tokyo: out in japan

© out in japan / leslie kee - matcha

japan is one of the most advanced of the planet's developed countries, but the hierarchical structure and strict social codes that are at the very foundation of its success have a flipside for anyone who doesn't fit in the mold. that certainly counts for the vast majority of the country's lgbt community, and as a result japan ranks at the bottom of the list when it comes to the acceptance and visibility of this specific demographic in japanese society. and that's what makes the out in japan project quite remarkable. backed through crowdfunding and also by american fashion giant gap, the project aims to document no less than 10,000 lgbt people by various photographers in the coming five years, obviously to increase their visibilty and claim more rights. tokyo-based leslie kee, a renowned fashion photographer who's openly gay, created the first series of the so-called out in japan project. kee shot 111 portraits of people from the japanese lgbt community, ranging from teens to adults and senior citizens, and from all walks of life. the first batch of out in japan portraits is currently on display at the gap flagship store in harajuku [on through apr 28]. location: gap, 1-14-27 jingumae [harajuku].

© out in japan / leslie kee - sarah partch-smith + rika arita and mitsuaki kishida