Tokyo Disneyland said this week it would allow gay couples to hold ceremonies on its grounds. The resort’s statement came after 27-year-old bride-to-be Koyuki Higashi contacted Disneyland to enquire about marrying her female partner, Hiroko, there.
Higashi was initially told she would be able to marry her partner provided they were dressed “like a man and a woman”, she wrote on her blog, as the staff at Disneyland, were concerned about how other visitors would react to the sight of couples both dressed in wedding dresses or tuxedos.
However shortly afterwards, a spokeswoman for Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of Tokyo Disney Resort, said there had been a misunderstanding, telling Higashi and her partner they could dress how they pleased, although they would not be able to exchange vows in the chapel due to “Christian teachings”.
The park said it would accept all applications for same-sex wedding ceremonies.
However, a wedding at Disneyland Toyko is not cheap. A ceremony in Cinderella’s castle, with Disney characters included on the guest list, costs 7.5m yen (£60,000).
There are no laws against homosexuality in Japan. There are many gay and transgender celebrities are regulars on TV variety shows, while Taiga Ishikawa became Japan’s first openly gay politician when he won a seat in Tokyo’s Toshima ward assembly in April 2011. However, according to Ishikawa in a statement to the Guardian, the LGBT community in Japan does not feel ready to ‘come out’ in public. “We’re still not at the point where a man or woman can say they have a same-sex partner, especially to colleagues. But now that gay marriages are in the news overseas, there is better awareness here, at least.”
Higashi and her partner visited Disneyland to break their good news to Mickey Mouse himself, who was “surprised to hear that we are a couple of girls,” wrote Higashi on her blog. “But we said we were there to thank him … and he celebrated with us.” The couple have yet to set a date for their marriage.