LGBT rights in Japan were rarely addressed until recent years, and even now, people of differing sexual orientation face widespread social and legal discrimination. However, things are slowly but surely starting to change. Just yesterday, FUJI TV, one of Japan's biggest networks, announced the debut of Japan's very first lesbian-themed drama, set to premiere in November.

Many things are modern about Japan and the Japanese people, but the society's views on LGBT issues and rights is not one of them. Despite many in the younger generation being very progressive, the society as a whole is still dominated by very conservative values.

Now, change for LGBT rights is coming in many forms. Just last year, Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward started recognizing same-sex partnerships, which was followed by an announcement by neighboring Setagaya Ward that it would be doing the same. The realization of a need for social change has reached even the highest levels of government, where Hiroshi Hase, who was just recently appointed New Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, announced he would work to support students within the school system who were sexual minorities.

And now, there's Transit Girls. Just yesterday, FUJI TV, one of Japan's biggest television networks, announced the premiere of Japan's first-ever lesbian-themed episodic drama. The story revolves around two girls, aged 18 and 21, who are played by popular actress Sairi Ito and model Yui Sakuma. They become stepsisters when their parents get remarried, and though they clash at first, they eventually fall in love with each other. Television dramas are a big thing in Japan, and the most popular ones usually air on weeknights at 9:00 PM. Transit Girls, despite the hype, will air on Saturdays at 11:40 PM, not exactly primetime. 

As positive as it is, some LGBT activists in Japan aren't exactly thrilled. They claim the promotional photo showing two naked young girls in bed immediately gives the impression that being a lesbian is all about sex, when it's obviously much more than that. The discrimination faced by those in the Japanese LGBT community is very real, and it occurs in every aspect of their daily lives. So of course, they would prefer realistic themes to be shown on a lesbian-themed TV drama, but they also recognize that you have to start somewhere.

The eight episodes of Transit Girls will premiere on November 7th, at 11:50 PM on the Fuji Television Network.

Kenji Furuya of Dragon Ash, who's solo single "Prom Night" was chosen as the theme song for Transit Girls:


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