J-Pop star Shinjiro Atae has opened up about his coming out journey in a new statement.
Back in July, the 34-year-old made waves when he came out as gay during a performance in Tokyo, Japan.
“It has taken me a long time to be able to say I am gay,” the singer shared. “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,” he said during his heartfelt speech.
“However, I’ve come to realise 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.”
Since making his heartwarming announcement, Shinjiro has slowly started to open up about his coming out journey.
In a new open letter for Teen Vogue, the beloved talent revealed that his life “doesn’t feel real” since making his aforementioned announcement.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet. It doesn’t feel real. A week ago, I came out to the world as a gay man at Line Club Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan,” he wrote.
“I was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. But my friends and family were there, and their love is why I could do it.”
Elsewhere in his letter, Shinjiro revealed that he has been slowly coming out to family and friends for “many years.”
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“Two and a half years ago to my mom, and five years ago to one of my best friends, which is my first time coming out in the Japanese language,” he explained.
Shinjiro went on to say that he has known about his gay identity since he was a kid, even when he wasn’t quite sure how to label it.
“All the words I grew up listening to – the comedians on TV mocking gay people, the kindergarten teacher who told me to choose blue over pink, the boys at school who would talk about girls – all of them, were in Japanese,” he continued.
“It’s the first language in which I understood that part of me was wrong.”
The ‘Into The Light’ singer added that his feelings of shame got worse when he made his debut as a member of AAA, which left him suppressing his identity, not only in Japan but also in the US.
“I felt empty inside. I couldn’t be out in the US, and I couldn’t be gay in Japan. So where could I live?” he said. “All I have ever wanted is to be happy. I didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
Towards the end of his letter, Shinjiro admitted that his coming out journey is far from over.
“This is all new to me, I’m not used to it; I don’t feel “out” out. I might have come out, but I haven’t arrived yet,” he said.
“But if you’re reading this, I want you to know that you are not alone.”
Check out Shinjiro’s emotional open letter here.