Japanese Pop Star Shinjiro Atae Comes Out as Gay

Japanese singer Shinjiro Atae is opening up about his sexuality.

On July 26, the J-pop star announced that he is gay while giving an emotional speech at a fan event in Tokyo.

“I respect you and believe you deserve to hear this directly from me,” he told the audience of about 2,000, reading from a letter, according to The New York Times. “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.”

The 34-year-old added, “I don’t want people to struggle like me.”

Atae said moving from Japan—where same-Sex marriage is illegal—to Los Angeles seven years ago was a big change. “Everyone was so open,” said the pop star of his experience in California. “People would talk about their vulnerabilities. In Japan, people think it’s best not to talk about those things.”

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