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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:07 am 
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Japanese Men Compare Toilet Chat Up Lines
8 May 2014

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Japanese men have a new pursuit - sharing tips on what to say to women when they come out of the toilet.

The lavatorial chat-up lines led to a recent online contest to find the "creepiest" post-bathroom comment a man can make to a member of the opposite sex after she has been to the loo.

Japanese web forum 2Channel hosted a thread that simply said: "The guy who can think up the creepiest thing to say to a woman coming out of the bathroom wins." That come-on did not take long to attract some of the most charming members of the Japanese internet community to show off their skills with the opposite sex.

These were some of the punishing lines that the men came up with:

"I heard every second of the melody your body created in there."

"I could feel your warmth from here."

"(while holding a plastic container) You haven’t flushed yet have you?"

"That was a lot longer than yesterday."

"Wow, 3 minutes and 48 seconds…a new record!"

"I see you had somen last night"

"How much would you like for it?"

"Is this yours? I just found it in the sewer pipes."

"OMG, it’s so cute!"

"You smell so much better than mother."

"I’m lucky to arrive right on time when the smell is the best."

The winner of the impromptu contest was the man who come up with the plastic container holder line, who got a designer toilet seat and a year's supply of loo paper.

Source: Austrian Times.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:21 pm 
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Palm Readers Get Secret Sex In Japan
6 June 2014

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An artist in Japan has created a "tribute" to discarded porno magazines that litter the streets of his home city with scale models of the dog-eared, stained and tatty publications.

The artwork was created by Twitter user and hobbyist luckydog505, who says he has painstakingly recreated 1/6 scale exact replicas of some porno mags he found "as a tribute to daily life in Japan."

In Japan, erotic magazines - ero-hon - are everywhere and are even easily found discarded on the streets. Sociologists say children get their first taste of pornography from such abandoned copies as they cannot help but stumble on the discarded volumes on their way home from school.

The artist says the whole goal of his little crafts project was to "recreate that feeling of gleefully dark excitement of discovering a (nearly) intact magazine, but in this case a secret private copy that can be hidden in the palm of the hand". His models are incredibly lifelike, complete with stains, torn pages, and the naked models within.

He wants to remain anonymous but told one magazine in the capital Tokyo: "It is all about paying tribute to a time and a place in every boys' life when he gets that thrill of picking up something forbidden, and the innocence of childhood dies forever. Porn is to be found everywhere on Japanese streets. Artists paint what they see: I created these models because I see this stuff all the time."

Source: Austrian Times.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:34 am 
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Vagina selfie for 3D printers lands Japanese artist in trouble
by Justin McCurry
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

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Megumi Igarashi and the vagina kayak she had made. Photograph: /Megumi Igarashi

Last month it took more than 20 firefighters to free a US student who had become trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina in Germany.

But genital art elicited a very different response in Japan this week, when police arrested an artist for distributing data that enables recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina. The artist, who works under the pseudonym Rokudenashiko – which roughly translates as “good-for-nothing girl” – was arrested after emailing the data to 30 people who had answered a crowd-funding request for her recent artistic venture: a kayak inspired on her own genitalia she calls “pussy boat”, according to Brian Ashcraft at the gaming website Kotaku.

The artist, whose real name is Megumi Igarashi, was held in custody in Tokyo on suspicion of breaking Japanese obscenity laws. Media reports said Igarashi, 42, denied the allegations. She pointed out that had not sent images of her vagina in return for money and did not recognise the scanned 3D data as obscene. Kyodo quoted unnamed police sources as saying Igarashi had collected about 1m yen in exchange for the data.

While Igarashi's art has a fun-loving and cheeky theme, her situation is serious as far as the law is concerned: if convicted she could receive up to two years in jail or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen (£14,300/US$24,500), according to her lawyer. Commentators have pointed out the hypocrisy of her arrest, which comes soon after Japanese authorities resisted pressure to ban pornographic images of children in manga comics and animated films.

The activist Minori Kitahara said police raided Igarashi's office and seized 20 of her artworks. "Japan is still a society where those who try to express women's sexuality are suppressed, while men's sexuality is overly tolerated," she said.

