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Japanese Popstar Shinjiro Atae Came Out While Performing on Stage

Japanese Popstar Shinjiro Atae Came Out While Performing on Stage

Shinjiro Atae
Instagram (@446_double_four_six)

This was an unusual move for a singer in conservative Japan.

Coming out of the closet in front of 2,000 concertgoers – now that’s a statement!

As reported by The New York Times, 34-year-old singer Shinjiro Atae came out as gay while performing in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday, July 26. Atae is best known for being a part of the J-pop group AAA, which dissolved in 2021.

After taking a two-year hiatus from live shows, Atae performed to a crowd of 2,000 fans and made a surprising revelation for a Japanese popstar. He revealed onstage:

“I respect you and believe you deserve to hear this directly from me. For years, I struggled to accept a part of myself. But now, after all I have been through, I finally have the courage to open up to you about something. I am a gay man.”

On Instagram, Atae shared an extended version of the letter he wrote to announce his coming-out.

“It has taken me a long time to be able to say I am gay,” he explained. “I could not even say it to myself. 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. I hope people who are struggling with the same feeling will find courage and know they are not alone.”

Atae added, “I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for standing beside me over the years. I’d also like to thank my family, friends, staff members and my fellow AAA members for providing me their full support throughout this process.”

For context, Japan is the only country in the G7 that hasn’t legalized same-sex marriage, even as of 2023. After getting pressure from human rights advocacy groups, lawmakers passed a “watered-down LGBTQ+ understanding bill” that supports the understanding – but offers no actual legal protection – of LGBTQ+ people in Japan, which was reported by CNN.

Atae was undoubtedly very brave to share his story, which will hopefully be inspiring for queer people living in Japan. Congratulations to this superstar!

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