEACE

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Keep sexuality to the privacy of the home, where it belongs. There are much more important issues to worry about in Japan than this. Debt crisis, TEPCO, East Asian tensions, the pathetic current "leadership" just to name a few. Nobody cares about this issue, only that it IS an issue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

To those of you who treat this as a non issue, that's because you don't have to deal with it. You don't know what it's like to be married in one country but not in another, nor do you have to worry that if you ever lost your job you and your spouses' lives would be uprooted and have to be moved across the world simply because the government of the place you reside doesn't regognise same sex relationships. Maybe it's a small issue to you, but to the admittedly small percentage of the population who are LGBT having our relationships recognised equally means a lot!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mean while in other news today hundreds of straight people ran for the elections

How do you know?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Nobody cares about this issue, only that it IS an issue.

On the contrary many of us care about this.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don't have an issue with this guy as long as he can talk about non-gay issues as well. People shouldn't be elected, or not elected for that matter, based on their sexual orientation.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese are not obsesed to talk about sex, like Americans. Watch US TV. All about sex and guns (which are phallic symbols). We don't spend all day talking about sex, and maybe pretty much never. It is private, but then the US prople consider us as sexually suppressed and repressed. The problem is with the US people. I'm gay, but I don't feel the need to go talking about it or introduce myself as "Hi, I'm gay Gokai". People find out eventually, and I've never had a problem. I wasn't fired or expelled from my family or friends. We are more calm about sex than Americans. @Gudni-san, it is not a matter of agreeing with me about the 1.5 to 2% gay population overall. This is the result of studies by psychologists, not my personal opinion or observation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lesbian Kanako Otsuji, who briefly filled a vacancy in the upper house in 2013 after the incumbent died, Japan has had no openly gay lawmakers at the national level.

She was chosen because she qualified. Not because she was a lesbian.

This candidate is one issue candidate now. He should have more agendas to compete against other candidates.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sensei258Dec. 14, 2014 - 03:10PM JST

Don't they already have the same rights? No they don't.

MagnetDec. 14, 2014 - 08:26PM JST

Nobody cares about this issue, only that it IS an issue.

I care about this issue. A good number of the readers of JapanToday are in international marriages, which allow partners to get spousal visas so that they can live together in the same country. No such rights are available to Japanese people who's parter is the same gender. Without the right to marry, you miss out on a lot of other rights.

There is unspoken but clear discrimination against unmarried men in large companies. Most gay Japanese men I am friends with have arranged marriages of convenience, but some suffer the discrimination and remain single. They have a harder time in job interviews as they get older. People here actually ask, "why aren't you married" in interviews."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Keep sexuality to the privacy of the home, where it belongs.

Exactly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He won! Congratulations!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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