Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 on Sunday May 8 was the explosive culmination of "Rainbow Week" in Tokyo, which ran from April 22 and was marked by daily events from film to futsal to committee meetings to exhibitions to parties.
|One of the many colorful Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 floats|
|On the women's disco float, complete with its own DJ booth|
|A touch of traditional Japanese Rainbow Pride|
The main theme of Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 was "No Hate," a slogan that was chanted by thousands as they marched through the streets of Tokyo, and one that will need to be kept alive as Japan marches ever closer to freedom for its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer population.
|"No hate!," "Solidarity" - slogans being waved and chanted at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016|
|"We love diversity" - Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016|
The climax of the day was the Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 Parade which followed a loop around the Harajuku area, leaving from the Shibuya side of the plaza and coming back from the Yoyogi Park side. Participation in the street parade itself is by application only, and limited to 5,000 people - a limit that was very easily reached - because of the disruption to road traffic involved and the resulting need for a supervisory police presence.
|Striking a pose at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016|
|Tents at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016, Yoyogi Park Event Plaza|
|Queens collecting for charity at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016|
One big change that had happened since the last LGBT parade was that Shibuya ward, in which the parade takes place, has afforded de facto recognition of gay couples as married, which is as good as it gets at the moment in Japan in the absence of legal recognition.
|Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 attracted some big corporate sponsors|
Another encouraging sign of how Japan is getting on board the cause of LGBT rights was the sight of the Marui department store in Shibuya which was festooned today with rainbow flags specially for the Parade.
|Marui Department Store, Shibuya, sporting rainbow flags for the day|
One of most memorable things about the parade was the passionate chant, voiced in unison by the hundreds of marchers of "Tokyo no hate!" Love indeed ruled the day, and saw the Parade though to its conclusion - which was every bit as upbeat as its launch.
|Corporate sponsorship with style|
Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 was a mammoth project in terms of organization, and the amount of sponsorship and breadth of participation across the LGBT community was unprecedented.
|Fruits in Suits, Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016|
Here's to an at least equally successful Pride 2017!