Today is a huge day for fans of J-Pop and LGBTQ API people all over the world. Japanese pop icon and member of the group AAA, Shinjiro Atae has made the courageous decision to come out publicly as gay at a free fan event in Tokyo, Japan.
After delivering the powerful speech, the crowd of over 2,000 irrupted in applause. Atae is among the first well established Asian and Pacific Islander music stars to come out publicly as queer. This move is sure to provide representation and visibility to millions.
Shinjiro hopes his story can help others feel less alone and promote a more inclusive Japan. Atae shared, “It has taken me a long time to be able to say I am gay. I could not even say it to myself. I feared that even if I could accept the truth, the world would never accept me as an artist. However, I’ve come to realize it is better, both for me, and for the people I care about, including my fans, to live life authentically than to live a life never accepting who I truly am.”
He went on to say that, “I hope people who are struggling with the same feeling will find courage and know they are not alone.”
This was a powerful and inspiring decision as Japan does not currently have any legal protections in place for same-sex unions. Advocates have been calling on Japan’s government to instate these protective measures, as Japan is the only Group of Seven (G7) nation without them.
In addition to his coming out, Atae debuted a brand new song for his fans called, “Into The Light.” He announced that a portion of the proceeds from the song will be donated to Pride House Tokyo, Japan’s first permanent LGBTQ center, and ReBit, an organization providing resources and support for LGBTQ youth.
Atae also revealed he has been working with Academy-award winning producers Peter Farrelly and Fisher Stevens on a documentary about his life, with more details coming soon.
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