Igarashi has made a name for herself with her Decoman “Decorated Vagina” series of sculptures. The titles of the works incorporate the word “man”, from manko, the Japanese for vagina. Igarashi said she was once asked not to use the word Decoman during a TV appearance. Because female genitalia were “overly hidden” in Japanese society, “I did not know what a pussy should look like,” she said in an online post. “I thought it was just funny to decorate my [moulded] pussy and make it a diorama, but I was very surprised to see how people get upset to see my works or even to hear me say manko.”

One of the works, described as a “vaginal battle scene”, shows a group of toy soldiers taking cover in an unmistakeably pudic crevice; another diorama titled Fukushiman – a “taboo on top of taboo” – shows workers at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in similar surroundings. She has also designed iPhone covers and recently posted an image of Gundaman, a figurine based on the popular anime character Gundam, sporting an oversized vagina, according to the Japanese art and design website Spoon & Tamago.

Igarashi has said she is on a mission to “demystify” female genitalia in Japan, a country where thousands flock to an officially sanctioned annual penis festival in Kawasaki every April.

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:30 am 
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Why love hotels are thriving in Japan
by Beckie Smith
Thursday, 18 September 2014

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In the tightly-packed cities of Japan, privacy is hard to find, but not impossible.

Phil Cox and Hikaru Toda’s much-talked about documentary Love Hotel , delves into a world of locked doors and undisturbed anonymity, where £20 can buy you a couple of hours undisturbed.

Love hotels, or rabuho, are a booming business; some 30,000 of them attract 2.5 million people a day. Around ¥9000 - just over £50 - will buy you a night’s stay, or you can hire a room for what’s referred to, in true Japanese euphemism, as a two-hour ‘rest’ from anything between ¥3000 and ¥7000 (£17-£40).

Often gaudy and brash from the outside, many of the hotels have vaguely outrageous names: Hotel Gorilla Dream, Innocent Beaver and Hotel Banana & Doughnut were some of the most ridiculous, as voted in a survey by market research firm Goo Ranking last year. Their shuttered windows - far fewer than you would see on an ordinary building - makes them difficult to mistake for ordinary hotels.

Buying tickets from an automated machine or checking in through a lowered or one-way window that obscures the face of the receptionist behind, guests are guaranteed complete discretion.

While the rooms in many love hotels are fairly ordinary, others are quite the opposite. There are themed hotels - Las Vegas, perpetual Christmas, even Cinderella castles. Rooms cater to almost every imaginable taste or escapist fantasy with car-shaped beds, S&M cages or kitsch 80s paraphernalia. If you look hard enough you will find hotel rooms made up to look like they’re situated anywhere but a hotel: the classroom decked out with blackboard and desks, comes complete with schoolgirl costume; the subway carriage.

Love hotels: in pictures

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Sunreon love hotel in Tokyo

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Night time themed love hotel in Tokyo

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Love hotel on a boat, Tokyo

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A themed room at Shibuya Hill love hotel, central Tokyo

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Two-way love hotel, Tokyo

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A range of sex toys and costumes for customers at a love hotel

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Selection panel of the hotel rooms customers can choose at a love hotel called 'The Rock Kowloon Walled City' in Iruma

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Neocosmo love hotel off Dogenzaka in Shibuya

It's interesting to note that, despite the pervasive attitude that, as Toda has said, “what’s private should be kept private”, they're hardly hidden away.

There can be no doubt that the rooms are designed with one purpose in mind - and that very little ‘rest’ happens during those daytime slots. But clustered among the nightclubs and bars of fashionable entertainment districts or spread among the suburbs, love hotels are the meeting places of all kind of couples. There are the flings and the one night stands, of course; the ongoing affairs; the paid-for company; married couples trying to escape their families for a few hours and even young couples.

Demographics come in daily rotations, with the daytime taken up mostly by clandestine lovers, with more young people arriving in the evening, and the last contingent of drunken partygoers stumbling in late, looking for a place to spend the night among the bars of nightlife districts. After all, cheating isn’t the only reason to want seclusion - though that undoubtedly accounts for a large proportion of business. In a stumbling economy with high rates of youth unemployment, a lot of young couples live with their parents until they’re married, so it’s hardly surprising some will look outside the close quarters and thin walls for some privacy.

They’re well suited to young people thanks to their relative cheapness, and travel guides will even recommend them to travellers on a budget as the rooms are usually cheaper and bigger than in business hotels. They also quite often have better amenities than a regular standard room, coming complete with a TV and often include games consoles, bigger showers and baths and, of course, bigger beds.

