It's a question that a lot of people have asked, including myself. The answer varies from person to person, but Rachel & Jun, my latest Youtube obsession break it down for us in the video below.
From what their Japanese fans said, it would seem that historically, Japan has been rather accepting of homosexuality and that it wasn't until western cultures came in that homosexuality was viewed any differently. One commenter writes:
I'm gay, the first thing I want to say is that in Japan I have received almost no violence or verbal abuse. Most people tolerate, or at the very least, are polite to gay people. So, I think anyone can live happily in Japan. But, understanding of gay and transgender is still pretty low, and there's a fair amount of prejudice. For example, TV producers lump the various sexual minorities together into a category called 'One' (オネエ) to drive up views. So you don't see One people who wear clothes, talk, or express themselves emotionally in a way that's considered to be heterosexually male. So, if I come out as gay, people will assume that I'm female inside and they'll assume I'm interested in cross dressing or a sex change like those entertainers who speak like One. So, gay people don't come out because if they do, that storm of prejudice pours down on them. But, if you're just visiting, I believe there's absolutely no problem and Japan is a safe country.
This is a very interesting explanation and shows that even in a polite country like Japan, it is necessary for people to edugayted on the different parts that comprise the LGBTQ community.
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