A young Japanese couple, both students at Utsunomiya University, are crowdfunding their wedding online. But not just one wedding; the couple wants to travel around the world getting married in every single country where same-sex marriage is legal.
Misato Kawasaki, 21, and Mayu Otaki, 22, cannot legally marry in their native country of Japan. So they’re hoping to challenge the Japanese government to change the law by getting married elsewhere — at least 26 times. For now, that’s the number of nations where same-sex marriage is legal. But the couple said on their fundraising page that they aim to marry everywhere they legally can.
“I want to show through our wedding photos that being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) is normal so that those who are troubled by their sexual status can harbor hope,” Kawasaki told the English-language Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun on Thursday.
The couple has been dating for a little over a year, and are collecting money for the trip on the Japanese crowdfunding platform Faavo. At press time, they had raised 334,000 Yen (about $3,000). According to Asahi Shimbun, they estimate it will take just over 4 million Yen (about $38,000) to cover the cost of the entire trip with transportation and lodging.
In exchange for funding, Kawasaki and Otaki are offering benefits ranging from attendance at some of the weddings and parties, to framed wedding photos and handwritten thank-you letters.
The couple plans to start the journey this March in Britain, with weddings in Europe, Africa, North America, and South America to follow into September. Kawasaki and Otaki will post about the weddings, and their travels, on an Instagram account they started for the project (@loveislove.japan).
The pair also plan to visit Taiwan, they said on the fundraising page. As INTO reported in-depth from Taiwan in November, Taiwanese citizens voted to ban same-sex marriage in a surprise upset. But because such policies can’t be decided by public referendum in Taiwan, it’s unclear what the future holds for marriage rights there. In the meantime, the Taiwanese government is allowing same-sex couples to register as domestic partners.
If the marriage eventually ends, it could present a serious problem for the young couple — who would likely need to return to all 26 nations to file for divorce in each one.