Perhaps that’s why business is thriving while other industries take a downturn. More likely, though, is a simpler explanation: people will always want to have sex, and in the cramped cities of one of the world's most densely-populated countries, they will always need somewhere to do it.

Source: Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:59 pm 
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Staff of Japan’s new trade minister spent money at SM club
23 October 2014
By Takehiko Kambayashi

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Japan's Trade Minister Yoichi Miyazawa - © Franck Robichon, EPA

Tokyo (dpa) - Staff of a fund management group headed by Japan's new trade minister spent money in a sadomasochistic strip bar and claimed it on expenses, the minister conceded Thursday.

The employees worked for a private group set up by Yoichi Miyazawa to manage funds supporting his political activities, and submitted the claims after visiting the bar in his constituency of Hiroshima in 2010. Miyazawa, who was responding to a report of the incident by the Kyodo News agency, took office this week after his predecessor Yuko Obuchi abruptly resigned in a funding scandal.

The nephew of former premier Kiichi Miyazawa stressed he did not visit the bar himself, and that he would correct the expenses record as a member of staff had "erroneously booked the money," which should never have been claimed as expenses, Kyodo reported.

The group's political report, a transparency requirement for such support funds, showed an expenditure of 18,230 yen (170 dollars) at the bar on September 6, 2010 under "entertainment." The bar stages performances in which an underwear-clad woman is tied up with ropes, Kyodo reported.

Source: dpa.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Vagina kayak artist arrested in Japan
December 3, 2014

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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi paddles on a kayak in the shape of her own vagina at a launch ceremony in Tokyo on October 19, 2013

An artist who made a kayak modelled on her own vagina was arrested in Japan on Wednesday, police said, in a case that has sparked accusations of censorship.

Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko -- offensive slang which loosely translates as "reprobate child" -- was arrested in July for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her genitals. She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

But on Wednesday, Igarashi was re-arrested on suspicion of sending a link "that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people," a Tokyo police spokeswoman told AFP. She "tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data" in October last year, the spokeswoman said. Igarashi also allegedly sold CD-Roms containing similar data during a May exhibition in Tokyo.

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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi holds up "Manko-chan", a small mascot shaped like a vagina

"I don't believe my vagina is anything obscene," Igarashi said in a July press conference after her release, adding: "I was determined I would never yield to police power." Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe, 44, was also arrested for "displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi" from around October last year until July, police said.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes. However, its obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos. If convicted of distributing, or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail and/or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen ($21,000).

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:23 pm 
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Why hasn't Japan banned child-porn comics?
7 January 2015
By James Fletcher

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Japan's comics and cartoons - known as manga and anime - are a huge cultural industry and famous around the world.

But some are shocking, featuring children in sexually explicit scenarios. Why has Japan decided against banning this material?

It's a Sunday afternoon in Tokyo and Sunshine Creation is in full swing. Thousands of manga fans, mostly men, crowd into an exhibition centre, poring over manga comic magazines laid out for sale on trestle tables snaking around the rooms. Posters of elfin-faced, doe-eyed cartoon heroines, many of them scantily clad and impossibly proportioned, turn the cavernous space into a riot of colour. "This area is mainly dealing with sexual creations," explains Hide, one of the event organisers.

We stop at one table where the covers on display feature two topless girls. To my eyes they look to be in their early or pre-teens, and the stories show them engaged in explicit sexual acts. Several other stands are selling similar material. It would certainly be considered controversial, and possibly illegal, in the UK, Australia or Canada, but here it's no big deal.

The Sunshine Creation show

"Everyone knows that child abuse is not a good thing," Hide says. "But having that kind of emotion is free, enjoying imagining some sexual situation with a child is not prohibited." His candour takes me by surprise. He then introduces me to the word "Lolicon", short for "Lolita complex" - the name for manga featuring young girls engaged in sexually explicit scenarios. It can involve incest, rape and other taboos, though Hide's tastes lie more with high-school romance. "I like young-girl sexual creations, Lolicon is just one hobby of my many hobbies," he says. I ask what his wife, standing nearby, thinks of his "hobby". "She probably thinks no problem," he replies. "Because she loves young boys sexually interacting with each other."

