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10 Jul 2019

LGBT people 'were not expected' argues Japanese government

Plaintiffs in a landmark equal marriage lawsuit accuse Japanese government of ‘denying their existence’ by arguing they were not expected when Japan’s Constitution was written.

The Japanese government on Monday (8 July) argued that LGBT people ‘were not expected’ and are therefore not covered by the Constitution’s marriage clause. Thirteen couples are suing the Japanese government in landmark court cases to gain recognition of their unions. Government lawyers maintain that Article 24 of the Constitution refer to a man and a woman only, saying LGBT people were ’not expected’ when the Constitution was written - and that marriage laws therefore do not apply to Japan’s LGBT Community. Meanwhile, lawyers acting on behalf of the plaintiffs argue that separate articles in the Constitution (specifically, Articles 14 and 13) should guarantee LGBT people equal treatment and the pursuit of happiness. The cases continue.

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Reader's Comments

1. 2019-07-11 17:57  
Yet another example of fridae lifting an article straight out of Gay Star News without any editing, any checking of the information and merely assuming it has all the information gay members of fridae might wish to read. That is nonsense.

The focus of the article is largely on the Japanese Constitution. The Japanese did not write that Constitution. The Americans did! General MacArthur rejected the draft of a Japanese Committee and gave two of his American staff one week to write a new one. Bits and pieces of various drafts were included and MacArthur agreed to Japanese requests that the government have two chambers rather than merely one. The new draft surprised many Japanese. But they quickly passed this American Constitution as an amendment to the Meiji Constitution and there have been no amendments since then.

So the finger of blame for Article 24 points fairly and squarely at the American Occupation of Japan, much as the finger of blame for many countries still banning "sodomy" or more broadly male homosexuality today posts fairly and squarely at the British Empire.

2. 2019-07-15 12:55  
Thanks for the history lesson, gunoilh2o. I cannot help but think there's something lost in translation. Would appreciate a Japanese speaker to give his/her take.
Comment edited on 2019-07-15 16:20:21
3. 2019-07-23 00:02  
Sadly the number of Asians actually living in Asia and with a first hand knowledge of their Asan countries who post on this "Gay Star News" site seem to have been reduced to all but zero quite some time ago. Unfortunately the usually uninformed and not infrequently crazy comments of a few westerners living well outside Asia have taken over this forum and rendered it irrelevant. Indeed, I wonder how many Japanese members this site actually now has. Most whose profiles I have read have not logged in for ages and their photos are years out of date.
4. 2019-08-12 04:26  
The scholarly book "Male Colors -The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan" is a must read for context about Japanese cultural history and its openness to homosexuality for centuries.Tokugawa Japan ranks with ancient Athens as a society that not only tolerated, but celebrated, male homosexual behavior. Few scholars have seriously studied the subject, and until now none have satisfactorily explained the origins of the tradition or elucidated how its conventions reflected class structure and gender roles. Gary P. Leupp fills the gap with a dynamic examination of the origins and nature of the tradition. Based on a wealth of literary and historical documentation, this study places Tokugawa homosexuality in a global context, exploring its implications for contemporary debates on the historical construction of sexual desire.

Combing through popular fiction, law codes, religious works, medical treatises, biographical material, and artistic treatments, Leupp traces the origins of pre-Tokugawa homosexual traditions among monks and samurai, then describes the emergence of homosexual practices among commoners in Tokugawa cities. He argues that it was "nurture" rather than "nature" that accounted for such conspicuous male/male sexuality and that bisexuality was more prevalent than homosexuality. Detailed, thorough, and very readable, this study is the first in English or Japanese to address so comprehensively one of the most complex and intriguing aspects of Japanese history.

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