Same-sex sexual activity was criminalised only briefly in Japan's history between and , after which a localised version of the Napoleonic Penal Code was adopted with an equal age of consent. Japan's culture and major religions do not have a history of hostility towards homosexuality. A law allowing transgender individuals to change their legal gender post- sex reassignment surgery and sterilization was passed in Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in certain cities, including Tokyo. Tokyo Rainbow Pride has been held annually since , with attendance increasing every year.
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On this tour, we'll show you the lifestyle of real Japanese gay guys, and you'll see the nightlife through the eyes of the locals who love this area. For Japanese gay men, the gay bars here are the places we can be the most open; our hidden home away from home. The rule of Japanese gay bars is, the smaller, the more hidden, the better, so as to protect our gay community. One of the main reasons for that is, most gay people in Japan haven't come out.
Somewhere in the courtroom, his partner sat silently watching, hoping to go unnoticed. His family and co-workers do not know he is gay, and he hopes — at least for now — to keep it that way, fearing discrimination in his workplace. In many ways, there has been dramatic change. Lawsuits filed this year by Mr. Sato, his partner and five other couples seeking recognition of same-sex marriage are the first of their kind in Japan. Public support for same-sex marriage has surged in the last few years, making it seem suddenly within reach. Yet in other ways, the gains remain abstract. Gay people face overwhelming pressure to conform to the silent, stifling norms of a society in which many parents and workers are still uncomfortable with the idea of their own children and colleagues being gay. And the conservative politicians who run the country and extol its sometimes inflexible culture refuse to touch the issue.
Records of men who have sex with men in Japan date back to ancient times. Western scholars have identified these as evidence of homosexuality in Japan. Though these relations had existed in Japan for millennia, they became most apparent to scholars during the Tokugawa or Edo period. This term was widely used to refer to some kind of male to male sex in a pre-modern era of Japan. During the Meiji period nanshoku started to become discouraged due to the rise of sexology within Japan and the process of westernization.