Material like this is a tiny part of Japan's huge manga industry, which generates around US $3.6bn in sales annually. But it attracts a lot of attention and controversy. In June 2014, Japan's parliament voted to ban the possession of real images of child sexual abuse. Production and distribution of these images had been illegal since 1999, but Japan was the last country in the OECD to outlaw possession.

At the time there were calls to also outlaw "virtual" sexual images - in manga, anime and games - of characters who appear to be under 18. But after much debate, Japan's parliament decided against this. The decision drew condemnation from child protection campaigners and NGOs, particularly outside Japan.

One clue to understanding it is in the fact that Hide was happily discussing his "hobby" with me only minutes after we first met. Although manga involving very young children does appear to have some social stigma attached to it, sexual material involving adolescents is a fairly mainstream interest. Japan's legislators were apparently reluctant to put large numbers of manga fans - potentially millions - on the wrong side of the law. Fans like Hide argue they are just enjoying harmless fantasy. No child models or actors are involved, he says, so "there is no child abuse for creating sexual topic mangas".

But is the boundary between fantasy and reality always clear?

Tokyo's Akihabara district is the spiritual home of the manga world, a place where neon signs and loud pop music overwhelm the eyes and ears. Multi-storey bookshops line the streets, selling manga on every topic under the sun.

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Figurines of schoolgirls

In their adult sections, restricted to people over 18, it's not hard to find manga with titles like Junior Rape or Japanese Pre-teen Suite. "People get sexually excited by something, then become used to it," says Tomo, who works behind the counter in one of the adult stores. "So they are always looking for something new, and get sexually excited by young, immature women."

This is what worries critics - the concern that even if no-one is harmed in the creation of sexually explicit manga, it might normalise, facilitate, or lead to an increased risk of sexual abuse. No-one knows whether this is the case - research has been inconclusive. But many in Japan, particularly women, have a wider concern too. They see these images as part of a society that turns a blind eye to extreme pornography - often degrading to women - and the sexualisation of young people.

You don't have to look far in Japan to find a fascination with youth. Pop groups of young girls perform for crowds of adult men. And from billboards and advertisements to manga, schoolgirl imagery is everywhere.

LiLy, a popular writer of books for young women - Sex in the City, Tokyo-style, she says - told me about her school days when men would approach her and her friends and offer money for their socks or panties.

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"I think that is disgusting, it's very kinky," she says. The fascination with adolescent sexuality is "all about the power that men want to achieve, men who are tired of strong independent women," she argues. The family model of LiLy's parents' era still holds strong sway in Japan - a father who earns the money and a mother who stays at home as a housewife. But the weakness of Japan's economy has made this difficult for men to realise. "There are people business-wise who are not successful, maybe they are running into fantasy with Lolicon manga. I hate it, I seriously hate it. I want Japan to kick out the kinky, just leave children out of that kinkiness, even your fantasy."

But others are sceptical about how far the government should step in to prescribe and enforce a particular vision of what's "good" or "proper", especially regarding people's fantasies.

"There's every reason to be critical, that's fine," says manga translator and free-speech advocate Dan Kanemitsu. "But when you give people the authority to police others based on what they might do or what they think, that's thought-policing."

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Dan Kanemitsu

So would he stand up for the right of creators to draw manga featuring young children and taboos like rape and incest?

"I'm not comfortable with it, but it is not my right to tell people how they think or what they want to share," he says. "As long as it doesn't infringe upon people's human rights, what's wrong with having a fantasy life?"

    Japan and images of child sexual abuse

  • Japan outlawed the production and distribution of images of sexual abuse of children in 1999 - 21 years after the UK
  • In 2013, the US State Department described Japan as an "international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography"
  • Japan's police agency reported 1,644 offences in 2013 - more than in any year since the 1999 law came into force
  • In June 2014, Japan banned possession of real images of child sexual abuse - people were given one year to comply

Among the manga shops of Akihabara, child protection campaigner Kazuna Kanajiri takes me to see something she thinks is a much bigger problem than cartoons and comics. We climb a flight of stairs off the main street and emerge into a room packed full of DVDs. Kazuna picks one off the shelf - it features real images of a girl she says is five years old, wearing a skimpy swimsuit and posing in sexually suggestive positions that mimic adult pornography. All the other DVDs in the shop also feature real children. "I feel sorry for the children," Kanajiri tells me.

