Is Japan LGBTQ Friendly?

Is Japan LGBTQ friendly? Situations

The answer is yes and no

Is Japan an LGBTQ-friendly country? I am at a loss to answer that question. That’s because your answer depends on whether you are a traveler or intend to live in this country.

In other words, my answer would be, “For a traveler, yes! But absolutely not for people living in Japan!” And that’s it.

Let me explain what I mean.

Japan as a great travel destination for LGBTQ people

polite woman
Woman giving a polite greeting

Japan is described as safe, hygienic, and the people are polite.

If you have been to Japan on vacation, you will experience these things, even if you are a sexual minority.

Gender-free toilets are available. You can find gay bars in larger cities. It is not considered strange for two men to eat together in a restaurant or stay in the same hotel room, for example.

In this sense, Japan is LGBTQ-friendly.

A country of “inside and outside” and “honne and tatemae”

As the phrases “inside and outside” and “honne and tatemae(one’s real intention and one’s hidden motives)“ suggest, the Japanese have two sides to them. No matter how they feel inside, they are able to put up a good front on the outside.

Therefore, even if a traveler is a sexual minority, they do not criticize him or her to his or her face, nor do they show dislike. This is because the traveler is from the outside and is an outsider.

It is sometimes said that Japan has an exclusive policy. Having lived in a mono-ethnic, island nation, I think we still have an underlying fear of foreign countries and foreigners.

The aspect of low crime and high security

If a drag queen were walking the streets, would she be in danger?

Would you suddenly be violently attacked if you were kissing someone of the same sex?

For both of these questions, I can say no. This is not a sign that the Japanese are more understanding of LGBTQ people. It is only because the crime rate is statistically low.

If there were Japanese people around who were averse to sexual minorities, they would simply try to stay away from them out of fear of “foreigners”.

For sexual minorities living in Japan, I have to say “No!”

If you are a sexual minority and not Japanese, you are a double minority if you live in Japan.

The Japanese government does not give enough consideration to sexual minorities.

(Please read my previous article “LGBTQ Situation in Japan Today” on this subject as well.)

There is no same-sex marriage system, and the government’s treatment of transgender people is abysmal. So, living in this country is not a comfortable experience. It is far from LGBTQ friendly for those living in Japan.

The Increase in Visitors to Japan and Its Impact

foreigners in Japan
foreigner in Japan

The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan has increased tremendously since around 2010. People became accustomed to seeing more and more foreigners on the streets. People began to think about how to treat them.

People are afraid of what they don’t know.
We need to realize that foreigners and sexual minorities are the same people.
Japanese people are just now beginning to realize that there are many different kinds of people in the world.
I would like to make Japan a truly LGBTQ-friendly country from now on.

This is the reality of Japan. I wrote this article because I want you to know the reality.