Taiga Ishikawa – a profile
Ishikawa was born in 1974 in Toshima Ward, Tokyo.
He is a member of the Toshima Ward Assembly, Tokyo, Japan.
Ishikawa is an LGBT activist and a graduate of the Meiji Gakuin University School of Law.
Ishikawa realized he was gay during elementary school, but couldn’t tell anybody for years. He met another gay person for the first time through the Internet when he was 25 years old, and started to get involved in gay rights activities.
Ishikawa published a book about his life titled, “Where is my boyfriend?” in 2002 (published by Kodansha). Then he received many e-mails and letters of empathy from LGBT youth from throughout Japan. In 2004, he launched Peer Friends, a non-profit organization to deal with the problems of many LGBT youth who suffered from isolation.
Ishikawa negotiated with the Ministry of Justice which would not issue a certificate of “legal capacity to contract marriage” for LGBT people who want to get married to foreigners from countries which allow same-sex marriage. The question on the “legal capacity to contract marriage” application that had been an obstacle for same-sex couples was about the gender of the person whom a Japanese applicant for the certificate intended to marry.
Ishikawa, together with members of the House of Councilors resolved the problem by having the Japanese government create a new system to document “proof of being single” in 2009. This successful change was highly praised in the international media.
Ishikawa won election for the Assembly of Toshima Ward, Tokyo, in 2011. He was elected to the thirty-first position among 48 Assembly members. Ishikawa became one of the first openly gay politicians in Japanese history.
In 2013, Ishikawa ran for Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, and there was speculation in the news that he might be the first LGBT party leader in Japan. However, he did not win that election. In 2015, Ishikawa won re-election to the Assembly of Toshima Ward, for a second term. He is working on legalizing “same sex marriage/same sex partnerships” in Japan, and enacting “same-sex partnership regulations” in Toshima Ward so the ward can issue its own certificate to same-sex couples.
He has appeared in the media in Japan and internationally, and given talks at many universities and other events. He was featured in an editorial piece in the Japan Times: “Taiga Ishikawa could help channel the voices of marginalized people, including irregularly employed workers and members of the gay community, to ensure that they are reflected in local and national politics.”
As one of the first openly gay politicians in Japan, Ishikawa has often given talks and been interviewed internationally on issues such as, “The situation of acquired LGBT rights in Japan”, ”Japanese politics and LGBT rights”, and “The current condition of LGBT youth in Japan,” etc.
Please consult with his office if you would like to request him to give a speech in English. Inquiries by e-mail in Japanese or English to firstname.lastname@example.org will be accepted.
Ishikawa has been covered in newspapers such as Asahi, Tokyo, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Japan Times, and on TV stations, NHK and NHK educational, and more.
In Korea: Hangyore Newspaper, Korea Herald( in English)
In Singapore: ELEMENT
He has made public addresses at Meiji Gakuin University, Meiji University, Tokyo University, Kansai Gakuin University, Fukuoka Education University, Chiba University,
LUSH Valentin Day event, City Bank, UBS Securities, Asahi Newspaper Osaka Main Office, and more.
In the US: Hawaii University
In Hong Kong: Pride and Prejudice (the LGBT event held by UK Economist magazine)
Contact Taiga Ishikawa at:
Social Democratic Party, Toshima City Office 9th floor
2-45-1 Minami Ikebukuro Toshima Ward, Tokyo