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First Rainbow Marathon takes over streets of Tokyo

First Rainbow Marathon takes over streets of Tokyo

runners on a marathon starting line, they are wearing different colours of the rainbow. they are smiling and posing for photos

Hundreds of eager runners turned out to show their support for the LGBTI community by participating in the Tokyo Rainbow Marathon.

The inaugural marathon raised money for the Tokyo Pride House and aimed to send a message that sport is for everyone.

The almost 500 runners could choose to participate in either a 5km, 10km or half marathon run in Japan’s capital city.

For trans man Ukyo Soma the Tokyo Rainbow Marathon completed his first run on the day. He told Gay Star News he thought the marathon’brought Japan one step closer to understanding and recognizing diversity’.

‘(Japanese people) know about LGBTQ people, but they believe that they don’t exist in spaces close to them because they don’t see or hear them,’ he said.


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‘I think Tokyo Rainbow Marathon gave us an opportunity to show that we exist, to talk about our experiences, and to get to know each other in the community,’ he said.

Soma had been interested in running a marathon for a while but knew the minute he heard about the Tokyo Rainbow Marathon that it had to be his first.

‘The atmosphere was so friendly and kind. Some people there loved sports, and some people didn’t. Some people were LGBTQ, and some weren’t,’ he said.

‘Some people being came with friends or family, and some came alone. It was a small event, so there were many chances to meet people and make new friends. And we all got to enjoy running.’


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Event planner Ryoosuke Shindo, helped to organize the event and even ran in it.

He wrote that promoting equality through sport was not only a way to raise awareness about the LGBTI community but a chance for people who had once experience homophobia in sport to participate.

‘It was a valuable experience that I saw what the ‘power of sports’ means,’ he wrote.


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Pride House

Tokyo’s Pride House will follow in the tradition of other Pride Houses opened during major international sporting events. Pride House Tokyo will open during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. It will be a pop-up information center and event hub for LGBTI people.

The world’s first Pride House opened during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Pride House Tokyo also released a video on the day of the Rainbow Marathon promoting inclusion in sport. The video featured prominent Japanese athletes voicing their support for LGBTI people.

See also

Tokyo bars LGBTI discrimination ahead of 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo wants to stamp out LGBTI discrimination by 2020 Olympic Games

2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to host an LGBTI Pride House