Introduction to Queer Japan:

last updated on MARCH 22, 2004.
added AIDS, and first revision

Preface :
In Edo period, researchers of Japanese literature Tohei Okabe et al. found the beginning of "a traditional male homosexuality" DANSHOKU in Japan at "Nihonshoki". They call it "The Sin of Azunai". We can say that DANSHKU had accepted the way of love in Japan as true from ancient times to Edo period. They valued the love equivalent to heterosexual love at the Edo period. You understand it shows the marvelous era in the world history, since you can find the fact in the classic text in Japanese. It is said that three factors degraded the status of "the traditional homosexuality" DANSHKU at Meiji or subsequent ones: 1) the vanished samurai society, 2) being immersed in Christianity thought, 3) and the Meiji government's policy for enhancing the wealth and military strength of a country and afterwards the socially responsible homosexuality in old days disappeared without leaving any trace and "the male homosexuality" means sexual perversion in Japan.
Researchers say historically DANSHKU in Japan was considered as one of substitute figures for heterosexual love and fundamentally differs from the male homosexuality of today. Male samurai are involved with only one same-sex-steady throughout his whole life in the theme of DANSHOKU of Hagakure. Then we need to find if there is "a gay" who always love boys in the traditional Japanese history. I found the love and show you the evidence. As for a pedophile of today in Japan, they are things by contrast with the traditional homosexual people with deep affection prior to Meiji period based on the social recognition in social ethics. I don't know if they love very young boys as the substitute figures or they just love a boy himself. Needless to say, that's illegal and it doesn't meet our social criteria lately. Hope you understand why people in those days had a broad view of "the traditional male homosexuality" based on their own humanitarianism after you read through my writings.
About Gay Japan:

We can find the adult-adult love existed.(Adult male type homosexuality):
"Edo Homosexuality( in Japanese)" was written by Mr.Hajime Shibayama and I quoted his writings:
From p36, "It's believed that there was a male homosexuality in ancient times. It is recorded that there is the male homosexuality at Muromachi period or earlier. Why did modern society give rise to the outcome of such male homosexuality? This problem might be up to social pathology."
From p41, "The male homosexuality after Meiji essentially differs from that of the male love prior to Meiji. That's a sexual perversion if a man loves an adult male. Such sexual love existed in the first half of the Edo period, even though I can rarely see such kind of love in classic books."
From p44, "The traditional type like a man loves a very young boy with deep affection disappeared quickly in this way, but the abominable type like a man loves a man remained with kinky preference."

How the gay is like in pre modern? (Adult male type homosexuality):
From p130, "Masukagami" says a chief-adviser-to-the-Emperor Iehira Konoe loved Yorimoto and the nobleman was always with the boy after the boy grew up." It means they have the sexual relationships between men and men.
We can see one of the works of "Saikaku Ihara" like two dudes eloped ,came to Edo and stay together even to the extremely old age (as a compendium). Rather than the story deteriorate the male love, they ameliorate the strong affection with full of vigor, though it depends on a specialist's judgment whether the classic contents itself is true and that's a historical fact. I don't know there might be a disagreeable thing which cannot be written a lot in the Japanese classic text, since it was a description of a person who respected "aesthetics." However, if you know "male homosexuality" of today in Japan, you can't find "gay beauty" nor a heartwarming story that can be written in books or websites. I don't want to say lots of Japanese gay are crazy and those who are not gay can be trusted rather than gay people, unless we do comingout.

The mainstream of gay life in Japan:
Regrettably, heterosexual people in Japan associate male homosexual people with term such as, OKAMA, NEW FALF, DRUG QUEEN, and HENTAI, because of influence of big mass media. I think that such expressions with a sense of humiliating are the influence of those who have inherited a way of "KAGEMA-CYAYA" business. In Edo-period, "KAGEMA-CYAYA" is an underground town in Edo or Osaka, where lots of shops sell a boy-prostitute as "products". "KAGEMA" is an old slang in Edo period and means young boy prostitute or Kabuki dancer. "CYAYA" means kind of a cafe, where shops sell boys. "The traditional conscience of Japanese" and "The Essence of kindness" of "the traditional male homosexuality" were exterminated, though the humane love played very important role in the old Japanese society. Only stuff relating to some profit monger can survive into the 21 century. It looks pretty smart for the big bucks. Some people argue that the sex business have higher operation costs, which eat shoppers' profits. Surprisingly, the Opening of a country, the Meiji Restoration, and World War II would be endured somehow as hub. Rather than only the sex business is still alive, all be ruined together.

