Japan’s queer community has been strengthening its presence in recent decades, with many individuals increasingly taking on roles as LGBTQ activists or carving out safe spaces from HIV/AIDS awareness centers to cabaret bars.
In Edges of the Rainbow, published by The New Press, we receive intimate portraits of this community that center and celebrate those typically seen as on the fringes of Japanese society. The book focuses on the everyday lives of about a dozen individuals and couples, with over 150, snapshot-like photographs by Michel Delsol accompanied by short interviews by journalist Haruku Shinozaki that amplify each story.
Far from romanticizing this community, his photographs simply offer insight into the lives of LGBTQ individuals, allowing them to present their stories on their own terms to an international audience.
Graham Kolbeins is a Canadian queer filmmaker, writer, and designer living in Los Angeles. He’s the director of the short film The House of Gay Art, and the co-director, with Dorian Wood, of the short film PAISA. His documentary web series, Rad Queers, profiled subjects including trans artist Edie Fake and Latinx leather organization Payasos L.A. The Japan-U.S. Friendship Council named Kolbeins a recipient of their Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship in 2016, and he subsequently spent five months directing Queer Japan, a feature documentary about sexuality and gender identity in Japan.
“It’s not necessarily that being gay or lesbian is the problem, but it’s the family values and format that traditional Japanese are afraid of breaking,” suggests a narrator over images of two women dancing and kissing in a club, intercut with shots from a traditional heterosexual marriage ceremony. Soon after, another voice offers, “the first thing we have to do is get rid of our phobia towards ourselves.” The documentary Queer Japan exists between these two poles. By showing that being queer is just another way of expressing one’s identity and navigating romantic relationships, it celebrates the creative work, thriving nightlife, grassroot activism, and community services of the LGBTQ+ people of Japan.
En este ensayo se aborda la relación existente entre belleza, homosexualidad y pensamiento esteticista en la obra de Yukio Mishima. La ilustración se da a partir del análisis de tres obras del escritor japonés: Confesiones de una máscara, El color prohibido y El pabellón de oro, lo cual permite contrastar las visiones del mundo europeo y el japonés con respecto al tema de la sexualidad. Se plantean, además, las similitudes existentes en la obra El retrato de Dorian Gray de Oscar Wilde y la novela El color prohibido. Finalmente, se hace una lectura del lugar que ocupa la belleza, desde el punto de vista de los valores estéticos, en la novela El pabellón de oro.