Edges of the Rainbow

LGBTQ Japan

An intimate photographic glimpse into the queer world behind the closed doors of modern Japanese society

“Takahashi is our child so I want to support him in any decision he makes. . . . Depression isn’t the answer; treat your child as a human being, not a possession.” —Mother of a trans man photographed in the book

The LGBTQ community in Japan has faced its challenges. Even as some religious and warrior orders have a long and recognized tradition of same-sex love, to be considered different, to be “the nail that sticks out,” makes coming out difficult.

Despite the conservative strain within Japanese society that encourages the LGBTQ community to remain unseen, a welcome change is happening on the ground. A number of queer cultural figures are opening up new horizons, and a growing majority of Japanese people believe that homosexuality should be an integral and open part of society.

The latest in a series of beautiful, affordable photobooks that look at LGBTQ communities around the world, Edges of the Rainbow is a photographic celebration of the queer community in Japan. In a set of more than 150 color and black-and-white photographs, acclaimed photographer Michel Delsol and journalist Haruku Shinozaki have brought together a fascinating group of individuals to create an unforgettable and uplifting look at a proud and resilient community on the margins of Japanese society.

Edges of the Rainbow was designed by Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios (EWS).

Praise

“A wonderful visual exploration of contemporary queer lives in Japan. Exploring the personal and public lives of a gay Episcopalian priest, a young lesbian couple who’ve been accepted by their family, a famous civil rights activist and pop idol, an intersex author, and more, this important volume provides a unique glimpse into a diverse Japan. It inspires us to ‘live as you are—truthfully.’”
—Karen Nakamura, professor of anthropology at University of California, Berkeley
Edges of the Rainbow shows us this simple fact: that gender diversity is an ordinary part of this world. The people so intimately and beautifully reflected here are living their lives as who they really are. Their pride makes us all proud.”
—Gon Matsunaka, producer of Out in Japan
“The exquisite humanity in this book transcends all geographical and cultural difference to show us what is universal in ourselves, and germane to place. A triumph of insight and heart.”
—Hilton Als, staff writer for the New Yorker
“Through Michel Delsol’s exquisitely honest and intimate photography and Haruku Shinozaki’s intelligent and probing interviews, Edges of the Rainbow shares an extraordinary and up-close view of the vitality and diversity that shapes Japan’s thriving LGBTQ community.”
—Russet Lederman, writer, researcher, and Japanese photography collector
“The vibrant individuality, diversity, and universality of the LGBTQ lives we encounter in Edges of the Rainbow shatter all the formulaic canards about conformity and homogeneity that tend to be so fashionable in mainstream Western portraits of Japan.”
—John Dower, author of Embracing Defeat