Former Hello!Project leader Ayaka Wada: “I’ve liked girls before; I never knew my own sexuality”

Former Hello!Project leader Ayaka Wada recently held a lengthy interview with QJWeb, along with Mikity from the idol group Nichoume no Sakigate Coming Out, an indie idol group consisting of gay men.

The two mainly chatted about idol culture and the topic of diversity. In the past few years members of Negicco supported still being idols even after they get married, and Yuki Kashiwagi declaring she doesn’t want to graduate AKB48 even when she turns 30.

When the topic eventually moved on to gay people, Wada shared some insight on her personal life which came as a pleasant surprise for many fans.

Wada asked Mikity how in previous interviews he talked about struggling to force himself to be funny just because he’s gay. Mikity went on to explain that while there’s quite a few popular gay people on TV, virtually all of them are comedians, have clever catchphrases etc. As a result this gives Shinjuku Ni-chōme (a popular gay district in Japan) the image that everyone is just bubbly.

Mikity found that whenever people found out he was gay, most people expected him to be funny and comedic so he would force himself to act a certain way to appease that.

Wada went on to say that many people around her would constantly say that they wanted to have gay friends, but at the same time would contradict themselves by being against same sex relationships. She couldn’t understand why so many people in her generation had this mindset.

S/mileage (2010)

Wada shared that at that time she was personally struggling with her sexuality. She had fallen in love with the same sex before, and was still confused. “I lived for 25 years not knowing my sexuality and not knowing where I was at in life“. Another reason for the “bewilderment” of her sexuality was due to the oppressions she felt being a woman, which of course doesn’t need an explanation.

Studying art in University helped Wada question whether or not the world was too confining or not, and through art she came to really understand how important it is to try and address those contradictions. Becoming friends with people who come from different walks of life like Mikity also helped her.

Wada further went on to say that besides gender there’s people who also have huge issues with race and nationality. People who have these preconceived notions of gay people just creates confusion and results in poor communication overall.

She closed the interview by saying that looking back she’s made statements that she feels extremely embarrassed about, but that was before she had a deeper knowledge of the subject or tried something. Wada continues to read and study regularly so she can continue to learn about various topics.

In 2002 Wada auditioned for “Hello! Project Kids”, after making it to the final round she dropped out. In 2004 she auditioned again joining Hello!Project’s trainee program Hello Pro Egg. In 2009 she was selected to be a member of the group S/mileage, the following year they made their major debut with the single “Yumemiru Fifteen”.

In 2014 S/mileage changed their name to ANGERME, and two years later in 2016 Wada was appointed as the leader of Hello!Project. In June 2019 she graduated from both Hello!Project and ANGERME.