20 Japanese Celebrities Who Have Shown Support for the LGBTQ Community

Nearing the conclusion of Pride Month 2017, we gathered a collection of 20 celebrities who have supported or taken action to raise awareness for LGBTQ people and their social rights.

Japan isn’t a homophobic puritan society by any means, but they still have a long way to go in terms of visibility and equal rights for LGBTQ people. The truth is it’s hard to find direct public support of LGBTQ people from Japanese celebrities, but we can take a look through their work history and subtle choices to make educated assumptions from their associations and consider them endorsements.

From Koda Kumi, Sho Sakurai to the Kano Sisters, these stars have played a part in pushing forward acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and visibility within Japan.

It’s important to discuss whether the support from these celebrities, specifically or through a role played in a drama/representation in a music video, falls into the category of exploitation and if that is an “endorsement” for the LGBT community.

There a fine line between exploitation and being a target market. The whole entertainment industry revolves around target markets, all types of people can be broken down and targeted by executives based on what it’s assumed they would like. The thing about having a target market is you have to please the people you’re targeting, or at the very least, they have to feel they’re getting something out of it. However, to be exploited, someone has to have been used without them getting anything in return.

These celebrities put their public platform to good use and there’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of their words or actions, especially in a society where the association could potentially not be in their best interest in terms of marketing.

With that out-of-the-way, check out the list below!

Kiko Mizuhara

It’s no secret Kiko Mizuhara likes partying at gay clubs and surrounding herself with members of the LGBT community. The model is close friends with Italian-Japanese stylist Nicola Formichetti and frequently posts pictures meeting with drag queens on Instagram all around the world.

In an interview with Dazed Magazine, Mizuhara cited Shinjuku’s Ni-chome neighborhood–dubbed “gay town”–as “the most fun place in Japan!

Maki Goto

In 2011, former singer Maki Goto conducted an exclusive interview with popular men’s adult magazine “BADI” She was interviewed by her friend, a local drag queen who works in the Shinjuku Ni-chome district.

During the interview Maki acknowledged her gay fans thanking them for their continued support throughout her entire career, and shared how much fun she has hanging out in the Ni-chome district. Click here to see a potentially NSFW promotional image from the magazine.

Rie Miyazawa

Actress and former idol Rie Miyazawa played a lesbian in “Peony Pavilion,” a 2001 Hong Kong drama film directed by Yonfan.

It one of the most important works of classical Chinese opera and although subtle, shows a unique bond between two woman,” commented Miyazawa. “Love between females is pure.

The film was entered into the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival where Rie Miyazawa won the award for Best Actress.

Dean Fujioka

The opening theme of “Yuri!!! On Ice,” a popular anime that finds itself placed among various sports anime and manga and boys love, begins in a flourish of bright color as sketch versions of the main characters skate to the theme song “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka.

The song itself is an electronic power ballad that gains momentum the more the characters dance across the screen as the lyric “We were born to make history” repeats, speaking to the titular character’s ambition as a figure skater as well as to the nature of the show itself.

Ya’ll can say “OK, they used his song, and?” but attaching his name to a franchise that deals with homosexuality in a country and sport that has present-day issues with homophobia is definitely an endorsement and a positive step from someone with his current status.

Koda Kumi

Singer Koda Kumi is seen as an icon by the gay community for the way she commands her sexuality in her work.

Her music video for “BUT” consisted of Kumi being chained to the ceiling by a pulley. She attempted to break out of the chain and celebrates when she does. Once free, she becomes more provocative and descends in an elevator to a new room.

Throughout the video, there are hints of homosexuality, including Kumi in a very close, sensual proximity to another woman. The overall theme was about breaking from societal norms and being who you are, a message that resonates with the LGBT experience.


In 2014, TV personality and singer misono attended and performed at the “Tokyo Superstar” awards.

The “Tokyo Superstar” awards took place from 2010-2014,  honoring those who help increase the visibility of the LGBT community in Japan and helping support projects/organizations that support diversity. misono commented that she thinks it’s amazing and very important that such an event exists. She’s learned so much since making more friends with people who belong to the LGBT community, and is excited to get more involved in the future.

Sho Sakurai, Arashi

In 2011, reports started to pop up that Sho Sakurai went to bars in the Ni-chome district to wind down and relax.

Reportedly, fellow Johnny & Associates member Yamapi and former Johnny’s Jin Akanishi also frequented bars in the area. This trend continued  and was shared publicly when in 2015 Sho allowed cameras to follow him inside a restaurant in the Ni-chome district where he was interviewed by a group of drag queens, who gave him the pet name “Cherry Shoko in the Sky“.

