20 Japanese Celebrities Who Have Shown Support for the LGBTQ Community

Mika Nakashima

In May 2017, singer Mika Nakashima was the headline performer at the “TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE 2017” event.

She described performing at the event as “a dream come true“. Mika further explained that hopefully events like this continue to play a huge part in helping to erase the prejudice and discrimination LGBTQ people face daily.

Furthermore, last year Mika attended a gay wedding of which she posted a photo of the happy newlyweds, expressing how proud she was to witness such an event.

Utada Hikaru

In 2010, singer Utada Hikaru posted a picture on her blog of six baseballs with drawings on them, including a bear holding a sign that says “Legalize gay M[arriage]” and outed her teddy bear, Kuma, as gay.

Utada wrote:

Gay Kuma series :)

Macho-gay Kuma, girly-gay Kuma, and drag queen Kuma!

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever really explained it here, but Kuma really is gay (he’s a boy but likes men only, no interest in girls…) so these illustrations flowed pretty naturally.

Oh, did I just out Kuma?

In 2016, Twitter user @KimuraShizuka baited Utada into speaking out about the LGBTQ community following the release of her song “Tomodachi” (which is written from the perspective of a gay friend), preaching sexual fluidity and alluding to belonging to the community herself.

Matsuko Deluxe

TV Personality Matsuko Deluxe, himself, is a gay man known for his cross-dressing stage persona, as well as his pro-gay remarks and sexuality. But his visibility as a top entertainer is no doubt important to spreading the message of the LGBT community.

Deluxe has said:

People whose thoughts you can’t understand are scary; those who go against one’s wish are even scarier. People recognize others as enemies if they feel fear towards them. To think about sexuality means thinking about human beings. The more you think about it, the more you feel you are different from others. This is not because you are gay or because you are lesbian. This is because YOU are totally different from everyone. There is no need to fight with those who feel fear. Instead, what we must fight against is the foolishness of those who cannot accept people “different” from them. …That’s what I keep telling myself again and again.

Ayumi Hamasaki

Singer Ayumi Hamasaki and her support for the gay community doesn’t exactly need any explanation if you have followed her career. Her most frequent collaborators have been gay, including photographer Leslie Kee, former stylist Alvin Goh, and producer/drag queen Timothy Wellard.

The music video for the song “how beautiful you are” from her 13th album Party Queen was lauded as the first Japanese music video to feature gay kisses (of actual couples). The Tokyo Pride Parade used it as their theme song in 2012, citing it as a “video that celebrated a variety of love.” Hamasaki responded:

I’m so happy that my song has been chosen because ever since I was young, I have been able to see the various sides of life in Nichome [the gay district in Shinjuku]. Have a lovely closing ceremony for the parade.

Ayu’s former backup dancer Lico, who has choreographed for AKB48 and SMAP and danced for Namie Amuro in the past, transitioned from male to female after departing from the singer’s troupe in 2007. She starred alongside Hamasaki in the music video “XOXO” in 2014.

Akie Abe, wife of the current Prime Minister of Japan

In 2014, Japan’s first lady Akie Abe – wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – chose to show her support for the LGBT community by taking part in the third annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride event. The then 51-year-old wife of the highly conservative premier stood in all white on a float with a drag queen as the parade with over 3,000 participants plowed through the streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

The first lady is popular for her somewhat liberal inclinations, a fresh approach to balance her husband’s hawkish politics.

I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” Abe wrote on her Facebook later, also mentioning that she had been involved in LBGT awareness efforts since she joined a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal the previous year.

Miliyah Kato

R&B singer Miliyah Kato has lent her star-power to campaign for various HIV/AIDS foundations throughout her career.

Miliyah’s 2014 album “LOVELAND”  included a song called”PRIDE“. The sweet love song is an ode to LGBTQ relationships, which are clearly expressed in the lyrics. An excerpt of “PRIDE” can be seen below.

I’ll embrace you and won’t separate
Eternally you make me crazy
Hold you tight, a lady just for me
I show my mind
We need to fly
What’s on your mind ?
It goes around
Oh baby baby baby baby baby
Fallin fallin fallin fallin fallin
By me as we can feel each other
Spreading a rainbow-colored flag
Waiting for the return naked
I show my mind
We need to fly
What’s on your mind ?
It goes around yeah

They often say “You’re unusual”
They mock us saying “You’re crazy”
A sweet scent, you’re beautiful
“They can say anything really”
Innocently with a serious face
Huddling bodies together in the crowd of people
You murmur mischievously
I like that about you, that’s why I get worried

Everyone doesn’t need to understand
May I chose a way of life like that ?
(I don’t know why. Why ? Oh world)
(Won’t you leave us be a bit ?)
Licking each other’s wounds softly
Shut up in a happy room
(Cause we don’t need criticism)
(Because I believe and gaze only at you)
As long as we can live on together ah ah ah ah

(via NautilJon)

Additionally, Miliyah’s music video for her song “Kamisama” featured former choreographer couple Ayabambi.

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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.

    • Bubi.

      Ayumi Hamasaki – Green

      https://i.imgur.com/hvvJ54a.jpg

      Ayumi Hamasaki – A Ballads
      https://i.imgur.com/g4DQzdE.jpg

      Ayumi Hamasaki – RAINBOW
      https://i.imgur.com/3I4czDZ.jpg

      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.

    • 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 .