Japan’s LGBT communities and their supporters hit the streets of Shibuya Sunday in a parade marking a celebratory end to Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017; a week of events, lectures, workshops and parties supporting and promoting diversity in Japan and throughout the world.
Parade participants set out from the main Tokyo Rainbow Pride site, the Yoyogi Park event stage, on a 3 km procession of flag waving and hi-fiving of onlookers, as they wished everyone present a “Happy pride!”.
At the head of the (staggered) column of 23 scheduled parade floats and groups was nationwide brass band collective みんなで、ブラス (minna de burasu) who set the pace and the jaunty tone for the rest of the column to follow. Participating organizations reflected the event’s message of diversity with everything from financial services and insurance providers through to club nights being represented.
Japan's expats were also in full voice at the parade, among them representatives of Korea's largest 'pride' event, Korean Queer Culture Festival, on the streets of Shibuya ‘marching’ in support of Korean LGBTs in Japan and beyond. Support from Europe came in the form of European Ambassadors 4 LGBT, lending their voice to Japan's LGBT community while highlighting the need for continued promotion of diversity in Europe.
As much as LGBT communities are the driving force behind events like Tokyo Rainbow Pride and similar events and parades the world over, their message is, and really always has been, one of diversity rather than any 'us against the world' confrontation. NPO 東京レインボープライド (Tokyo Raindow Pride), the organizers of Sunday’s parade, draw our attention to the abbreviation SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity) so that they might share with the world their vision of a society in which, regardless of SOGI, a person can take pride in who they are as well as having the freedom/ability to enjoy the life they choose to lead. Perhaps most would agree that Tokyo Rainbow Pride and their supporters still have a long road ahead of them in their efforts to diversify Japan but if Sunday’s 3 km parade and the warm and spirited nature of the people who joined it, is any indicator, the journey looks to be well underway and picking up speed.
For a gallery of images from the Tokyo Raindow Pride 2017 parade, head over to www.city-cost.com