These so-called "Junior Idol" DVDs became popular after the production of child pornography was outlawed in 1999. They dodged the law as long as the children's genitals were covered, but Kanajiri argues they're now illegal after the law was strengthened last June. "People who exploit should be punished properly," she says. "It's completely illegal under the law, but the police haven't cracked down."

While some of the content in manga and anime featuring minors in sexual situations might be shocking and attention-grabbing, Kanajiri and other campaigners I spoke to told me that for now, they are focused on more important battles to protect real children. But she tells me she hasn't given up hope of a ban on contentious manga and anime. "I want to make it disappear," she says. "By 2020, when the Summer Olympics will take place in Japan, we have to turn Japan into a country which people don't call a perverted culture."

It's a description which supporters of manga strongly reject. But as the Olympics approach, outside eyes will turn to Japan, exerting a powerful pressure for manga and anime to be part of what people see as "cool Japan" rather than "weird Japan".

Source: BBC.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:35 pm 
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Tokyo ward plans to recognize gay couples
12 February 2015
By Darren Wee

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Shibuya ward, Tokyo. Photo via Wikipedia

Tokyo’s Shibuya ward has made plans to issue certificates recognizing gay unions as 'relationships equivalent to marriage.'

The plan was outlined in a draft statute in the ward's 2015 budget, which is expected to be unveiled today (12 February) and presented to the municipal assembly in early March.

If the Shibuya assembly approves the statute, the ward will become the first local government in Japan to recognize gay couples. The plan could come into effect as early as 1 April, the start of the fiscal year, and the ward office said it would begin issuing certificates in that year. However, the plan is expected to draw opposition from conservative assembly members, who are likely to perceive it as a threat to traditional family values.

The constitution defines marriage as 'based only on the mutual consent of both sexes,' but a ward official told Kyodo news agency that the certificate plan would be 'a completely separate system' from marriage. Although not legally binding, the certificates would raise awareness of LGBTI rights and could have a knock-on effect in other local and central government decisions.

Gay couples often face discrimination when renting apartments together or visiting their partners in hospital because they are not seen as relatives. Under the new plan, gay residents aged 20 or older will be able to complete a contract designating each other as guardians.

Yasuhiko Watanabe, professor at Kyoto Sangyo University graduate school, said the recognition of gay couples by local government could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage. 'In Germany and Switzerland, local governments first worked out partnership systems, and these were crystallized into a national system. We could see similar moves in Japan,' he said.

Source: GayStarNews.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Yokohama city set to follow suit in recognizing same-sex couples
February 19, 2015

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Fumiko Hayashi

YOKOHAMA -- The mayor of Yokohama, Japan's second-largest city, welcomed the announcement of a draft ordinance in a Tokyo ward to recognize same-sex relationships, saying it galvanized her administration to consider a similar measure.

Fumiko Hayashi called the initiative by Shibuya Ward to issue certificates recognizing same-sex relationships as equivalent to marriages a “very good move.” “I instructed officials (in charge of sexual minority issues) to make clear the challenges (facing the same-sex couples) to figure out what form of support is desirable for the couples,” Hayashi told reporters Feb. 18.

Although the Shibuya Ward noted that the proposed certification system is not designed to legalize gay marriages, the ward’s mayor, Toshitake Kuwahara, said he hopes it will set a precedent that leads to greater rights for sexual minorities at the national level. If the draft is approved in the ward assembly session that opens in March, officials plan to start issuing the certificates by the end of fiscal 2015, which will mark the first system of its kind in Japan.

Hayashi called for building wider acceptance of gay couples in Japanese society. “There are many same-sex couples with a strong bond between them,” said Hayashi. “For the sake of revving up Japan’s economy, it is important for us to accept the couples in our society.”

The Yokohama city’s basic guideline with regard to human rights policy says “it is necessary to understand same-sex relationships properly and eliminate discrimination against them.” Hayashi said the city will consider specific support measures for gay couples after clarifying problems that individuals in such relationships face.

Source: Asahi Shimbun.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:18 pm 
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Tokyo ward 1st in Japan to recognize same sex marriage
By YURI KAGEYAMA
31 March 2015

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Fumino Sugiyama, left, holds a banner that reads: "Congratulations: the same sex partnership ordinance" with Koyuki Higashi, right, and Hiroko Masuhara in front of Shibuya ward office in Tokyo Tuesday, March 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama)

TOKYO (AP) -- Fumino Sugiyama will finally be able to marry his girlfriend of four years. He couldn't before, because same sex marriages weren't recognized in Japan, and he is legally a woman.

