Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019—Japan’s biggest LGBT festival—was held from April 27 to May 6 this year. The festival is organized annually with the goal of fostering acceptance of the LGBT community in Japanese society so that members of sexual minorities can pursue their lives openly and freely without being subject to discrimination and prejudice. The number of people participating in the festival has been growing every year, making it one of the country’s largest events celebrating diversity. According to the organizers, around 200,000 people visited the main event area in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park over a two-day period this year, and about 11,000 people joined the parade—both record high numbers for the festival.

The Rainbow Research Booth—Dentsu’s first large-scale booth at the festival—offered a fun photogenic space inspired by LGBT survey result.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

Dentsu unveiled its Dentsu Rainbow logo this year. The six rainbow colors used in the logo represent diversity and are based on the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBT community. The six-color rainbow flag is widely used around the world by LGBT-friendly social movements.

Dentsu has been involved in Tokyo Rainbow Pride since 2015, setting up a booth in the event area every year. In 2019, its fifth year of participation, Dentsu created a large-scale booth for the first time and showcased its market research and survey results that are relevant for the LGBT community. The booth offered visitors opportunities to have fun while learning about the findings of a 2018 LGBT survey announced by Dentsu Diversity Lab in January 2019.

Dentsu Diversity Lab has conducted a survey of the LGBT population every three years since its first survey in 2012. It completed its third LGBT survey in 2018, and plans to continue carrying out the survey in the future. Recognizing that objective data derived from the research would provide a basis for people to understand facts about the LGBT community and be more accepting, Dentsu originally decided to go ahead with an LGBT survey in 2012. Indeed, the results it has compiled since then have helped raise awareness about the LGBT population in Japan and created opportunities for people to learn about and address related issues.


Big Power in a Small Number

The percentage of people in Japan who identify as LGBT.

People who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are a normal part of Japanese society, living alongside everyone else in workplaces, schools, and homes. While 8.9% may seem like a small number, the people it represents are a powerful force that will shape society in the future.

Dentsu has been conducting LGBT surveys since 2012 with the conviction that research data can play important roles and open up all kinds of possibilities. Its survey results can be cited to improve workplace environments and rules. The data provides factual information for mass media coverage. It can also help people realize that they are not alone and give them hope for the future.

Some of Dentsu’s most recent survey results are on display here at Tokyo ainbow Pride 2019 in this colorful photogenic space. We hope you have a great time taking photos here, and aspire to reach out to even more people through the power of small numbers.

* Dentsu Diversity Lab’s LGBT survey estimates the percentage of people in the population who identify as being a member of a sexual minority, specifically lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Based on a “sexuality map” that differentiates between biological sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, the survey defines respondents who do not identify as being straight (attracted only to the opposite biological sex), numbered 2 and 10 in the diagram below, as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Among the survey questions, respondents were asked whether they were in the process of questioning (Q) their gender identity and sexual orientation, and those who responded in the affirmative were included in the 2018 result of 8.9%. Accordingly, all of the Dentsu Diversity Lab surveys conducted in 2012, 2015, and 2018 can be regarded as LGBTQ+ surveys.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

Dentsu’s project team aimed to creatively present the survey results in enjoyable and simple ways at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019, with the goals of educating as many people as possible and inspiring them to take action. With that in mind, the team created a booth called “Rainbow Research” for the event, featuring a photogenic space designed to make the survey findings fun and accessible to visitors, and also easy for them to share with others.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity
Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

A rainbow-backdrop throne honoring members of the LGBT community

The survey found that 8.9% of people in Japan identify as LGBT, which is about one in every 11 people. That is around the same percentage as left-handed people in the population.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

A rainbow wedding cake celebrating approval for same-sex marriage

According to the survey, 78.4% of people in Japan approve of same-sex marriage, which is now recognized in many developed countries.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

A lip-shaped photo frame for people to express coming out of the closet

Among the survey respondents who identified as being LGBT, 65.1% admitted to being in the closet. The top three types of confidants for those who came out were a female friend, an LGBT friend, and one’s father.

A panel inside the booth described various initiatives that Dentsu has taken in the past as Dentsu’s Rainbow Actions.

  • Dentsu and Tokai Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd. jointly produced a documentary-style commercial about young people in Japan who have come out.
  • Dentsu produced the film Close-Knit, which portrays an LGBT family.
  • Dentsu established Dentsu Diversity Lab, a research organization specializing in issues related to diversity and inclusion.
  • England-based Dentsu International,Dentsu Group Ltd. established &PROUD as a global network for Dentsu Group LGBT and allied employees.
  • Dentsu has been advocating a new marketing concept called “inclusive marketing.”
Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

Dentsu’s booth attracted crowds of people who regularly lined up to join the fun of taking photos with the props. They also shared their photos with many others via social media. Staff in the booth enthusiastically chatted with the visitors, explaining the survey data and Dentsu’s Rainbow Actions while handing out LGBT “ally” stickers. They also received detailed enquiries from numerous company representatives and media-affiliated personnel. In total, the staff welcomed over 3,300 visitors, and many people who visited seemed genuinely impressed by the survey results and delighted by the Dentsu-styled booth.

Contributing to social issues through creativity

Last year, while planning its booth for Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019, Dentsu set up an internal ally network to support the LGBT community, made up of members from every company in the Dentsu Group. Employees from Dentsu Live Inc. and other group companies as well as from business partners, such as Frontier International Inc., participated in creating the booth for the 2019 festival. Meanwhile, after serious discussions, members of the ally network’s planning team decided that contributing to social issues through creativity would be the founding principle for the network. They declared their commitment to helping solve social issues in creative ways that inspire people to take action while making the most of Dentsu’s resources and capabilities.

Dentsu Celebrates LGBTQ+ with Creativity

The Dentsu Group will continue taking action going forward, driven by its commitment to contribute to social issues through creativity.The Dentsu Group will continue taking action going forward, driven by its commitment to contribute to social issues through creativity.

Madoka Yagi

Madoka Yagi

Associate Producer
Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games Project Division