BJC's Gay Japan

General Info - Survival Gay Japanese - Meeting Japanese Men
Gay Kyoto - Gay Osaka

General Info

Let me be completely honest.  Japanese gay culture is not easy to become a part of.  It took me many years before a found a 'place' there. Like many aspects of Japanese culture, if you're not Japanese, you will always be an outsider.  That being said, however, there is lots to enjoy in Japan, and this page is your mini-guide to making the most of your stay, particularly in the Kansai area.  

Click on this link for a candid
article about one visitor's
impressions of gay life in Japan.
Very informative and helpful.

'Types' are quite important to Japanese gay men. If you visit a gay bar, you will likely be asked what your 'type' is. Type is sen in Japanese, so a 'chubby-chaser' would be known as debu-sen. These are the main 'types':

Lon-ge Long hair
Sa-fa- Surfer - tanned, long-haired
Japanese 'hunks'
Tanpatsu Short hair
Debu Chubby
Chibi (Mame) 'Small' size
Jyani-zu "Johnny's" - this refers to the cute boys in the various Japanese boy bands, such as Arashi or V6, produced by "Johnny's Jimusho"
Be-ya Bear
Kawaii Cute
Muscleman/buffed up
Just for the record, my type is kawaii tanpatsu no chibi--cute little guys with short hair.


If you are a Westerner (and particularly if you are Caucasian) you should be aware that you are a 'gaikokujin' or 'gaijin'--a foreigner. Of course, everyone who is not Japanese is a 'gaijin', but the ones of us who stand out are most readily placed in this category. Some Japanese boys are self-proclaimed gaisen, which is the Japanese equivalent of 'potato queen'--Asian boys who like Westerners. On the other hand, some Japanese have absolutely no interest in foreigners, so you may be snubbed for that very reason. One possible explanation for this love/hate relationship may stem from the fact that foreigners are rumoured to be very well-endowed. Hmmm. Let it be said here that while many Japanese boys proclaim to be 'small', this is certainly NOT always the case (just so you know).

You should not let this potential bias deter you. There are lots of kind Japanese men who, even if they are not gaisen, are pleased to chat with a foreigner. Take a chance, take your time, and have fun!


Survival Gay Japanese

Below is some Japanese vocabulary and English equivalents. Some of these words would have come in very handy if I had learnt them much much sooner...

Konnichiwa Hello Can be used any time of the day or night.
Konbanwa Good evening. Generally used after about 5pm.
Ohayo Good morning. Used in the morning, or when arriving at work.
Hajimemashite Nice to meet you. Obviously, used when you meet new people!
Although one of the most well-known Japanese words, it is rarely used except when you don't expect to meet someone ever again.
Mata ne
See you later!
A far more common thing to say when leaving someone's company.
Okama Lit. effeminate man Used by the general populous to mean 'fag'; rarely used by gay men, due to its negative connotations.
Neko Lit. cat Sexually 'bottom' or 'passive'
Tachi Lit. sword Sexually 'top'
Riiman Salaryman Businessmen or guys in suits
Gaisen Gaijin-lover/potato queen See above
Debusen Chubby boy lover See above
Okoge Lit. the burnt gunk at
the bottom of a rice pot
Fag hag--sorry girls, not much of a compliment but...
Hattenba Cruising spot See Cruising Spots
Nyu-hafu New Half Transsexual
Neruton No English equivalent that I am aware of

A kind of 'match-making' game held at gay nights.

For a scholarly essay on 'gay language' in Japan, please check out this link.

Meeting Japanese Men

As I mentioned above, getting involved in the Japanese gay scene takes a bit of effort. Here are some of my suggestions for meeting guys in Japan:

Clubs Probably the simplest and most straightforward way of meeting gay boys, but also very hit & miss. See links in Kyoto and Osaka.
Out & About A group of gay Japanese/foreign men who meet about once a month for events like hiking, visiting museums, etc. They usually gather in front of 'Big Man' at Hankyu Umeda Station on a Sunday afternoon. Check for postings in some of the magazines listed below.
Magazines Personal ads have been the mainstay of the Japanese gay scene for a long time. English personals can be posted / found in the English-language mags in Kansai: Kansai Flea Market (classified only); Kansai Time Out and Kansai Scene. The Japanese gay mag Badi (pronounced 'buddy') also has ads, but they are mainly in Japanese. There are several other Japanese-language gay magazines that can be found at gay shops.
The Internet I highly advocate this method of meeting boys, since it's how my boyfriend and I got together! The net has certainly outpaced magazines in the last several years. Check out my links page for some suggestions on where to look.
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