With a landmark vote Tuesday by the assembly of Tokyo's Shibuya ward, the district famous as a mecca for trendy youngsters became the first locale in Japan to recognize same sex partnerships as the "equivalent of a marriage," guaranteeing the identical rights of married couples, including hospital visitations and apartment rentals.

Sugiyama, who runs a couple of restaurants, said he welcomed the move as a key step in starting a long-needed debate about LGBT issues in Japan - a culture that values harmony so much that being different can get downright traumatic. "We are not out to change the world," said Sugiyama, 33, who knew of his male identity since he was in kindergarten and had cried as a child because he didn't want to wear a skirt. "We simply want the right to be with the person we love."

The new ordinance applies only to Shibuya, and it's technically not legally binding, though violators will have their names posted on the ward's website. Shibuya - an area with a population of 217,000, including 9,000 foreigners - is also planning an aggressive educational campaign on LGBT issues.

Japanese conservatives, including the powerful politicians of the ruling party, have been unwilling to back the initiative, and protest rallies have popped up in Shibuya. "A great social ramification will be expected from such a decision," Mari Sato, a ruling party ward legislator opposed to the move, told the assembly ahead of Tuesday's vote. "We need much more time to discuss this issue."

The vote passed, with the majority of the 34 ward's legislators standing up to show their approval.

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Gay couple Hiroko Masuhara (left) and Koyuki Higashi smile as the Shibuya Ward Assembly in Tokyo voted Tuesday to approve issuing 'partnership' certificates to same-sex couples. AFP-JIJI

Many Japanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people keep their sexual orientation secret for fear of a social backlash, so the number of people who will take advantage of the change is unclear. But Shibuya is expecting an influx of gay and lesbian people. The first certificates are expected to be issued in July.

Shibuya ward Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara says accepting diversity matches the friendly, vivacious character of the area - a bustling place known for boutiques, live music and a Silicon Valley-like cluster of startups. He says young "sexual minorities" live in fear, worrying about their future and grappling with self-doubt. "This is the reality," Kuwahara told reporters recently. "The purpose is to realize a society where everyone can live in hope."

Koyuki Higashi and Hiroko Masuhara, a rare visible and vocal lesbian couple in Japan, emerged from the Shibuya ward office Tuesday, holding up a rainbow banner that said, "Thank you, Shibuya," in English. The couple said they moved to Shibuya four months ago, just to apply for a same sex marriage certificate. They have been together for three years, and held a symbolic wedding at Tokyo DisneySea two years ago. "To marry the same sex is no different from marrying the opposite sex," said Higashi, 30, adding that she clutched Masuhara's hand in joy the moment the ordinance passed.

Sugiyama, who was also in Shibuya to celebrate, acknowledged that the ordinance was just a beginning. He said he struggled growing up as a transgender in Japan, and hated going to an all-girls school. He never thought of himself as female, even when he was on the Japanese national women's fencing team.

It was when he was volunteering, sweeping the streets, that he was befriended by a Shibuya ward legislator. Pretty soon, LGBT people were flocking to the volunteer project from all over Japan. That gradually started raising awareness, recalled Sugiyama, who co-heads an LGBT advocacy group called Tokyo Rainbow Pride.

Sugiyama has had sex reassignment surgery, but under Japanese law he is categorized as a female. This means he would not be able to marry a woman under national law, which does not recognize same sex marriages. Now he can - in Shibuya.

Still, Sugiyama, who said he plans to have children, turned tearful, reflecting back on the years of pain, especially those he knew who had killed themselves, unable to bear the suffering. He was merely asking society to accept the LGBT lifestyle as an option, he said. "We are not trying to take away the right of heterosexual couples," he said. "It is society that must change, not us."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:29 am 
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'Silver porn' shows fifty shades of greying Japan
April 2, 2015

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Yasue Tomita

Tokyo (AFP) - Dressed in a kimono and kneeling silently on a tatami mat floor, 61-year-old Yasue Tomita looks as if she might be about to perform a Japanese tea ceremony -- instead she's debuting as a porn actress.

