I won’t give up my individuality

Mostly the Tokyo Pride Parade was about fun, community, and visibility. There were a few political statements that struck me as especially relevant.

Above these incredibly young kids are posing with a sign saying, “自分らしさをあきらめない” (Jibun rashisa wo akiramenai, which means “I won’t give up my individuality”). Go, kids!

Below, there’s a message linking visas and marriage. I also love the woman with the rainbow umbrella, super colorful dress, and sign that says “God doesn’t bless marriages.” As part of an international couple, I feel the inconvenience of Japan and the US’s lack of immigration rights for gay spouses.


  1. Thank you for the full-on coverage of the pride parade TM!! If I had known it was on, I would have been there with bells on. I’d be interested to hear more about the community’s take on visas/marriage. Coming from *wonderful* Canada where anyone can marry and you can even get a visa as a common law couple, I am a bit impatient with the rest of the world to catch up already!

    1. International gay couples have no access to immigration visas. I think she’s suggesting that visas for international couples is more important than the symbolism or status of marriage. Marriage inequality deprives us of basic rights, and makes life a little more complicated.

  2. Hi! I’m a French guy in a civil partnership with my Japanese hubby (9 yeras going on 10!)…been “married” for 2 1/2 years but of course,it has no value here,not even to help me get a visa when we moved here 2 years ago. Our flat is in his name obviously otherwise we wouldn’t even have been able to get it,which means if anything should happen to him,I’ll get kicked out. I read that Japan recognises marriage contracted abroad by a Japanese person to a foreign person….but why not my Civil Partnership? I guess it still lies in the total hypocrisy of Japan towards homosexuality….And when i see this Yuji Oda (whose homosexuality is NOT rumors and the worst kept secret in the business!!!!) getting married to keep up appearances….I praise the day when a Japanese actor will come out and introduce his boyfriend on TV ! In 100 years maybe?

  3. I also find very contradicting the way Japanese men lack of individuality and courage to express their opinion when it comes to sexuality.You see guys wearing the weirdest outfits to express themselves,and still…if you’re lucky,a few will merely concede a “I’m bisexual”…Even from young guys,who as soon as they reach a certain age,go back in line and get married…then just have a couple of kids while still meeting guys on the side…(I am still impressed at the number of gay “cruising” places there are in Tokyo !!!!)There’s no surprise that gays are not anywhere close to partnership, let alone marriage !

  4. Things aren’t any better in Australia with gay marriage being completely off the agenda in the recently elections. Mostly because it devalues the “sanctity of marriage” or some crap.

  5. Kathryn, thanks for the info. I somehow had this illusion that gay marriage was already common in Australia!

    Armel, while as a gay person, I feel a lot safer to live in Tokyo than in San Francisco, I tend to think that the lack of life-threatening situations against gays in Japan, ironically, has failed to fuel gay movement here. Many Japanese gays tend to think that if they can live safely and have a plenty of opportunities to have sex (secretly or openly), why should we care about special rights? At the same time, this is certainly a cynical opinion. I just try to be as open as possible about my being gay and never stop hoping that things get better.

    1. Being gay in Japan includes heavy doses of invisibility and freedom. Less hate, and less recognition. I think it’s important that we are seen, especially by those around us.

  6. はじめまして!織田裕二さんの結婚をGoogleしていて、このBlogを見つけました(笑)私は今はサンフランシスコに住んでいますが、このブログを読ませてもらっていて、2丁目が恋しくなりました!!私のホームタウンです。今年のパレードにも参加できなかったので、ここで記事を読ませてもらって良かったです。私の彼女もドイツ国籍なのでこの先日本が変わらなきゃ、変えなきゃと私に何ができるかなって考えるばかりです。織田さんはさておき、日本でもリッキー・マーティンみたいに名のある人がカミングアウトして言ってくれるといいですね!これからもブログ更新楽しみにしてます。私は、以前中野でアルバイトをしていたこともあるので、色々興味深いです!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s