How are queer people in Japan growing and thriving? How are they still struggling? How is the fight for LGBTQ rights going within the country? One documentary is about to help Western film viewers find out.
A new documentary by director Graham Kolbeins titled Queer Japan tells the real stories of LGBTQ people living in Japan. This includes life in gay centers like Tokyo’s Ni-chome district, the careers of high-profile queer figures, and LGBTQ life in more secluded spots of the country.
Kolbeins depicted Japan’s queer life by interviewing people like famous manga artist Gengoroh Tagame who’s known mostly for his erotic art, HIV advocate Hiroshi Hasegawa, transgender artist Tomato Hatakeno, drag queen Vivienne Sato, and more. Kolbeins spent five years conducting over 100 interviews for this documentary.
“There is no singular ‘queer Japan,’ because queer people are not a monolith,” Kolbeins said in a statement for the movie. “This film merely offers a patchwork of personal experiences told by a few dozen artists, activists, community leaders, and everyday people living in Japan today.
“It is my deepest hope that our approach does justice to the subjects and communities we’re depicting. It’s a great honor to share the stories of the brave individuals who opened their lives to this film, and it’s my intention with Queer Japan to amplify their voices to audiences around the world.”
But where and when can you watch Queer Japan? The movie will be out on VOD on December 11 through Prime Video, Apple TV, and Google Play. Until then, you can watch the trailer below.