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Japan Travel Guide

Gay And Lesbian in Japan

Japanese gay and lesbian subcultures are ancient and delicate. There are allusions to homosexual relationships in 11th century diaries and even in a diverting turn of events for the womanizing protagonist of The Tale of Genji, one of the world's earliest novels. Traditions of same-sex love increased in later centuries.

In recent years, some young gays and lesbians admit of a delicate way their position and they participate in gay pride events and declaring a holiday on April 4, midway between Girl's Day and Boy's Day, wittily named "New Half Day".

Unfortunately for gay Japanese men, not all is easy. The problem of the gayness founders in Japan is marriage. According to tradition, the marriage is seen not so much as the next step after falling in love, but more as a responsibility to maintain the family name is important.

Any affirm that sexual inclination makes marriage impossible is seen as 'selfish' and is to be sacrificed to the demands of duty. Asia follows the tradition, also Japan is a highly conformist society, and rejecting to marry is an evidence of egregious nonconformity. Being openly gay in Japan only rubs the fact of this nonconformity in, making for an environment where gay Japanese men rarely venture out of the closet - at least before night falls.

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