Fluttering her eyelashes demurely as the cameras prepare to roll, Tomita is proof that in Japan's greying society you're never too old to chase your dreams, however racy or unorthodox. She has also become part of a flourishing niche market in Japan: "silver porn" -- stretching the limits of eroticism among the elderly and overturning social norms in a country where people are expected to grow old gracefully.

Love, too, is not confined to the young, say Japan's growing army of pensioners exploring their desires in more conventional ways, with dating agencies for the elderly reporting increasingly brisk business. Tomita confessed to being "a bit rusty" but made no apologies for her rambunctious lust for life, or her decision to put aside her knitting and crochet and launch into a career making X-rated movies. "I like my handicrafts but I wanted to try my hand at this, while my body still works," she told AFP before filming began. "I do like sex, and this is my last chance before I get too old. I'm very nervous. I wonder if I should really do it, especially in front of so many people, but everyone should follow their dream.

"I just hope I can keep up," added Tomita, who used to work in a factory manufacturing car parts and registered for an agency in Japan's booming "adult video" (AV) industry with her daughter. "We applied through the Internet together. I got offered a job first, which surprised her a bit."

Forbidden pleasures

In ageing Japan, around 32 million people -- a quarter of the population -- are 65 or over. Thanks to a low birthrate and growing longevity, that proportion is expected to rise to 40 percent by 2060.

With statistics like that, it's no surprise that geronto-porn is big business. Adult movies rake in about $20 billion a year, and those featuring unashamedly wrinkly men and women account for between 20 and 30 percent of that market, industry insiders say. Sales have rocketed over the past decade as more of Japan's perky seniors celebrate their mojo. Though not for the faint-hearted, the genre took off thanks largely to now-80-year-old Shigeo Tokuda, the twinkle-toed king of granddad porn, who has peeled off for hundreds of hardcore flicks with titles such as "Forbidden Elderly Care" and "Manic Training of Lolitas."

Pornography became widely available in Japan in the 1900s, with seventeenth century Edo-era woodblock erotic prints being many people's first introduction to the genre. Attitudes towards sex are less prudish than in other parts of the world and fun-loving fertility festivals, where giant wooden phalluses are joyfully carried around towns, take place annually in parts of Japan.

"Everyone has different sexual tastes or fetishes," said director Fumiaki Kimura. "Elderly porn has become very popular over the past 10 years or so. Older couples watch together because they can feel a connection, a sense of closeness or familiarity, being the same age. "It's like a forbidden pleasure," he added. "Young people watch it because they're fed up with the regular stuff -- whatever turns you on. You do hear about actors taking Viagra, but that can be dangerous for the older guys." Tokuda, who beds actresses young enough to be his granddaughter, also co-starred with Fujiko Ito, just two years his junior, the pair frolicking in hot springs or on tatamis with Ito in a kimono.

Natsuko Kayama, 44, a porn star with 25 years' experience in the industry, told AFP she wanted to outlast the oldest swingers in town. "I'd love to be the oldest AV actress," she laughed. "I want to break the record if I can -- if I last that long."

Love, actually

Far away from the steamy film sets, others entering the autumn of their lives are simply interested in finding companionship, perhaps after losing or leaving their first long-term partner.

But with habits set, it isn't always easy to meet someone, and many turn to one of hundreds of matchmaking services catering to older clientele, such as the Ai-Senior company, which boasts a total of 6,000 registered members, some in their 90's. Later life dating hit the headlines last year with the grisly case of the "Black Widow" -- 68-year-old Chisako Kakehi, who was arrested in November accused of murdering her septuagenarian fourth husband with cyanide. Placing adverts for an "unattached elderly man with assets", she was said to have amassed millions of dollars in insurance and other payouts over 10 years as a result of the deaths of a string of spouses and lovers.

Most elderly daters, happily, have far more felicitous stories to tell. Yosuke Komori, 66, and his 57-year-old wife Mutsuko met through another dating agency. Both previously married, they wed four years ago and still hold hands like smitten teenagers. "I think a healthy sex life is an added bonus of marriage," said Mutsuko, who got married in a daringly short dress, to the horror of her daughters. "I think perhaps my husband is sufficiently confident in that department. But the most important thing in a relationship is mutual understanding." For bashful Yosuke, it was never only about the physical side of things. "I feel most contented when she is happy," he said sheepishly. "I don't want to sound soppy, but I just want to make her smile. What's important is love, actually."

