About 12,000 people joined a parade
Sunday to kick off Tokyo Rainbow Week.
Revelers gathered in the “Pride
Village” setup in Yoyogi Park, one of Tokyo's largest parks which
served as lodging for athletes during the 1964 summer Tokyo Olympics,
before marching through the streets of Tokyo's posh Harajuku shopping
district in the Shibuya Ward. The celebration continued afterward in
Pride Village, where organizers had set up a performance stage and
Participating corporations included
Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Phillips and UBS.
“IBM would like to improve the
environment and the workplace for people who are LGBT,” IBM's Kenji
to the AFP, the inclusion of a parade was a first for the
week-long celebration of sexual diversity which consists of over 20
events through May 6.
“The parade is a symbolic event in
the Tokyo Rainbow Week program,” said thirty-five-year-old Hiroko
Mauhara, one of the organizers.
Tokyo's annual Gay Pride Parade is held
in August. Parade organizer Shin-ya Yamagata said Tokyo needed a
parade in the spring.
“I have been working on various pride
parades for the past 10 years,” he said. “Tokyo needed a new
pride parade in the spring. So I started this one.”