Furthermore, in May 2017 Sho did a special segment for NEWS ZERO where he interviewed two women who have been together for 13 years, and are currently raising their children together. Both of them bore children, are divorced, and work. Not only was this special a very positive portrayal for same-sex couples in Japan, but Sho himself stated that he hopes Japan’s national government starts to recognize same-sex marriages.

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  • Comments

    • Aquamarine

      CROSS GENE, each and every member. Takuya has even acted as a gay man in The Lover.

      • eplizo

        LGBT kings. Bless them, especially Takuya.

      • Bubi.

        Oh wow, I forgot about them. Are they still active?

        • 鸢尾 ~Yuan Wei~

          yes, they are

    • BAD KID

      is legend ayu holding a bottle of poppers in that pic? party queen ♥ ♥

    • yacchaitai

      ayu is the queen of gays

    • sakuraiyes

      Great post. Share the love!

    • Taima-kun

      Matsuko looks awfully fake, is that his android version?

    • rtf2190

      I know about that “wedding” Mika Nakashima went to! She actually made a surprise appearance at Pink Dot Pride in Okinawa last year, and sang to that couple as they got hitched in front of the crowd. Bitch had me shook cuz someone had to remind me that was her after she performed.

    • Nya
    • What

      Aww it’s really nice seeing Akie Abe there

    • takufox

      Great article! I believe Namie has spoken out about this in the past and even had Lico her old dancer who used to be known as Hide choreograph her 20th anniversary tour. I defintiely know on her off time when she was younger she used to frequent some of the clubs in Ni-Chome

    • Zephyr

      I’m curious why you’d include an old tv show for Shige and overlook all the coverage they’ve done much more recently on NEWS na Futari – his own tv show related to LGBTQ issues?

      • Bubi.

        Do you expect everyone to know every detail about them? That’s what they remembered so that’s what they wrote. It changes nothing whether or not it’s recent.

        • Missa

          That’s an awfully aggressive response for a fairly innocuous comment.

          • Bubi.

            Johnny’s fans tend to be extremely pedant when their faves are brought up and should be glad they were even mentioned at all.

            • Hatori Sachiyo

              Johnny’s haters are so rude.

            • roxie

              You’re the one whose being pedant by this irate reply, and I’m glad that Johnny’s was mentioned because I don’t think I’ll read this article if Sho’s picture wasn’t in the cover.

        • miraikuru

          I do understand your point, but I think it’ll be nice if you just use a much more nicer words

        • Natalie

          Seeing how they used very recent information about Sakurai Sho for example, I think it’s fair to ask why they only used a two year old tumblr post for reference in Shige’s case. Especially when he is one of the most vocal celebrities when it comes to LGBT issues. But I guess a lot of the other people’s entries here are also old and probably incomplete. I know that Akimoto Sayka for example has definitely spoken up about LGBT issues more than once too.

          • Bubi.

            I don’t think anyone claimed this was all the most information nor is it meant to be all encompassing, just a small collection of times it was mentioned in the past. Do you think this site has some personal narrative by not including it? No, this is a positive post and he gets recognition either way.

        • neko

          Bubi the only one that was extremely pedant was you.

    • eplizo

      Absolutely LOVE this article! Reading so much of their words warmed my heart. I knew about a lot of a these, but a good portion of them are actually new to me. It’s really great seeing so many allies in the industry. There’s even several that I think weren’t included in this list too like DAIGO of BREAKERZ, Miyavi, Ikuta Toma etc.

    • nothingsover

      Just what I needed to brighten up my morning <3

    • eplizo

      This just informed me that ayabambi broke up tho 💔

    • Matcha
    • Kari

      Kiko <3

    • ʕ→ᴥ←ʔ

      Kiko and Sakurai are love. <3 <3 _>

    • The grande dame of LGBT representation in Japan: Miwa Akihiro. http://pds.exblog.jp/pds/1/201306/26/29/b0281029_23331625.jpg

      And her man back in the day, who used to write about being gay, Yukio Mishima: http://album.udn.com/community/img/PSN_PHOTO/a102753325/f_6484830_1.JPG

    • monica_monami

      Yes for Cherry Shoko In The Sky lol

    • Brett

      Ms. Ayu’s Right Ear looks really handsome, huh?

    • Bubi.

      Miss Shiina Ringo often serves sensuality with other women

      • Guest

        Only for shock value though. Particularly honnou.

        • indeed, though I do think 2 jikan dake no vacance and this cover were pretty genuine.
          Especially that with utada having outed herself in a tweet, while also publicly saying Tomodachi from the same album is about a gay couple, and overall how progressive sheena is, I’d say she’s an ally alright.

    • Bubi.

      Ayumi Hamasaki – Green


      Ayumi Hamasaki – A Ballads

      Ayumi Hamasaki – RAINBOW

      I think these are more about Ayu loving herself tho

    • Sabi

      Thank you for this article.

    • Has Sister Ken ever said anything, besides accidentally outing himself?

    • M

      Miyake Ken, played a gay character twice. The second time he played a gay character he didn’t sell the work as being a “gay love story” but as a “love story” period so the media was very shocked when his character was gay. He was also on Sakurai Sho’s and Ariyoshi’s show and had a one on one talk with a gay man who was afraid to come out to his family and gave him beautiful advice.

    • Yum

      Yasu from Acid Black Cherry says he’s bisexual (and in love with hyde) and you can see in his PV that he support LGBT (in the PV Shou especially )

      All members from BREAKERZ, Daigo and Akihide shared sensual game in the PV REAL LOVE) and Akihide also kissed Yasu more than once on stage.

      Tanaka Koki who says he’s bisexual years ago
      Same for Kamenashi who says he doesn’t care to fall in love with men or women.

      Katori Shingo is said to be famous in the gay community but we don’t know more.

      They are a lot of famous figures who show support to LGBT by doing small things and this is great for this community and it raise people awareness about it. Japan will change too.

      • hhhh

        If BREAKERZ touching each other in that music video is supporting the LGBT community, then what does it mean that they’re also wearing Nazi gear?

        • Yum

          The comment for Dean and Koda say they are support g LGBT because one sung a song attached to a gay anime and the other because they are hint of homosexuality so I only took same other example to say they are not the only one. So yes it’s only a supposition but at rd same level of the article. Btw you are not wrong it’s not because it’s in the PV or a movie that they REALLY are themselves but it’s a sign that they are not against it so it’s a sign of support to me. For the reference to the Nazi I don’t think they (Japanese) clearly understand the behind of playing a Nazi.

          • Frozen_Tenshi

            Koda Kumi, is really free with her sexuality, one of her first songs “selfish” was basically about her experimenting with women. Also just about in all of her concerts, she gets fans (mostly females) and well you would have to see it to understand. Anyways anyone who knows Koda Kumi can easily tell she is pretty open minded in general. I do agree though that with some of the others, it’s a stretch..but I think they are saying that in Japan there’s still homophobia..so the fact that they would not mind being associated with the lgbt community in mordern day Japan means that they support it..because otherwise they wouldn’t even want to be associated with it in any way.

    • hasawa

      “Maybe I’m bisexual. I think it’s wrong to live only for men”
      Am I the only one to absolutely not understand the causality there? lol
      Since when being a straight woman means ‘living only for men’ ?

      • elsupertai
        • hasawa

          Well then if you don’t have any other answer about those arguable quotes it probably means that i’m right about the fact they don’t make any sense…

          • elsupertai

            Tbh I don’t think the point could be any clearer. Do they have to exist only for men to like them? Of course not. And they can be powerful and independent regardless of their sexual orientation.

            • hasawa

              (Thank you for finally explaining in an intelligent and intelligible manner)
              I absolutely agree that women shouldn’t exist for men only, but it’s more the “I’m bisexual” that is just before that I found little bit confusing as I took it as “Being bi is better because if you don’t depend on men only” or something like that…

              • anon-y

                tbh, i read it more like “it’s a waste to only limit my sexual interest to gender (or sex)” … since sexuality is more fluid than not, and a lot of folk don’t know what they’re into -more- into until they experience it (all).

                tho for sayaka, i wouldn’t be surprised if she intended it to be inferred multiple ways loll

                • hasawa

                  Ohhh ok I see.. Thank you for explaining it in a clearer (an adult) way.
                  Maybe it was due to a poor translation actually~
                  Regarding the first reply i got to my question (and all the jerks who upvoted it) I really don’t get why how some ppl act so defensive, bitchy and condesending when I was just genuinely asking a question/trying to get educated about something I didn’t get (probably due to bad translation). Some of yall need to chill..

          • Frozen_Tenshi

            it’s saying that why should only men get to enjoy her? lol meaning she’s open to being with women. So she’s bisexual or sexually fluid.

    • SeeYaWithYou

      Don’t forget Hirai Ken!!! He supports gay men by having sex with them

      • *looks for the microphone as penis edit*

      • cosmic lad

        he’s such a DADDY


    • Dalooshe

      Love always wins!

    • Guest

      So many fag hags in one place

    • neko

      Ikuta toma play a transexual in a movie

    • Glad to see quite a few faves on this list. :D

    • goingtojpn

      wow awesome article! very well done! I am happy to see many familiar faces, and to see that Japan is not as old-fashioned in some things like people love to say.

    • juicy

      Ayu and Kuu are the best J-Pop gay divas. I’m sure they are awesome faghags.

    • Encha277

      I never knew that Shigeaki Kato was an ally. He was always my least favorite in NEWS, but I guess he’s now bumped Tegomass to the bottom.

      • Karin~

        shige is very very open-minded, people have always misjudged him, but he is very smart, open-minded and understands a lot of things – i think he has the most understanding of the world around him within NEWS (koyama as well, but shige expresses it more)

    • Maknae

      Nice article! Except the Dean Fujioka one really looks like a stretch… I mean he didn’t “say” or did anything, God knows if he even knew what YoI was about when he wrote the song (IF it was him), nor does the song have anything explicit about their relationship, we don’t even know what he thinks about the song as the opening of the anime, in an interview or smth. Idk, I just thought his part was contrasting with everyone else’s in the list. (I don’t have anything against the guy, I just thought it was weird that just because an artist did a theme song for a shounen-ai anime it means they’re an ally of LGBTQ representation. O_o)

    • Marie

      I love Kiko so much!

    • choz

      Not a celebrity, but I do think Stardust supports LGBTQ. They have FtM trio called SECRET GUYZ, managed by a queer manager and performed at Tokyo Rainbow Pride. They even have a single dedicated to LGBTQ community. Also, Tacoyaki Rainbow’s latest single has a strong LGBTQ nuance.

    • Midna

      My queens are open-minded <3

    • kamben is here

      Hmm I honestly think that Golden Bomber’s Kiryuuin Shou supports LGBT.

      Golden Bomber’s latest National Tour was named ‘All Gays Yuuji on The Second Street’, and the lyrics to the opening song for the tour (titled ‘Attakai, Yuuji’) is totally gay LOL.

      Here are parts of the lyrics:

      Current boyfriend is Sho
      Former boyfriend is Hiroshi
      And before that was with a girl
      A long time ago there was No border
      From tomorrow, I’ll be there
      Don’t stop the chin chin** for all

      Broke into him in
      Suffocating ideals Become only mine
      Everyone’s hole brother
      Now four verses
      Do you wanna hold me tight?

      Broke into him in
      Thick chest board
      Repeatedly visit My self pleasure
      Already We’re hole brothers
      About three verses
      Do you wanna hold me tight?

      Don’t look back Come more over here
      Clap your hands, Shredded Dream & Soul

      Come on!

      There’s no reason to dis Yuuji
      Straight through 2nd street, represents Yuuji
      Anyone can feel his vibes, Yuuji
      But he’s cute, Yuuji
      Born from Love & Peace, Yuuji
      Came as a guest from overseas, Yuuji
      Will forgive all crimes, Yuuji
      Almighty Yuuji


      Also, Kiryuuin has a song titled ‘Fudanshi’ in the past ;)

    • Morganalilith

      I’m sorry but Bl is not pro lgtb, bl is about the fetishization of gay men for the sake of women, don’t put it like being pro lgtb, yoi is only fetishization of gay and figure skaters so I don’t know why is in the list the singer, because that reason all the voice actor that made bl o any gay character should be there too… I find really offense the inclusion of BL.

      • lol wat

        did you ever even watch yoi? morgan?

        • Morganalilith

          yes I did, and read interviews too… and that is my opinion, and the opinion of more people, from the anime and interviews, watch doukyuusei for example and compare how being gay is portrayed.

          Sorry late reply, right now i saw it.

    • MoocowPoorchick

      I know you can’t know about everyone or include all of them in the article, but Gackt and Saito Takumi are allies too.
      Since I saw it mentioned in the comments: kissing another man to make little girls scream is not showing support for the lgbt community. It’s fan service. Making somebody else’s sexuality or identy into a fetish is pretty much the exact opposite of being helpful.

      • Nif

        Yes, Saito.

    • hhhh

      Is the Koda Kumi entry a joke?

    • Meipon

      Pikarin is bisexual and like taking chances sometimes

    • Sakura Kou

      I am ok with LGBA but the T people freak me out and the non binary stuff , I agree that sexuality is not choice , but the whole mess of transgenders and transexuals just not right for me and I don’t support it .