All About Japan

5 Japanese Films That Explore Sexual Diversity

Movies Japanese TV Manga LGBT

From the past to present, Japan has a lot of films on offer that reflect the society of the time. But did you know that movies dealing with LGBT+ issues have come a long way, exploring sexual diversity in a healthy way. If you're into compelling films with LGBT+ themes, we'll introduce five famous Japanese movies that you need to know.

1. Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (46億年の恋)

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A is a 2006 movie directed by famous Japanese director Takashi Miike. It's the story of a young man named Jun who was sent to prison for killing a customer who raped him at the gay bar where he was working. After he arrived at the prison, he met Shiro, a man with a strange tattoo in the middle of the back. Although everyone is frightened of Shiro, who is considered a dangerous person, Jun is fascinated by him for reasons that can't be described with words. Their love affair begins to bloom and is unstoppable, until Shiro's mysterious death, which is investigated throughout the movie.

2. Love My Life (ラブ・マイ・ライフ)

Love My Life is a 2006 film based on a manga of the same name. The story centers around the two girls, Ichiko and Eri, who decide to become more than just friends. Ichiko and Eri are very worried about their relationship, thinking it would be very difficult for their families to accept it. This issue does not apply to Ichiko's family, as she surprisingly learns her mother and father are also both homosexuals who wanted to raise a child together. But how about Eri's family? What will she have to do for her father to accept their love?

3. Schoolgirl Complex (スクールガール・コンプレックス 放送部篇)

Based on a popular photo book by photographer Aoyama Yuki, the 2013 film Schoolgirl Complex is a love story formed in the mind of a girl named Manami, a member of an all-female school's broadcasting club. When a new, mysterious and older student named Chiyuki transfers to the school, she decides to help Manami prepare for the school festival. A strange feeling in Manami's heart begins to grow as well as a new sexual tension she can't explain.

4. No Touching at All (どうしても触れたくない)

No Touching at All is the 2014 story of a young man named Toshiaki Shima who is about to start a new job for a large company. In the company's elevator, he meets a hungover man whom he later learns is Yosuke Togawa, his new boss. Shima is very shy because of an unknown fear of his past, but Togawa wants to understand and be receptive to whatever it is Shima is experiencing. A relationship beyond a boss and his worker forms between the two. The film was originally a BL (Boy's Love) manga written by Kou Yoneda.

5. Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、)

The last film on our list is the latest, released February 2017. Close-Knit is the story of a fifth-grade girl named Tomo who goes to live with her uncle and his girlfriend Rinko. But the girl soon realizes that Rinko is, in reality, a trans woman. Although Tomo sees Rinko as a male, she's surprised by Rinko's ability to cook, embroider and do hair. Tomo is so happy to be a part of this family, but the surrounding society does not feel the same way she does. Many questions arise, with Tomo herself wanting to find answers.