An American high school English teacher in Japan has made a YouTube video called Being Gay in Japan in which he interviews his friend about exactly that.
In the video, Mikine Dezaki asks an anonymous gay Japanese friend about life in Japan as a gay man.
The anonymous interviewee says there is a big community of gay men in Japan, but most marry straight women. The wives usually don’t know their husbands are gay.
He says that he has not come out at work because he’s afraid of being made fun of, and that he could be pushed out of his job. When he was at junior high school he felt like he was the only gay person and thought about suicide.
He moved to Sydney, where he came out to his boss and ‘he was fine’, but he depressingly says that he has given up on coming out in Japan.
He thinks Japan might change in the next 50 years but not anytime soon.
He ends the video with a message to Japanese gay youth and there is a link to a Japanese It Gets Better project.
Dezaki was inspired to make the video after his Japanese friend told him there weren’t any gay people in Japan.
’It really is shameful that the Japanese media hasn't done any stories about the gay community in Japan,’ said Dezaki. So he decided to make his own, inspired by the It Gets Better campaign.
‘I figured that if people don't even know that gay people exist in Japan, there must be a lot of gay people suffering silently, especially the youth,’ Dezaki said. ‘I really hope that this video gets those who are struggling with being gay in Japan, and lets them know that they are not alone.’
Dezaki said he’s be surprised about how positively the video has been received, especially by the vice principal at the school where he teaches.
‘I wasn't sure I was allowed to show the video,’ said Dezaki. ‘So when she asked to speak to me after class, I thought I was going to be fired. Instead she said “that was an amazing class! I didn't know you were teaching these kinds of things. You should teach this lesson to the rest of the teachers here”.’
Watch the video (in English with Japanese subtitles) here: