There is a non-trivial amount of gay rights opposition in Japan. For example, slightly over half oppose gay marriage.

Given that Japanese people are predominantly not from Abrahamic religions (2.3% Christian) nor are Hindu, why is there so much opposition to gay rights?

  • 7
    -1. Your only example of opposing "gay rights" is opposing gay marriage. As others noted, there's a marked difference between the two in reality (as opposed to in the minds of people whose main goal is to promote progressive politics, who use the thing more as a political lever than anything else as evidenced by marked disinterest in actual gay rights in non-First-World countries). I'll reverse the vote if you add examples of actual "gay rights" opposition outside gay marriage.
    – user4012
    Mar 26, 2015 at 13:20
  • 15
    These comments are ridiculous. "Rights" is a blanket term for civil and social rights, which definitely includes marriage. Opposing gay marriage is by definition opposing at least some gay rights.
    – Geobits
    Mar 26, 2015 at 19:01
  • @AndrewGrimm to appease the semantic nit-pickers in here, I'd suggest rewording the question to be "Why is granting equal rights to LGBT groups opposed by a significant portion of Japanese?" (Or if you want to make it even harder for some in here to nit-pick, just make the question about gay marriage).
    – user1530
    Mar 27, 2015 at 3:08
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – user1530
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:00
  • 1
    There are secular oppositions. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1051/… tech.mit.edu/V124/N5/kolasinski.5c.html
    – BCLC
    Jul 8, 2015 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


You argue that there is little religious ground to reject homosexuality in Japan and indeed there isn't. However, religion is not the only reason to dismiss gay equality. Cultural effects can also influence the stance of a society towards this issue.

Traditionally, homosexuality was known and tolerated in Japan. However, during the Meiji era the Japanese society developed an animosity towards homosexual practices. Among others, sexology, a pseudo-science, was used as a reasoning against it.

Today, in modern Japan, homosexuality is legal, but same-sex unions are not recognized unless the marriage was in a country where same-sex marriage is legal, nor can a same-sex couple adopt legally. Japanese gay men and lesbian women often conceal their sexuality. This is actually very similar to the situation of many other western countries now or, in those cases where it changed only recently, a few years ago.

All in all I would say that LGBT rights in Japan are not yet progressed as far as in some other countries not because of religious reasons but because of cultural factors. If the development in other countries is any indicator, then a higher awareness of these issues, for example by public outings of prominent members of society, will facilitate the introduction of more LGBT rights.

Sources: Homosexuality in Japan, LGBT rights in Japan

  • It's worth noting that the government is currently looking at a constitutional change to allow same-sex marriage. Some local governments also allow a same-sex partnership that has most of the same benefits as marriage, such as inheritance rights.
    – user
    Jun 6, 2018 at 10:42

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