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 6:18 pm 
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Japan lesbian couple 'wed' amid calls for same-sex marriage
April 18, 2015

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Japanese actress Akane Sugimori (R) and her partner Ayaka Ichinose, both dressed in white, pose together at a press conference after their marriage ceremony in Tokyo on April 19, 2015 (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Tokyo (AFP) - A lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday, as calls grow for Japan to legalise same-sex marriage.

While their marriage will not be recognised under law, actresses Ayaka Ichinose, 34, and Akane Sugimori, 28 -- both dressed in white -- tied the knot in front of some 80 relatives and friends. "We held the wedding ceremony so that it might become easier for others to do the same in the future," Sugimori told press afterwards. She added that the couple will try to register their marriage with the municipal office, but expect their application to be rejected.

Last month, a Tokyo council voted to issue "partnership" certificates to gay couples, the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan. Other municipalities are now considering doing the same. The certificate will carry only symbolic significance, since the Japanese constitution identifies marriage as a union based on mutual consent of the parties from "both sexes".

While Japan is largely tolerant of homosexuality, there is no specific legal protection for gay people, who complain that they may be prevented from visiting sick loved ones in hospitals or may be refused a tenancy because their relationship is not recognised.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:40 pm 
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Tokyo's largest district OKs same-sex partner certificates
3 August 2015

Tokyo (AFP) - Tokyo's largest district has said it will start issuing "partnership" certificates to same-sex couples from November, becoming the second in Japan to recognise such unions following a pioneering move by the capital's bustling Shibuya ward.

While the certificates would not be legally binding, the Setagaya district council said it hoped they would encourage hospitals and landlords to ensure same-sex couples receive similar treatment to married people. Applicants must sign a written oath stating their intentions as part of the application process.

The decision last week comes after next-door Shibuya district -- a business and shopping hub that is home to international firms and embassies -- passed an ordinance in March to start issuing the partnership certificates. It was the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan. Shibuya's certificates are expected to be issued from October.

Setagaya ward is the largest of Tokyo's 23 districts with a population of about 874,000 people, including a little over 6,000 foreigners. The wards' certificates will carry only symbolic significance, since the Japanese constitution identifies marriage as a union based on mutual consent of the parties from "both sexes".

While Japan is largely tolerant of homosexuality, there is no specific legal protection for gay people, who complain that they may be prevented from visiting sick loved ones in hospitals or may be refused a tenancy because their relationship is not recognised.

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Japan sees record number of child pornography victims
10 September 2015

Tokyo (dpa) - The number of victims of child pornography in Japan rose to a record-high 383 in the first half of 2015, police said Thursday.

The number was 18 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, and the highest since the police starting compiling such data in 2000. The police took action against 659 individuals, up 13 per cent from the year before, over the production and distribution of child pornography, the National Police Agency said.

Many of the affected children were victims of spy cameras, often placed in toilets in schools, trains and other public places, it said. Most victims were aged 12 to 18, but 60 individuals were younger, of whom 31 were sexually assaulted, according to the police statement. About 90 per cent of the children were female.

About 40 per cent of the victims were tricked into sending revealing "selfies" to producers of pornography, the agency said. Last year Japan introduced a revised law to ban child pornography, after international criticism for previously being the only major industrialized country without such legislation.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:20 am 
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Tokyo district certifies same-sex couples
5 November 2015

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Tokyo district certifies same-sex couples - © Christopher Jue, EPA

Tokyo (dpa) - Tokyo's Shibuya district started Thursday to issue same-sex couples with certificates that recognize their partnerships as being equivalent to marriage, but without being legally binding.

Shibuya became the first municipality in Japan to do so when it gave a certificate to two women - Hiroko Masuhara and Koyuki Higashi. "We are delighted to be recognized as a family in the town where we live," Masuhara told reporters.

Same-sex couples aged 20 or older living in the district are allowed to apply for the certificate. The new documents will not be legally binding as Japan's constitution effectively limits the definition of marriage to an agreement between a man and a woman, stating "marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes."

Same-sex couples in Japan often face discrimination when living together or visiting partners at hospitals on the grounds that they are not regarded as formally married.

Source: dpa.

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