The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is already prepping for this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP).
The organizers of the event, all of whom are volunteers, want to raise awareness of LGBT issues in Japan and hope to up the ante for the second annual TRP.
“There are two major developments that are new this year,” says organizer Lauren Anderson. “First, we are proud to be part of Tokyo Rainbow Week, the first week-long festival in Japan to celebrate LGBT culture. Second, we are being backed by various embassies from around the world: Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Those countries’ embassies will put on exhibitions sharing what the LGBT experience is like in their respective homelands. TRP also promises live performances, food tents, shopping and even body painting.
The main event of TRP, however, is the parade. It will start in Yoyogi Park at 12:30 p.m. and make its way through the Shibuya and Harajuku districts. Marchers need to sign up to participate, though, and registration starts at 9:30 a.m.
There will be plenty of floats by corporate sponsors and regular attendees participating in the parade. Last year’s parade had floats by Stonewall AJET and a group of Ayumi Hamasaki fans. This year there will be nine floats featuring idols and go-go dancers.
Organizers hold the parade during Golden Week in the hopes that more people will attend. They encourage everyone, regardless of age or sexuality, to take part. Feel free to dress brightly or in costume, as many attendees will do so.
“Everyone can relate to the idea of love as a human rights issue,” Anderson says. “Pride is about the freedom to love, but it’s also about the freedom to be yourself.”
Tokyo Rainbow Pride takes place at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on April 28. For more information, visit www.tokyorainbowpride.jp.