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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) rights have progressed quickly in the 21st century. However, much of this progress has been in the global West. In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage, leaving behind the third-largest economic power in the world, Japan, which has not yet moved to recognize same-sex marriage. Through a comparative political examination, this study explores how family registry systems have affected LGBTQ rights and the progression of marriage equality in two liberal democratic states in East Asia. This paper draws from the extensive literature on the history, use, and current status of the koseki and huji. It also examines the role played by transnational advocacy organizations in sharing information and influence. The koseki has a long history in Japan which helped shape the current system of marriage and families. During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, adopted a similar system. This examination uses case study methodology to explore why Taiwan progressed toward marriage equality and Japan has not. This study hypothesizes that these family registry systems are patriarchal, heteronormative, and discriminatory and have thus hindered – though not prevented in the case of Taiwan – the fight for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. Taiwan and Japan are two of the strongest liberal democracies in Asia, both with a history of Confucian values. As an emerging beacon for LGBTQ human rights in Asia, Taiwan, as a norm entrepreneur in Asia, has set an example that many other countries in the region can follow.


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  • Subject
    • Political Science & International Affairs

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • VMR 1 Enter Guest PIN 2001

  • Event date
    • 17 April 2020

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Raluca Viman-Miller