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Tokyo elects first openly gay politician in the history of modern Japan

Tokyo elects first openly gay politician in the history of modern Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Miyagawa Choshun (1682-1753) and erotic art in the Edo period

It is hoped that Taiga Ishikawa will soon become known for being a politician rather than the first openly gay individual to enter political office in Japan in the modern period.   After all, when this happens, then the people of Japan and throughout the world will know that sexual discrimination is being tackled openly and this applies to discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

This issue is important because Japan is a democratic nation but like many nations open discrimination against people from different sexual backgrounds is the norm. 

Therefore, Taiga Ishikawa is breaking ground in a mainly conservative nation and just like other politicians in other nations who are openly gay; then it shows you that steps are being taken in the right direction in Japan.

The electorate should not care in an ideal world about the sexual orientation of the individual because the only important factor should be the political factor.  This applies to the individual being highly motivated and representing his or her constituency.

Harvey Milk in America also broke fresh ground when he became elected to public office because he also was the first individual to be elected who was openly gay.  Unlike Taiga Ishikawa, Harvey Milk was based in a political hotbed of gay activism because the gay rights movement in San Francisco was very political.

Taiga Ishikawa, on the other hand, was elected on a much more quiet ticket and thankfully the electorate chose him because they deemed him to be the most suitable candidate. 

Ironically, while LGBT issues may appear to be about a new awakening and moving towards sexual equality and being more pro-active.  In an historical context, then Japan before the Edo period and during the Edo period was very open about sexuality.  Therefore, several important figures in Japanese history had bisexual tendencies or preferred men and in art and culture you can find depictions of homosexual sex and so forth.

The Meiji period (1868) was much more conservative and sexual orientation became more important within the structures of society.  Therefore, it could be argued that Taiga Ishikawa is re-connecting Japan to its past tolerance of sexuality.

Taiga Ishikawa stated, after being elected, that “I hope my election victory will help our fellows nationwide to have hope for tomorrow, as many of them cannot accept themselves, feel lonely and isolated and even commit suicide.”

Taiga Ishikawa continued by stating that “Many LGBT’s, or sexual minorities, realize the fact when they are at elementary and junior high schools, many of which are operated by the municipality…….As a ward assembly member, I would like to reinforce support to LGBT children at schools.”

It is obvious that Taiga Ishikawa wants to raise serious issues related to LGBT rights and this is clearly understandable.  However, it is hoped in time that he will become known for being a politician who represents the electorate in the Toshima ward of Tokyo.

Taiga Ishikawa is 36 years old and he is the author of Boku No Kareshi Wa Doki Ni Iru (Where Is My Boyfriend?). His youthfulness is also welcomed because the younger generation needs to get involved in politics because the stranglehold of politics by association is hindering Japan.

He also expressed that he will do his best to make Toshima ward friendly towards the younger generation and foreign residents.  This is welcomed because you have a lot of political apathy in Japan, and in other nations, whereby the younger generation either feels alienated or they have lost trust in politics.

The foreign angle is also welcomed because Japan, like all nations, will have elements of discrimination and the ethnic map of Tokyo is changing in many areas despite Tokyo being overwhelmingly Japanese. (please visit)

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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Japan


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