The Ni-chome of today does not look like the Ni-chome of 10 years ago.

Tokyo’s queer scene has, for most of its history, been almost exclusively confined to an area of Shinjuku Ward known as Ni-chome (basically, neighborhood division No. 2). This “gay village” was a safe space that queer folk here created to have a bit of nighttime fun, even if it often excluded those who fell outside of specific definitions of “gay” and “lesbian.”

Change came in 2019, however, after Elin McCready, a transgender woman, was denied entry to a “women only” club event being held in Ni-chome, despite her passport indicating her gender was female. The club’s owner eventually apologized, but the episode caused a lot of discussion and resulted in new club events taking place that put inclusion at the center of their philosophies.