Based on recent ethnographic data, this panel will present the grounds for homophobia in contemporary Japan and some aspects of this phenomenon, especially through three presentation handling with homophobia in the field of education, in the daily life and also in manga culture.
Despite its apparent gay friendliness, Japanese society has witnessed few public debates or social movements in support of LGBT people. Whenever the subject of discrimination comes up, people like to claim that Japan has traditionally been tolerant toward sexual minorities. As far as homosexuality is concerned, people point to the romantic relationships between men and adolescent boys that were common among the samurai and Buddhist priests in medieval and early modern Japan. In contemporary Japan, prevalence of tolerance would be seen through Takarazuka long existence, some popular TV LGBT celebrities and boy's love manga success or also absence of religious proscription against homosexuality. However, this apparent tolerance is only one aspect of a more complicated reality. In Japan, for example, LGBT people are talked about in hushed tones, and are ignored in the country's legal and other systems. The effect is that in many cases, sexual minorities simply cease to exist and are not seen as a presence in schools, workplaces, and homes. There is still little understanding of the fact that this issue can involve all aspects of a person's being. In order to understand Japan society attitude toward LGBT people, this panel examines the evidence of homophobia in several fields. This panel will present the grounds for homophobia and some aspects of this phenomenon, especially through three presentation handling with homophobia in the field of education, in the daily life and also in manga culture. This panel, based on recent ethnographic data, aims to actualize analysis on contemporary Japan. It will also raise some questions about reflexive fieldwork, especially about feminist and LGBT status of the ethnographer when attending LGBT activism and frequenting queer spaces.