A new type of "homosexual people" in Japan:
Unlike the elder sister type of "homosexual people" licking the boots of people in power , a new type of "homosexual people" emerged in Japan lately. The new people call themselves GAY, even though the term is from western countries. Rather it surely becomes further devastation of "the homosexual society" in Japan, they choose "Occidental mimicry" for our recovery. This concept has been around for quite some time among the conscious gay people that I can share my value with. Isn't it less unsatisfactory to do by the view of a "Western formula"?

TODAY:
1) Society:
When it comes to the homosexuality in Japan, primarily the sense of shame is very strong for Japanese ,even though western culture is a guilt culture. The Buddhist religion or the Japanese ethics don't teach guilt, impose shame on us, not guilt but shame is much more than guilt. I think it comes from a traditional common sense ,that has a vested interest in group harmony ,holds minority people accountable to integrate within the small Japanese society. There are no specific guidelines for gay in Japan.

2) Life:
Heterosexual people in Japan believe that a male loves a female and the sexual preference of gay youth will turn around near future from my point of view. Some queer dudes are obsessed with such kind of a classic idea before they know that's not. So many straight people in Japan know so little- just like gay men or youth may act as QUEEN. They don't believe in even the existence of gay people or I might say they won't believe in so. I can say basically gay men in Japan marry and spend life with their family, at the same time they hang around cruising places, though the family members, siblings, or friends eventually don't know what the gay men are doing at all. If Japanese gaymen tell the truth, they might end up hurting the feelings of the straight people around. Blurting out everything is taboo in Japan or that is a disadvantage for the promotion because human feelings come first in many cases as far as I know.

3) Trends:
However, some gay habitants in big cities, such as Osaka and Tokyo, associated with plenty of gay spots or party-activities, show a different phenomenon lately, such as they don't marry and live as a stag(a single) or live with their same-sex partners. They are now in the period where the the change is becoming extremely steep. The role of bars and publishers, once had a strong influence upon Japanese gay society, is diminishing with the internet facilities increasing every year. These phenomenon can be up to the rise of high-tech companies and the collapse of a life-time employment, as the basic fractures and structures of Japan are changing dramatically, that is shaking the traditional gay society. Most gay youth have tough time at traditional places, where the circumstances are quite conservative and the stuff aren't attractive. We are looking for innovation and change, resulting in the further fall of the gay old-line business and the countryside.

4) Activity:
Gay activities in Japan are not practical or I can say what those groups are going on to my disappointment, even though some groups regularly hold a STDs awareness meeting lately not only for edifying gaymen or lesbian, but also for demonstrating their factional strength to us, it seems to me. Primarily, for our safe they are required to teach gay individuals who carries the most risk or infected how to control their emotions and impulses to sex, if they have the time and will. I'm sure the problem is within the fold of Japanese gay society. They give top priority on personal feeling rather than promotion of gay. And that's Japan.

5) AIDS:
I need to talk about the broader risks of gay sex. It is said the AIDS is rampant at Tokyo metropolitan areas where the population density is the highest in Japan. According to statistics of Japanese government agency (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ), the first case of AIDS found in Japan was in 1985. The number amounts to 2,555 at the end of 2000. 642 of the total were believed to have been infected by blood clotting agents contaminated with HIV virus.
Including AIDS patients:
The number of persons who are HIV positive and have AIDS in 2000, male 667 and female 122. Nationality and sex of infected persons in 2000, male Japanese 573, male foreign citizens 94, female foreign citizens 69, and female Japanese 53.
Cause of infection contact:
Including AIDS patients but excluding those with unclear cause of infection, heterosexual contact 330 and male homosexual contact 290.

No one knows for sure, but CIA FACTBOOK shows:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS in Japan: 10,000 (1999 est.).
In 2002, there are some groups which illuminate gaymen. For my frustrating inconsistency, those groups were actually sponsored by the booming sex-business. As the irony of fate, more high-profile, more the business thrived.

2002
I had visited lots of website written in other languages and found we had different histories about gay matters. Of course, we have the same sexual preference and I think always we are friends. To my conclusion, I can't progressively promote my mission in Japan at my page. I can say no unprincipled homophobia with such malicious crimes in Japan. We like moderates. I think the primary reason of this status is that more than 80% of Japanese are not Christian. Social norms, moral standards, ethics... are not always dependent on Christianity. Most of gay Japanese are still in the closet and we have no problems except for transgenders( FTM/ MTF) because we don't perpetrate religious dogma, Japanese laws, morals...It means gay men in Japan come out when we need to depenalize something serious for us. Not now, maybe near future since Japanese society is changing rapidly to that of occidental countries. But not the same as the western way, it seems to me. I speculate the number of youth came out about his sexual preference increased.
About AIDS for more detailed info in Japanese; go to AIDS Clinical Center

2004
The number of persons who are HIV positive and have AIDS in 2003,614.
AIDS national survey/Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry( Japanese government):in Japanese