Tokyo Rainbow Weekend 2016

This was the biggest Tokyo Rainbow Pride event ever. Organizers estimate that 70,000 people showed up, and Stonewall Japan is proud to be part of that. In addition to official Tokyo Rainbow Pride events, Stonewall Japan leadership and members organized get-togethers throughout Rainbow Weekend. Tokyo Rainbow Pride continues to grow exponentially every year – much like our membership – so we love going and meeting our members at Japan’s biggest Pride Festival!

Stonewall Japan and LGBT+ Meet-up members at the picnic in Yoyogi Park

Stonewall Japan + LGBT Meet-up Picnic
On Saturday we teamed up with Tokyo LGBTQIAP+ and Supporters, Meetup group to hold a joint picnic in Yoyogi park, just a short walk away from the main festivities. Thankfully we brought a bunch of tarp to accommodate an overwhelming amount of people – it was amazing to meet so many new and old members and welcome them to our community. Personally I couldn’t believe the varied amount of people within the LGBTQIA community I had met. So many different backgrounds! It’s especially strange because of the homogeneity of Japanese society – but the foreigner community (queer or otherwise) is incredibly diverse and I’m so proud to get to know so many people within it!

We all brought various food and headed over to the main festival site periodically, which was also absolutely incredible! The weather really turned it out for us, so we could chill out and ease into what was sure to be a a big Saturday night and Sunday!

Stonewall Japan 2chome Bar Crawl
For those of us keen on hitting up the ~~scene~~ for the evening, we organised a little bar crawl throughout Shinjuku ni-chome! There was also a speakers panel in the area held by some of our prominent members with some great, thought provoking speaking points (referring to our diverse community, intersectionality is really important to Stonewall!). Most of us found our way to Arty Farty for probably one of my favourite nights out anywhere in Japan. The music was on point and the place was wall to wall with positive vibes – what more could you want from Pride?

And that was Saturday (and the wee hours of Sunday)! I also recommend the Thai place in ni-chome – always perfect and refreshing to get you through the night! As my final Stonewall event to plan for a while, I’m really proud of how everything went and I’m already looking forward to next year! Lots of love to all my new friends courtesy of TRP!

Tokyo Rainbow Pride – Stonewall Booth
volunteers at Stonewall Japan boothIf you were at Tokyo Rainbow Pride, did you see a few people with rainbow face paint? OK, more than a few? Maybe a lot of people with rainbow face paint? That was us! Stonewall Japan raised money to support our mission by offering face painting in exchange for donations.

Stonewall Japan leadership members and volunteers showed up bright and early to set up our booth. We were right at the bottom of the bridge to Yoyogi Park. Throughout the day, volunteers handed out flyers, painted faces, collected donations, and explained Stonewall Japan’s mission to provide an “affirming, open, safe zone for LGBTQIA people living in Japan.”

A big “thank you!” to everyone who volunteered, stopped by, or hung out at our booth. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Stonewall Japan in Tokyo Rainbow Pride ParadeTokyo Rainbow Pride – Parade
This was Tokyo Rainbow Pride’s biggest year ever. 5,000 people marched in the parade – including Stonewall Japan members. Over thirty Stonewallers marched together with Float #6, in what was a very cheerful walk through the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku.

Beyond Rainbow Weekend 2016…
Rainbow Weekend 2016 was a very exciting opportunity for us to connect with LGBT+ friends and family from all across Japan. We’re sorry if we didn’t get a chance to see you. Please keep in touch, and we’ll see you next year!

Authors: Leslie and Rhys
Videography: Panda
Photography: Rhys and C.Takiguchi (Sho)