“Edges of the Rainbow: LGBTQ Japan” by Michael Delsol and Haruku Shinozaki— Looking at Gay Japan

Delsol, Michel and Haruku Shinozaki. “Edges of the Rainbow: LGBTQ Japan”, The New Press, 2017.

Looking at Gay Japan

Amos Lassen

“Edges of the Rainbow: LGBTQ Japan” is an intimate photographic glimpse into the LGBT world of modern Japanese society. The community has had its share of challenges and even though some religious and warrior orders have a long and recognized tradition of same-sex love, it is still considered different and this makes coming out difficult. Even with the conservative strain within Japanese society that encourages the LGBTQ community to remain unseen, we see signs of change. There are some queer cultural figures who are opening up new horizons, and a growing percentage of Japanese people believe that homosexuality should be an integral and open part of society.

The New Press is publishing a series of beautiful (and affordable) photo books that look at LGBTQ communities around the world and this is the newest. It celebrates the queer community in Japan with more than 150 color and black-and-white photographs by photographer Michel Delsol and with text by journalist Haruku Shinozaki. They have brought together a fascinating group of individuals who give us unforgettable and uplifting look at a proud and resilient community on the margins of Japanese society.

What we really see here is the gorgeous humanity of Japan that transcends all geographical and cultural difference. We see what is universal in ourselves. We explore the personal and public lives of a gay Episcopalian priest, a young lesbian couple who’ve been accepted by their family, a famous civil rights activist and pop idol, an intersex author and so many others and as we do we get a unique look at the diversity of Japan.

We see that gender diversity is an ordinary part of this world. I an proud to see that members of Japan’s queer community are living their lives as who they really are. It is the pride they take in doing so that makes us proud to have them as part of our international community.