The poster you see above was recently shared on Japanese internet message board 2channel and appears to be aimed at raising awareness of sexual minorities among in Japan, with the slogan “love takes many forms” written at the top right corner.
Those of you with a keen eye for detail may have noticed that while the straight and lesbian couples are portrayed as vibrant anime characters with no particularly distinctive features, the gay couple is depicted as a burly mass of stereotype.
Of course, the truly discerning out there have also likely picked out that this poster is actually a fake.
While it’s unclear who edited the poster, the internet was able to get a few good laughs out of it until someone dug up the real, far less offensive image:
The poster was created by SHIP, a Yokohama-based nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the LGBT community in Kanagawa Prefecture. It was created in 2011 as part of a homosexuality awareness campaign called Presence and was meant to be posted in the halls of public schools around the country. How many posters actually got put up is uncertain.
While attitudes towards homosexuality in Japan aren’t hostile like they are in some other countries, there is a strong atmosphere of ignorance among the public. Same sex marriages do not exist in Japan and there are few gay and lesbians who feel like they can be open about their sexuality, not for fear of religious backlash, but because Japanese society traditionally shuns those who seem to deliberately stick out from the crowd.
Obviously, gay Japanese teenagers would stick out like sumo wrestlers in a subway if they looked at all like the two barrel-chested hunks in the poster up top.