By Theodore Zarik
Last Sunday Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, marched through the streets of Shibuya in a celebration of diversity and equality with 3000 others. Even amidst the sequined glory and racy fashionistas of the annual Rainbow Pride Festival, lady Abe was looking pretty funky herself, with a late-90’s, Prince-‘I’m a symbol’-era white suit that shouted independence and unrepentant feminism. In her own words:
“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination.”
Despite remaining something of a taboo, sexuality has always been diverse in Japan. In literature, it was depicted as early as 1692 by Ihara Saikaku in The Life of an Amorous Man, which was kind of the Top Gun of the Genroku era. There are very old Japanese words for same-sex relations, such as nanshoku (男色) and history is rife with stories of homosexual monks and gay Samurai, though our attempts to research the existence of lesbian geisha turned up results that were less historic.
Unfortunately, rarely does anyone in the modern political sphere openly promote LGBT rights and, aside from a brief triumph in November, when Yodagawa Ward’s municipal government announced that it would actively begin supporting LGBT citizens, publicity for LGBT issues in Japan has been negligible. That’s why it’s shocking to see international media attention garnered by the wife of a Prime Minister so conservative he probably teases apart layers of toilet paper.
All in all, this is more progressive than that time you put a pizza in a sandwich toaster.*
Source: Huffington Post