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Gay culture in Japan

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Gay culture in Japan

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Sat 01.15.2011 9:50 pm

I know the gay culture in Japan is believed to be small and underground, however it has been growing over the years especially in large cities. Pride events are even held. What is the typical reaction of Japanese parents to finding out their child is gay or lesbian? Is bisexuality less common than homosexuality in Japan? Do lesbians use typical 女性語? Do any movies or shows have gay characters? I only know of one episode of Ikebukuro West Gate Park, which showed a trangendered man. Any social commentary would be welcome.
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Ongakuka » Sun 01.16.2011 11:03 am

I won't be of much help here but I'll try and start of the discussion.

What is the typical reaction of Japanese parents to finding out their child is gay or lesbian?


This probably varies quite a bit. I imagine that most Japanese parents would be unhappy to discover that their child is homosexual, but some families would come to accept it more easily than others. Anyone feel free to challenge this view :)

Do lesbians use typical 女性語?


Depends on the person. Some lesbians will use masculine speech in the same way that some gay men will use effeminate speech

Do any movies or shows have gay characters?


Yes plenty, although too often the gay characters are made fun of in shows. Personally I think it is acceptable to have a character that is funny for their 'gay' personailty, but making fun of people for their sexuality is wrong.

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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Disco » Mon 01.17.2011 1:50 am

I assume since things Like BL (boys love) Novels and Yaoi/Yuri are common (to what extent I do not know) in Japan, that its a relatively accepted thing. No matter where you live though its pretty much the same thing. Whether one tells their friends/family or not, or goes public with it really depends on societal acceptance. 実は、ちょっとBL作品にハマっていますw。沢山の気持ちよくて可愛い話があるんです。本物の恋愛ならば誰でもいいと思います。
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby furrykef » Mon 01.17.2011 2:06 pm

Disco wrote:I assume since things Like BL (boys love) Novels and Yaoi/Yuri are common (to what extent I do not know) in Japan, that its a relatively accepted thing.

I'd be really hesitant to draw that conclusion. You could conclude that incest is a relatively accepted thing on the same grounds. ;)
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Disco » Mon 01.17.2011 4:37 pm

I've never heard of an incest fan girls... :lol:
Well, Japanese works featuring homosexual love is rather popular, and has been translated into many other languages and sold across the world, you can even find it at Borders :shock: Although, I think most of the works are fantasies of the opposite sex made for that sex (Yaoi's for girls basically). Although there are ones made by the same sex that are meant to be enjoyed by that sex (Bara is made by guys for guys). I don't know if I'm off topic or being inappropriate but I'll try to fix that... So my conclusion is that it's a special interest, although it's still relatively well known. There is actually a Gay District, Shinjuku Ni-Chome.

http://www.japanvisitor.com/index.php?cID=362&pID=377
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby NileCat » Mon 01.17.2011 6:06 pm

Do you know any country where they don’t have any gay community at all?
Do you think those books you mentioned are displayed in the bright store windows along Fifth Avenue here?
All I can say is that I recommend you not to mix up subculture with mainstream. And that the outmost subcultures tend to thrive in the oppressed societies.
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Disco » Tue 01.18.2011 5:56 am

言うまでもないことです
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Stefan » Mon 01.24.2011 7:32 pm

There's a movie called 御法度(taboo) displaying 衆道 (i'd wiki it) among samurai and presented how homosexuality was accepted in Japanese culture. also the anime samurai champloo had an episode where a wealthy high ranking Dutchmen of the dutch east india company came to japan specifically for the reason that homosexuality was accepted there and not in Holland. i believe it was episode 4 or 5.
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Stefan » Mon 01.24.2011 7:35 pm

furthermore next to the thriving sex district of 歌舞伎町(kabuki cho) in tokyo lies next to it the gay sex distisct of shinjuku ni chome. hope it helps.
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby chikara » Mon 01.24.2011 8:03 pm

Stefan wrote:There's a movie called 御法度(taboo) displaying 衆道 (i'd wiki it) among samurai and presented how homosexuality was accepted in Japanese culture. .....

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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby takiras » Tue 01.25.2011 6:56 pm

同性愛者にとって暴力がありますか?長い目で見れば、日本に住むのが無理ですか?言語を勉強した後で、迫害されたら悪いと僕は思います。今諦めたほうがよいかも知れませんね ^^;
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 01.25.2011 11:23 pm

No, there isn't any real gay-bashing in Japan or anti-gay violence. Although gays haven't gained full acceptance in society they're not hated at all. The position is more one of comic relief. There are tons of popular gay celebrities, Kaba-chan, Chris Matsumoto, Osugi and Pi-ko, Tanoshingo etc. but they are almost without exception very effeminate, "flaming" type characters. Lesbians are almost invisible in the media, but I believe recently one of the Osaka assembly members was an out lesbian. Checking wikipedia...Here is a short article about her.

It's hard to compare the status of gays in lesbians in the West and in Japan, because the historical and cultural backgrounds are so different. Especially because of the lack of monotheistic religion in Japan, there is no notion of homosexuality being "sinful", just different, but we all know how well "different" goes over in Japan.

As an out gay Westerner living in Japan you'd be much more likely to experience lots of probing, and embarrassing although well-intentioned and also rather naive questions, than any type of violence or scorn. There are gay districts with various events and things in most big cities, although as in any country, small towns generally won't have any gathering places/ bars etc.
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Re: Gay culture in Japan

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Wed 02.09.2011 5:17 pm

I notice that 衆道 roughly translates to "the way of the masses." What's the etymology of the word? Oh and I just now noticed that when I entered it in the IME, it wouldn't give me the right option to choose, so I had to enter both characters by themselves. That's weird, and a little worrisome.

Thanks for all the great info, Becki!
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