HIV awareness billboard in gay Tokyo district modified after complaints over indecency

An HIV awareness billboard put up in a gay district in Tokyo has had to be modified after the local authorities received a number of complaints from members of the public.

ViiV billboard

The billboard, for ViiV Healthcare, features six men, two of them embracing and one bare-chested, and is running in Tokyo’s Ni-chome district. The slogan reads, ‘Living together’.

Officials from the Shinjuku ward said the campaign breaches “public order and morality”.

They have asked the artist who created the image, Poko Murata, to re-work the image. He drafted a new version, applying a vest top to one of the men.

HIV modified billboard

However, local government officers were not satisfied, as one of the men’s underwear is visible, Murata has written on his blog. He wrote: “They told me that residents in Ni-chome were uncomfortable with my drawing. And that I should edit it if we plan to continue running awareness campaigns.”

Murata has accused the government of discrimination against homosexuals over the ruling, an assertion that has been backed by GayManga, a gay blog. GayManga says that the ruling is hypocritical, since the Tokyo district is populated with “heterosexual outdoor advertising” such as ‘fembots’ to advertise cabaret shows.


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