Rina Sawayama has given an emotional speech about LGBTQ+ rights in Japan.
On stage at the Summer Sonic Festival, the singer – who identifies as bisexual and pansexual – delivered a powerful statement about the lack of LGBTQ+ protections in the country.
“I’m bisexual, but if I try to have a same-sex marriage here, I can’t,” said Rina. “It’s not allowed in Japan. Out of the G7 countries it’s the only one that doesn’t have that protection.”
Although a landmark ruling from 2021 declared that queer citizens should have the right to get married in the country, a Japanese court recently ruled that banning same-sex marriage is constitutional.
Currently, Japan’s constitution defines marriage as “mutual consent between both sexes” and doesn’t recognise marriage equality.
As an alternative to marriage, some municipalities within the country have issued non-legally binding certificates which allow partners to rent apartments together, grant hospital visitations and allow certain employment benefits.
In her speech, Rina continued to say that “this is something really embarrassing”, adding: “Something that would accept me and my friends, my chosen family, a fair law. Do you think we should have equal rights?
“If you think we should, please with us, for us, please keep on fighting. LGBT people are human beings. LGBT people are Japanese. Love is love. Family is family. Let’s fight together.”
Rina Sawayama speaking on LGBT rights in Japan at Summer Sonic, Tokyo (crowd view)pic.twitter.com/ZlIK15BchV
— Rina Sawayama Updates (@RinaSawaUpdates) August 20, 2022
Rina has proudly discussed her Japanese heritage throughout her career, with the lead single from her self-titled debut album, STFU!, tackling microaggressions against Asian people.
The star is currently preparing for the release of her sophomore album, Hold the Girl, which has been promoted with three critically-acclaimed pop anthems: This Hell, Catch Me in the Air and the title track.
According to a recent interview with The Guardian, the album explores “genres I don’t feel like I touched in the first record” and is inspired by Madonna’s Ray of Light and Music, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, “the Irish coastline” (such as The Corrs) and country music.
In 2023, Rina will make her film acting debut in the third John Wick sequel as a character called Akira.
Chapter 4 will see the return of Keanu Reeves as the title character, and also stars Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Clancy Brown, Scott Adkins, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ian McShane and Shamier Anderson.
Hold the Girl is due for release on 16 September.
Watch the incredible video for the title track here or below.