Some 2,500 people marched in a gay pride parade in Tokyo on Sunday, vowing to
transform a low-profile campaign for the rights of sexual minorities into a
major movement in Japan.
The crowd, mainly from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
community, as well as their supporters and sex workers, paraded through the
capital's entertainment and shopping district of Shibuya.
Waving rainbow-colored flags and banners, foreign and Japanese campaigners
marched in colorful carnival and samurai warrior outfits.
It was the first parade organized by Tokyo Rainbow Pride, a private
organization formed last year which aims to support the rights of sexual
"Compared with that of New York or London, Japan's awareness of sexual
minorities is quite low," said Sayaka Kato, a spokeswoman for the organization.
"I'm afraid Japan has yet to have a culture of accepting diversity."
The group hopes to stage a gay pride parade with 50,000 participants within
the next five years by expanding its networks among not only Japanese but
Wataru Ishizaka, 35, who as an openly gay politician in Japan is a rarity,
noted that a number of sexual minorities in the country still hesitate to take
part in events in support of LGBT rights for fear of discrimination.
"Japanese sexual minorities are still concerned about their exposure to the
public," said Ishizaka, a local Tokyo politician, after participating in the
Pubblicato da Lorenzo Bernini