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Gay Life

Samurai, geisha, tea ceremony, Japanese festivals, weddings - learn about Japanese history and tradition.

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harmony74
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Gay Life

Postby harmony74 » October 11th, 2006 9:25 am

Hey i was just wondering if anyone knew how accepted homosexuality was in Japan. Being gay myslf i have a great interest in this. Also...is it acceptable for gay men to talk like women? i mean i kinda sound like a woman....when speaking english lol

Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » October 11th, 2006 12:53 pm

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

Not as accepting as Thailand, but much more so than the West, I would say.

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seanolan
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Postby seanolan » October 11th, 2006 3:41 pm

As a gay man in Japan, I have some experience in this, so let me give my 2 yen. First, there is no religious bias from most Japanese. Historically, many Japanese have been homosexual (some buddhist temples in Japan actually kept young men {even young boys at time, sadly} specifically because they were beautiful and the monks would have regular sexual encounters with them, and samurai often had relationships with their "squires" or "apprentices" {not sure what the Japanese word for that is} )according to some of the gay literature I have read here.

That said, there is a strong bias, not against same sex acts, but against a homosexual lifestyle, because it is not within the traditional Japanese lifestyle. A youth is expected to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and support the family by doing so. Someone who falls outside of that pattern is instantly regarded with suspicion and even contempt by many traditional Japanese. Obviously, a homosexual relationship and lifestyle falls well outside that pattern.

I would liken Japanese homosexual culture to that of America in the early 70's, without the active persecution or violence of that time. Most people don't even consider it (you'd be AMAZED how many Japanese have told me that there are no gay Japanese...hand to god!) Those that do, often consider it a choice (and not a good one) and somehow deficient, although many women do consider it hip and cool to have a gay male friend. There is a lot of confusion, incidentally, even in the language, about the difference between being gay, trangendered and transvestite. In fact, most words in the Japanese language make no distinction between the different identities. Ironically, while homosexuality as a lifestyle is looked at askance, entertainers who break the gender boundaries are incredibly popular, both as objects of amusement and as legitimate entertainers.

This leads to many Japanese having confusion about or denial of their orientation. The Japanese closet is deep. Almost all the gay Japanese men I have met over 30 are also married with children. Many of their wives even know that they are gay. It seems that as long as they have fulfilled the obligation to the community of a wife and children, it is tolerated. Some just look at it as a physical thing (and the stereotype is that this sort of Japanese man is very unaffectionate with their partners in gay sex; no kissing or any form of emotional attachment is formed); that they simply want sex with a man as an urge to be satisfied. This attitude is also held by many heterosexual Japanese about homosexuals, that it is simply a physical urge, not a life-altering orientation.

Many other gay Japanese men go the far opposite extreme, becoming extremely effeminate in all their behavior; sometimes even dressing and appearing as women (although not quite to the degree of transvestism). Rather than hiding it, they embrace the stereotype that Japanese culture places on them and in fact seem to be throwing it back in that culture's face.

Gay bars and gay-oriented businesses are few and far between outside of the metropolises (such as Tokyo's Shinjuku Nichome) and compared to the America, even those venues are small. For instance, Nichome has approximately 200 gay bars (according to Fodor's) in the neighborhood, but from personal experience I can tell you that aside from a very few, these bars have a seating capacity of 6-15 people...they are bars, not clubs. There are also occasionally places in the most out-of-the-way towns that would shock you...my small town does not have a gay bar (or in fact any night clubs) but it does have a transexual snack/hostess bar! HOW it stays open in this town, I couldn't even tell you...

There are quite a few small gay newspapers and magazines published in Japan, and they tend to be very discrete in delivery. In the larger cities, there are gay encounter/social groups as well.

Now, a bit of good news for foreigners coming to Japan...usually, Japanese have NO problem with homosexual foreigners. Remember, we are expected to not conform to Japanese culture (which can work for and against us in many situations) and so without any religious bias against homosexuality, we slip unscathed under the "conformity" radar...it's just one more weird thing about you, like eating raw vegetables, hating natto and wearing non-white shirts to work.

However, there seems to be a bit of mild prejudice about us working with kids (or maybe not...I'll explain). A few of the teachers I work/have worked with who know my orientation have told me it would be better for me not to talk about it, as some parents might be uncomfortable with me being in charge of their kids. On the other hand, several of my gay JET friends are not only out at the schools they teach at, but they have even taught lessons on homosexuality in other countries and how it is received there, without any negative fallout. So it could be that the teachers who spoke to me were simply being extra cautious, or my friends could have been lucky.

