Japan-native Misato Kawasaki faced what many gay children unfortunately feel in high school – that she was abnormal. Since Japan has no nationwide consensus on same-sex marriage, Kawasaki felt that it was strange to date another woman in high school.
Now 21 and having found her life partner, 22 year old Mayu Otaki, the couple have decided to get married 26 times in 26 countries to call for the legalisation of gay marriage in Japan.
A lesbian couple from Japan will wed in 26 countries around the world, shining a light on the lack of universal recognition or nation-wide legalisation of same-sex marriage in Japan.
Their ‘campaign’ was reported by Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. Kawasaki told the publication, “I want to show through our wedding photos that being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) is normal so that those who are troubled by their sexual status can harbour hope.”
They will begin their six-month marriage tour in March, starting in the UK and traveling across Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. The couple hope to reach 26 countries in what they are calling ’26-time marriage plan’. They will also be interviewing LGBTQI couples from around the world and talking to government officials from the countries in which they marry.
In Japan, gay marriage is not universally legal or recognised. A number of local governments and states certify same-sex marriages, others give couples some civil rights, while some states or councils do not legally recognise gay unions at all. From this year, 10 municipalities have legalised same-sex partnerships, which will give same-sex couples some of the same rights as married couples such as next-of-kin legal rights.
Kawasaki and Otaki’s crowdfunding campaign hopes to raise 1 million yen to cover some of their travel expenses. They estimate that this voyage will cost them 2.07 million yen (almost $27000 AUD). You can visit their crowdfunding page here.