1. International love & the news
Gay Japan News (GJN) is a bilingual site offering LGBT news from around the world in both Japanese and English. Two and a half years ago Hiroshi Mochizuki and his American partner started the website and since then, they've added about 35 additional contributors located both in and outside of Japan. Currently four key persons are running the site, and it has become established as a primary LGBT news site in Japan.
We interviewed GJN's Hiroshi Mochizuki and site manager and editor Azusa Yamashita. They discussed GJN goals and areas of interest, while also sharing their perspectives on LGBT life in Japan.
When asked how GJN came to be Mochizuki says, "I was always looking over my partner's shoulder while he was checking out English LGBT news sites. Overseas it's completely normal to have sites devoted to LGBT news, but there is very little information in Japan. At the time same sex marriage laws and partnership laws were in the news, and I thought that if that information could be shared with people here, that might be a good way to help Japan start to change." In addition, his experience as part of a bi-national couple personally confronting visa problems, Mochizuki saw the ways that politics directly impacted both him and his partner; this also fueled his interest in news from abroad.
The site contains information on LGBT issues worldwide, but its audience is not limited to LGBT people. Since the basis of the site is addressing the need for change in Japan's laws, they want to gain the understanding and support of not only queer, trans, and gay people, but straight people as well. The site does, in fact, have many straight readers.
GJN members don't just run the site. They also organize the "Gay Ski Weekend" charity event - the third one will be held February 15-18, 2008. In Japan, numerous club events are available for LGBT people, but there are almost no opportunities for daytime socializing or enjoyment. That was the impetus for this event. The group takes over an entire hotel, and people can ski, snowboard, or soak in the hot springs. The last event saw 87 people (including one of the organizers for the Tokyo Pride parade) coming from both within and outside of Japan. This next year they expect about 150 persons. (For more information, see: Gay Ski Weekend)
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GAY JAPAN NEWS
translated by rayna rusenko