Gay life in Japan spotlighted in stunning new Elska magazine

In the latest issue of Elska magazine, meet some of the GBT+ men living in Yokohama, Japan.

Portrait photograph from the Japan Elska issue featuring a Japanese man wearing black dress shirt
Image: photographer Liam Campbell

The latest edition of Elska, a bi-monthly magazine that offers a glimpse at the real lives of GBT+ men across the world, features local men in Japan who talk about their experiences in the country’s second-largest city, Yokohama.

Elska is dedicated to sharing the bodies and voices of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide through candid storytelling and insightful photography. This most recent edition introduces a range of ordinary queer men living in Yokohama, using a combination of intimate photography alongside honest stories contributed by each of the issue’s 12 participants.

Elska’s editor and chief photographer, Liam Campbell, said: “Although Yokohama is the second most populous city in Japan, it is a massively overlooked place.” He said he wanted to highlight queer life outside of the capital city of Tokyo to “give a sense of Japanese attitudes and customs more generally.” 

Liam confessed that this was a particularly challenging issue to make, sharing: “Despite Japan being so renowned for its modernity, this doesn’t quite extend to attitudes toward homosexuality, nor to the idea of sharing one’s personal life publicly.”

Campbell added: “It was rather difficult to find subjects for this issue, but those we did find were not shy to explain in their stories of how hard life here can be.”


Photo of man riding a bicycle in the Elska magazine's Japan issue

Several men featured in this issue talk about what it feels like to be a queer man in Yokohama, and how difficult it is fit into the norms and expectations of what it means to be a ‘respectable’ or ‘honourable’ man living in Japan. 

This issue includes personal essays including Yosh N’s experience of coming out to his grandmother, Ky S’s reflection on whether moving from Vietnam was the best decision, and Jay W’s story about having an affair with his university professor.

Because of the challenges faced in building this issue, Liam said it feels like a triumph to be able to share these stories with the world.


Photo of man stretching from the Elska magazine's Japan issue

The 180-page Elska Yokohama (Japan) publication is available worldwide and online. To view the list of stockists, online shop, or subscribe, visit



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Each Elska issue features GBT+ culture in different cities across the world. Be sure to check out Elska’s stunning Dublin issue which features portraits of queer men living in the Irish capital.

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