I hope this is useful to you, or at least informative. :)

Sean

Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » October 11th, 2006 5:12 pm

seanolan wrote:You'd be AMAZED how many Japanese have told me that there are no gay Japanese...hand to god!)

I've heard Japanese people say this before as well, but I'm willing to bet that's a 本音/建て前 thing. You can't watch Japanese TV for more than 20 minutes without seeing someone who's (at least pretending to be) gay. There are some pretty high-profile gay Japanese people as well, most notably Kanako Otsuji:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanako_Otsuji

harmony74
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Postby harmony74 » October 12th, 2006 4:36 am

Wow...thank you so much for the amazing responses!

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Postby jkid » October 19th, 2006 6:48 pm

Buellerさん、
On a side note, do you actually know/can comprehend if you see it all the Kanji you tyype? If so, that is pretty crazy knowleadge base you must have.

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Postby Bueller_007 » October 20th, 2006 8:49 am

japkid wrote:Buellerさん、
On a side note, do you actually know/can comprehend if you see it all the Kanji you tyype? If so, that is pretty crazy knowleadge base you must have.

What do you mean? Do you mean "do you know all of the Japanese words that you use on this forum"?

Because if so, the answer is "yes".

But actually, my vocabulary is my weakest area. I took an 8-month vacation away from Japan, and I forgot a lot.

And besides, I think almost every intermediate Japanese learner knows 本音/建て前.

jkid
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Postby jkid » October 20th, 2006 7:44 pm

And besides, I think almost every intermediate Japanese learner knows 本音/建て前.


Well I do now. :)

At least I now have something to work toward :D

Yoshiko
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book

Postby Yoshiko » November 25th, 2006 9:22 pm

I saw seanolan's story really fits into most things I read in this book:
A Japanese Mirror, by Ian Buruma.
I copied this from his homepage:
Behind the Mask: On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters, Drifters and Other Japanese Cultural Heroes (Pantheon, 1984), entitled A Japanese Mirror (Cape, 1983) in the UK
It is really interesting.

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About Gay Life!

Postby Ulver_684 » January 30th, 2007 1:06 pm

WOW! that sounds good! :wink:

Thank you for all the information you gave out! I like Yaoi comics and I'm a free open mind person and I always have said that if I were a man I'll be gay! :lol:
Now that I know how gay men are in Japan, How about tell in us about Gay Woman in Japan? Are there girls Lesbians or bisexual Japanese? if anyone knows please let me us know! :wink: S_R_C

shungen
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Postby shungen » August 26th, 2007 3:09 pm

I'm definitely NOT gay, but I can tell you that in Tokyo at least there seems to be a degree of aceptance of gay people in society...don't have to look far, I mean Razor Remon (aka HARD GAY) is a married ex-pro wrestler who acts like he is gay

There seems to be a few guys around the place in Kabukicuo that calls themselves あたし, which is how girls refer themselves... :shock:

nilfisq
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Postby nilfisq » August 26th, 2007 8:35 pm

i checked this 'razor ramen' out and found some youtube videos: here you can see him in action :)

click here

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Postby Ulver_684 » August 29th, 2007 11:52 am

Mina-san! :wink:

Now I know what Tachi and Kabuki means :lol:
This is what people was calling me here on JP101 and outside JP101! 8) :wink:

' Tachi (立ち, タチ)
The top, or active/insertive partner, especially in anal sex. In lesbian relationships, the woman who expresses more traditionally masculine traits is the tachi; see "butch" in English usage. There are various theories about the etymology of the word, but it is widely thought to come from a term in kabuki. '

deedo
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Postby deedo » August 29th, 2007 11:12 pm

if たちis to be active in anal sex what is the japanese for passive?

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Postby Ulver_684 » August 30th, 2007 8:43 am

deedo wrote:if たちis to be active in anal sex what is the japanese for passive?


Deedo-san! :wink:

I was referring to this part of the word meaning :

"In lesbian relationships, the woman who expresses more traditionally masculine traits is the tachi; see "butch" in English usage. There are various theories about the etymology of the word, but it is widely thought to come from a term in kabuki."

JP101 listeners where calling me butch because I act like and talk like a guy but 'I'm a girl ' maybe I have more Masculine hormones that Femenine just like gay guys that have more Femenine hormones than Masculine. 8) :lol:


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