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Attitudes Towards Homosexuality in Japan

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When you think of homosexuality in Japan you probably think it is open based off amines that you may have watched but you would be wrong. Japan is very much more traditional than other Asian countries like Korea although homosexuality is not discussed in Korea either. Homosexuality is something that people don’t talk about people will even marry into a straight relationship. An even have kids in this relationship but go out to have intercourse with others that are of the same gender. Being homosexual in Japan they believe it is a desire to be like the opposite sex they relate homosexuality in the same light that they relate transgender. I find it very interesting how Japan views homosexuality compared to America.

According to McLelland, Mark J Studies while in Japan all of the Japanese see homosexuality as a desire to be the opposite sex putting it in the same light as transgender this is not true when talking to people who cross dress in Japan they state that it has nothing to do with the desire to be with the same gender. Cross-dressing is even taught In Japan sexual education classes in school. Crossdressing is normalized in Japan it does not make it any easier for someone who wants to come out as gay for they will be faced with the problem of being called transgender. One of the problems is there is no word in Japanese for gay so those who or homosexual but do not desire to dress like the opposite gender don’t have a true word to call themselves other than the English word gay. When it comes to women it is even more difficult because the media focuses on the sexual desire that women have for men. In Japan the lesbian lifestyle is even more or less recognized then the gay lifestyle. Although it is much clear that homosexuality is in Japan like anywhere else in the world it is not discussed, and you are not to bring it up in conversation which I talk about it it’s not something that people like to discuss. Claiming that you are gay is something that rarely occurs in Japan most people will not claim that they’re gay and give themselves that label.

Manga’s in Japan there are many series of manga’s that have homosexual interactions in them. These mangas are made not for other homosexuals they are mainly made for the young women of Japan that is the targeted audience when it comes to these manga. For instance, there is a famous homosexual manga series called boys with love most of the readers are women young women not homosexual man. In most of the anime you see a clear representation of crossdressing. This means it is a little of a true representation of homosexuality for those who are gay living in Japan. In Japan being openly gay as the celebrity or in an anime has always been acceptable but being openly gay on a personal level was not as much accepted you would be faced with harsh criticism and bullying. Anime can be a positive light as the generations have gone on Japan has improved on accepting homosexuality with the increase of influence through the media like anime. Gay anime have always been around in Japan and can date back to even the 80s but as the generations go on it’s more of a common thing to see in media and even popular anime that have come out in recent years with main characters that are homosexual.

Homosexuality in Japan in the women population is very hard to come across most women are not openly gay and will not admit to being sexually attracted to females. In general, in Japan people don’t openly talk about their sexuality in any way people do not even show affection towards their partner in public. Women in Japan are also expected to bear children by their 20s a famous comment from Jennifer Robertson “Neither for love nor an expression of their sexuality, but, is as common, knowledge to survive economically.” As a result women tend to value stability an great careers in a potential spouse and will give up their careers to bare a child. Although girls are more likely to experience with other girls than guys are In Japan. Although there are no LGBT discrimination laws In Japan there are no laws to protect them either people in the LGBT community living in Japan face a high rate of mental illness and domestic violence. Lesbians in Japan are seen as women attracted to gay men and are not really talked about. Unfortunately, when it comes to lesbians in Japan’s community, they are only represented in fantasies in manga’s like Yuri. If you don’t know what Yuri stands for it the name is of what they call girl on girl pornography. Due to this many women dislike the thought of lesbian because of this fantasy that men create through these fiction shows and books. When the AIDS crises Affected Jim pan unlike in America where a homophobic reaction occurred In Japan it was more of a national reaction blaming the disease on Americans.

In conclusion although In Japan it is somewhat accepted it’s still hard for those in the community. One of the biggest problems would have to be the fact that many people get married and live out a fake straight life to go with social norm in Japan even going as far as having kids. There are many things that they can do to improve this stereotype to help people feel more comfortable about their sexuality. One of the things I would suggest is for Japan to be more open about having conversations about sexuality In Japan people just do not talk about things like that unlike in other countries like America. Also knowing that these manga’s and what you see in them is not the reality of being gay and being in the community. Someone who is in the LGBT community this does not disturb me from visiting Japan one day Unfortunately for my community that I’m in we face many challenges and difficulties but fighting them helps change people’s views and helps change countries for the better.


  1. McLelland, Mark J. Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan : Cultural Myths and Social Realities. Routledge, 2000. EBSCOhost,
  2. Adamczyk, Amy. Cross-National Public Opinion About Homosexuality : Examining Attitudes Across the Globe. University of California Press, 2017. EBSCOhost,
  3. Gingold, N. (2019). Why an anime character can be openly gay in Japan, but you can’t. [online] Public Radio International. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2019].
  4. McLelland, Mark J. “The Love Between ‘Beautiful Boys’ in Japanese Women’s Comics.” Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, Mar. 2000, pp. 13–25. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/095892300102425.

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Attitudes Towards Homosexuality In Japan. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from
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