Day 2 of Niji Nights: Demystifying Marriage and Same-Sex unions in Japan

Sup, everybody! Welcome to Day 2 of Niji Nights! Recently, this has been on my mind and I figured I share my findings with you all. Let’s talk about sex baby, same-sex that is! I’ve known for a while now that Japan did not have a marriage certificate for same-sex couples but I wanted to dive a little deeper into what is happening the world today on this particular front. So I figured, I start with a little bit of history…

The history

A long time ago, 1872-1880 same-sex sexual activity was made illegal in Japan. Now, anyone in the queer world knows that there has been sexual activity in all communities just hidden the radar of most governments and society norms. So we know, that this law couldn’t last for very long. Not only was it happening before 1872 but well into our world today. In 2015, there was movement in the same-sex certification progression in certain prefectures (that are like states in America) that had gone ahead and started making things possible. Japan, currently is the only country in the G7 (in case any of you are not familiar with Hetalia, the group consists of Canada, France, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and Italy). Not to be confused with the D-10 (which is an alternative group of democratic countries). ANYWAYS, not to get derailed too much, getting married in Japan, in general, is a process (unlike America) the US Embassy and Consulates of Japan even state on their website:

“If you wish to marry in Japan, you must do so according to Japanese law. Marriage in Japan consists of registering marriage at a Japanese municipal government office.

Only this registration constitutes a legal marriage in Japan. Ceremonies performed by religious or fraternal bodies in Japan, are not legal marriages. Consular officers cannot perform marriages.”

Back to the matter at hand

So if that wasn’t too complicated, there’s 8 prefectures and 210 municipalities which is something like 53% of Japan that have established some sort of “partnership oath system” as of June 2022. The newest edition to the list of prefectures this year will include TOKYO by November 1st.

I’m sooooo hyped. The New York of Japan will finally recognize same-sex partnerships aka same-sex unions (which are, if not close to the same thing, at least to my understanding). So the “partnership of oath system” was made to get around the banning of same-sex marriages. It essentially allows couples to to have some benefits like housing, hospital visitation rights and consenting to surgery for a partner. Unfortunately, it’s not legally binding. They are still working to make it legal for hospitals, workplaces, landlords and such to recognize these certifications but it’s all still a work in progress.

We’re almost there! There is hope in the future that there will be a generalized acceptance of same-sex marriages in Japan and hopefully we see it in our lifetime. I, mean, I have hope. 53% in 8 years isn’t bad!

I hope you enjoyed my spark notes on the topic! Here’s some other articles that dive into it from some widely recognized sources. Just so you know I’m not just making this up for my own benefit lol.

NPR- In Landmark Ruling, Court Says Japan’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

CNN- Tokyo pushes ahead with same-sex marriage plan

NBC News- Tokyo to recognize same-sex unions but not as legal marriage

ABC News- Tokyo to recognize same-sex unions but not as legal marriage

OUT Leadership- LGBT+ Business Climate Score

If you missed our webtoons post, check it out here and there’s more to come!




3 thoughts on “Day 2 of Niji Nights: Demystifying Marriage and Same-Sex unions in Japan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s