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Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2024

Japanese experiences, family-friendly energy and professional representation characterized the 2024 Tokyo Rainbow Pride.

By 2 min read

This weekend, we headed to Yoyogi Park to participate in Japan’s largest LGBTQ+ community event, Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2024. We chatted, soaked up the vibes, and stood in line with some of the 15,000 other allies and community members who marched on Sunday.

This year’s event marked the 30th anniversary of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, a full-scale and roaring comeback from 2020’s pride-from-home version. This year’s motto was “Until it changes, don’t give up!”

The 2024 event drew the largest crowds yet. Guests spilled from the event venue into the streets of Yoyogi Uehara, and rainbow flags added another layer of vibrancy to Yoyogi Park’s last few days of hanami.

Tokyo Pride 2024 Welcomed 150,000 Visitors

The community continues to grow bigger with each passing year.

Tokyo Rainbow Pride, Japan’s biggest pride gathering and one of the largest in Asia draws in more community members and allies each year. What began in 1994 with just a few hundred attendees has blossomed into a celebration welcoming 150,000 visitors.

The multi-day event spanned Shibuya and Shinjuku neighborhoods. Despite some scares caused by the windy Saturday, the highlight was Sunday’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade, which saw 15,000 members marching to cheers from the streets and building windows. 

Photo opportunities abounded with drag queens posing around booths, some with 20-minute wait times. Events such as costume contests and lip-sync battles attracted massive crowds of participants and spectators alike.

Japanese Formality

An event with tons of good energy.

We caught up with two visitors to Tokyo Pride, Americans living in Tokyo, who were experiencing the event for the first time.

Kay, who works among many other expats and has a solid circle of friends, mentioned feeling minimal stigma regarding LGBTQ+ identity in Japan, largely attributing this to their expat status. “We just naturally gravitate towards each other,” they remarked.

Kay noted a notable difference between the Tokyo event and Pride celebrations in places like St. Pete and other overseas locations. Despite the flamboyance and excitement of the side parties in places such as Shinjuku’s famous gay district, Ni-chome, they found them relatively subdued, which they felt was characteristic and appropriate for Tokyo.

While Tokyo Rainbow Pride retained some Japanese formality in certain aspects, they were pleasantly surprised by the event’s turnout and energy.

Families Embrace Diversity

A great opportunity for both kids and adults to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

I overheard a family conversing while passing the “Rainbow Families” booth. It was adorned with crayon drawings and family photos featuring LGBTQ+ community members and their children. Speaking in Japanese, the mother gently corrected her curious young daughter, saying, “Dansei ka dou ka wakaranai kedo, ne? (We don’t know if they were a man or not, right?)” Her parents, a typical-looking young Japanese couple, didn’t hesitate at a chance for a teaching moment.

Recent landmark legal decisions have infused optimism within the community. Many view rulings that deem strict anti-gay measures unconstitutional as potential steps toward significant progress.

In Japan, deviation from norms isn’t always celebrated. Witnessing supporters and community members enjoying the event together provides hope for genuine change.

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