Tokyo Pride Festival

Isetan drag queen, Tokyo Pride Festival

Yesterday was Tokyo’s Pride Festival, and this home-made couture costume of Isetan department store bags was the best outfit. The festival was small but lively, with a stage, booths, food, and lots of young people.

The stage show included a very large band with brass, wind instruments and percussion; Okinawan dancing and drumming; and a panel of celebrities being filmed for an NHK special on pride and being out.

Okinawan dancers, Tokyo Pride Festival

NHK celebrities, Tokyo Pride Festival

The booths included HIV awareness and support, a hikikimori university, a gay student group, a hair cutter, Goldman Sachs recruiting, a deaf gay group, an online fortune teller, Men’s Mixi, and a recycling booth where one of the husband’s English language students was volunteering. There were at least half a dozen “free hugs” offers.

Pink guy, Tokyo Pride Festival

There was also a Festival booth where people were invited to write on small fabric scraps that would later be made into a large rainbow quilt flag. I wrote: “Tokyo = World’s Gayest Place” along with a pink heart and the Japanese word “sugei” (すげい) or “awesome.”

Messages for Rainbow Quilt Flag, Tokyo Pride Festival Messages for Rainbow Quilt Flag, Tokyo Pride Festival

And there was this suspicious foreign ojisan eating Blue Hawaiian shaved ice.

Suspicious foreign ojisan,  Tokyo Pride Festival


  1. Although the scale was much smaller than one in San Francisco, I was still moved to be there and to see those gays and lesbians gathering in the park. Back in 1990 (when I left Tokyo for the US), I could not imagine that an event like this would take place. Maybe the speed of progress is slow, but I am quite hopeful for the future of gays/lesbians in Tokyo.

  2. I’m adding Tokyo Gay Pride festival to my list of things to do. I’ve only ever been to one NYC parade/festival and I was 12, so it was a while ago.

    I’m hoping they hold the Taiwanese Gay Pride in Taiwan when I’m there. I can’t find any news on it from recent times. PLUS, I really wanna attend the biggest anime conven in Taipei when I’m there.

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