Initiatives at Yamaha
Celebrating diversity together with the LGBTQ+ community ― Yamaha Corporation joins Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2023
Our employee-led team joined the activity to embrace all identities and empower the LGBTQ+ community
Tokyo Rainbow Pride is the one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in Asia, which started in 2012. This year, the first full event after the pandemic, 230,000 people visited the Pride Festival in Yoyogi Park and 10,000 marched in the Pride Parade through the Shibuya and Harajuku area.
At the Yamaha Group, we view the rich diversity of our workforce as a true strength and an endless source of new value creation for the organization. In order for every colleague to make their mark at Yamaha, we are committed to creating an environment where they can bring their authentic selves, including their sexual orientation or gender identity, and develop to their full potential. As part of our efforts to make a safe and inclusive place for the LGBTQ+ community, Yamaha Corporation has supported the Tokyo Rainbow Pride since 2021. This year, Yamaha Corporation participated in the event together with Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. sharing a booth at the festival and walking in the Parade to celebrate the diversity of sexuality, gender and life together with LGBTQ+ community.
Our employee volunteer team initiated event planning and operation, in addition to the Human Resources Division which was handling the sponsorship activity. This team consists of 17 members from 13 different divisions. One of the project leads, Mihoko Eda, says “we first thought it would be important to connect LGBTQ+ employees and allies, and to represent the voice of the community for making our company safe and inclusive. I am happy to see this project was able to become the first step where people can openly talk about their identity or LGBTQ+ topic within the company”.
TRP2023, in its 12th year, was held under the theme “Press on Until Japan Changes”.
The volunteers discussed the challenges that LGBTQ+ people face in the company and in society, and how Yamaha could approach these issues through the Tokyo Rainbow Pride as well as the expected change to enhance the LGBTQ+ inclusion in society and in Yamaha. One of the challenges is that still many social stereotypes and norms are preventing people to live their authentic identity. To address this issue at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride, the team planned an interactive exhibit that would enable TRP visitors to discover and express their individuality through sound and music. Ultimately it aimed to make people aware of and embrace each other's differences. In addition to the colorful “LovePiano®,” which enables everyone to experience the joy of playing, other instruments such as guitar, which is sometimes seen geared toward men, and flute, which is sometimes seen geared toward women, were displayed at the booth to convey the message that Yamaha empowers everyone to enjoy sound and music without being bound by such social gender stereotypes. Throughout the two-day event, there were constant performances by visitors and crowds of people even outside the booths who enjoyed them.
The employee volunteers who greeted visitors at the booth say, “we were able to make a positive impact on society through an approach that only Yamaha could take”.
The visitors’ experience was designed under the two Yamaha’s key message, “Express Your Pride. Make Your Mark.”
Visitors decorated an electric power assisted wheelchair “Y01” and an electric scooter “E-Vino” exhibited by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Many people also enjoyed the joint plan by Yamaha to leave messages on cards, and the board was filled with the comments from all over the world. Not only did many people leave wishes for a more inclusive society through TRP, but also comments of appreciation for the two Yamahas' support for the event.
Visitors left messages about music empowering the diversity of people.
Throughout the two-month project, the team could experience many positive changes internally as well as the big social impact of this event, deepening their own understanding of LGBTQ+. At the same time, the members remarked that they felt it is important to make changes ceaselessly toward a more inclusive and equitable society and workplace. Yamaha Corporation will continue to share its values through notable topics such as supporting the Business for Marriage Equality campaign and will build a culture where LGBTQ+ colleagues are respected and supported.
Employee volunteers from diverse backgrounds joined the team.
Sound and music has the power to unite people beyond their immediate differences. As an organization dedicated to this power, it was important for Yamaha that people from diverse backgrounds come together to show their identity and embrace each other. One of the volunteers, Shinichi Takenaga (Executive General Manager of Audio Products Business Unit, Yamaha Corporation), recalls, “When I saw people expressing their authentic selves, I also could feel a sense of freedom. Through this experience, I realized that true diversity can thrive when all people, including LGBTQ+, can live their lives in their own way”.
Beyond Tokyo Rainbow Pride, we will continue to orchestrate an organizational culture in which every individual is respected and empowered to express oneself together with Yamaha colleagues from around the world.