Japanese Transgender Idol Unit “SECRET GUYZ” Overcome Gender Boundaries


Suponichi Annex 11/26/2016

SECRET GUYZ, Japan’s first ever FtM idol group, is broadening the scope of its activities to spread understanding of sexual minorities as it cements its position as a ‘new generation idol group”. In addition to releasing their 6th single on November 30th, the group will hold a one man show on December 1st in Toyko. The group says, “Rather than raising awareness in a serious way, we want to get the word out through entertainment.”


Osaka’s Yodogawa Ward Launches First-Ever LGBT Awareness Poster Campaign

Yodogawa LGBT awareness campaign

Yodogawa Ward in Osaka City is unique in that it became the first municipality in Japan to declare support for LGBT individuals back in 2013. And according to a recent article published by the Japan Times, it appears that Yodogawa Ward is positioned as a municipal model on LGBT rights due to the various ways in which the local government has worked to create a more comfortable environment for LGBT citizens to live in and for the ward’s contributions to creating LGBT awareness in Japan.


Rainbow Parade for LGBT Awareness Held in Kumamoto City 

rainbow parade kumamoto banner

Kumanichi.com 11/14/2016 

Rainbow Parade Kumamoto, an event which aims to create understanding of sexual minorities, was held on November 12 in downtown Kumamoto City. About 200 people marched magnificently in the spirit of wishing to live as their true selves.

While many LGBT individuals still hesitate to come out due to the threat of discrimination and prejudice, and holding such parades in the region is uncommon, an action committee consisting of LGBT individuals and their supporters created the first of such events to be held in Kumamoto.


Kyushu Rainbow Pride 2016 [Slideshow+Video]

Kyushu Rainbow pride logo

Kyushu Rainbow Pride 2016, the third LGBT Pride event to be hosted in Fukuoka City, was held on November 6 in Fukuoka’s Reisen Park. Attendees of all ages, nationalities, sexualities and genders gathered in celebration of diversity and to express support for the LGBT community.

I had a wonderful time speaking with NPO groups and company representatives about their efforts to support LGBT individuals, and I even got to meet some readers of this blog! There was so much positive energy and cheerfulness. Experiencing such a scene made me feel so much hope for the advancement of LGBT awareness and the creation of a more diverse and supportive society in Japan.


Japan’s First Ever ‘Pride Index’ Awards 53 Companies ‘Gold’ Rank

pride index lgbt-japan-workplaces

Huffington Post Japan 10/27/2016

Work With Pride, a private organization created through the efforts of IBM Japan and Human Rights Watch which works for the creation of LGBT-friendly workplaces in Japan held a commendation event evaluating the work environments of several companies. 82 companies and organizations applied, and about 600 people participated in the event.

Companies were evaluated according to the “Pride Index”, which was formulated in June, and designated one of three grades, “gold”, “silver”, or “bronze”. Companies are allowed to display a logo representing their designation on things such as business cards, advertisements, and recruitment materials. At this event, 53 companies were designated as “gold”.


New England Nostalgia, and Autumn in Fukuoka


Being born and raised in New England, I learned to love autumn from an early age. Despite the days becoming shorter and the foliage falling from the trees, I always saw it as a time of new beginnings because of the start of the school year.

I have many fond memories of autumn; trick or treating with my parents and older brother as a kid, going to the haunted house at the local amusement park with friends in my teens, packing friends in my beat up 1994 Toyota Tercel and heading to gigs at the local venues during my university days. And during my time in Japan, exploring Japan with my fellow JETs, traveling alone or with Taku, and so on.