Welcome to the GAY LOVE SERIES. Presenting gay, lesbian and bisexual romance stories from Japan. This really great story comes from Japan. Koji and Shiba participated in an interview for a great magazine (link is at the bottom of the article). These two very cool gay guys are talking about their marriage. Their story is very romantic. And, best of all it is true. Let’s listen to their answers.
In this instalment of the romance series, we jump on the love train and travel with Koji and Shiba on their thoughts on love, marriage and adventures. They are best known for their recent gay marriage proposal captured on video, in Japan! Their travel videos have over the past few months become a quick vicarious get-away for many viewers. They are chained bound to their desks and stuck in a vicious-cycle to serve corporate capitalism. Thankfully for their videos, they remind us that year end is just around the corner and respite can finally materialize… soon.
We delve into a light-hearted conversation with them. We love their candid responses to the questions. So, to retain that essence, I’ve decided to give them to you in the most genuine form – the interview in itself. Enjoy the interview with this lovely gay couple!
Q: Congratulations on your recent matrimony! Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Shiba: I grew up in Osaka and I’m now 34. I like filming and playing music, travelling the world, and exploring the possibilities of life with my husband.
Koji: I grew up in Shizuoka, Japan, and I have a younger brother and a sister. After I finished my graduate school, we started our business together and have been doing this for 10 years now. My dream is have a family and be in the moment. I love to challenge myself a lot and continue to upkeep that passion to explore. Now, I find joy in videography and photography – especially in travel pictures with my husband (Shiba)!
ELEMENT: How did your love story begin?
K&S: We met each other as straight guys first. We do not want to complicate our first meeting. Shiba was then studying to become a pilot, while Koji already achieved his private pilot license. So our love story really began as average buddies in a teaching and studying relationship. It was through spending time and travelling to different countries that our relationship developed into partners. (Smiley face)
Q: How did the proposal happen?
Koji: We were happy in our relationship for 10 years, and never thought of the possibility of marriage. However, Shiba was surprised to be proposed (as seen in the video) – he only knew of that when there and then.
Q: Would you consider you love story to be a fairy-tale?
K&S: We don’t think our story is a fairy-tale at all, but (rather think) this our love story is a common one as with everybody else. (Both smiled sheepishly)
Q: In you opinion, what is the acceptance level of the LGBT community in Japan at this point?
K&S: We are not sure if LGBT is a widely accepted thing yet in Japan to tell the truth. We can even get into trouble renting a house as a gay couple and celebrating our wedding without discrimination was an issue. Nevertheless, if we allow our hearts to carefully express with sincerity our hopes and dreams, taking the appropriate action can change the society’s view of the LGBT community eventually. Japan is on the way! So, we are very excited for the young generation to be easier on themselves to become more liberal.
Q: What does gay marriage mean for the two of you? Is a marriage certificate important?
K&S: Personally, the certificate is just a promise and significant only to us. Unrestricted and free beliefs to the concept of love is the more important thing for us. But if the society requires a marriage certificate to prove social activities, then a certificate is only as important for the social eyes, and be published to whoever who needs it.
Q: Do you have any advice for members of the community who are looking to be married in the next year?
K&S: We always have the authority to be who we want to be and who we want to love. If you are looking to be married someday, dream, believe and the day will eventually come.
Q: How did you go about telling your family members about the proposal?
Shiba: We both told our parents only after we got married (laughs!!!). This is not uncommon for us as we usually only report anything after an event – it is our style. We like to make decisions ourselves without compromising to people. We are free-spirited this way. Koji’s parents required time to understand about the LGBT community and our way of life. But when we announced it, Koji’s father said, “You guys love each other. So, we are happy because you are happy.” That was that. It was a very heartwarming moment for all of us. If I could say here as well, sorry mom and dad, I love you!
Q: Tell us more about the video you filmed on your proposal.
Koji: Actually, it took us completely by surprise that there are so many viewers on YouTube or Facebook. We made it solely for our personal web diary to record and look back down the road. We wanted to keep memories of our youth. So, we were not prepared for it to be so popular over the country.
Q: Any final words to our readers?
K&S: Thank you so much for watching our YouTube videos and giving us sweet and encouraging comments. We are so glad that we could share our favourite Japanese traditional wedding to you. We think there are still many negative stereotypes for the LGBT community in Japan and the rest of Asia, but as long as we have a mind to defy conventions, live the life we want, we should be happy. Life is good!
How do you like this gay romance? The whole story told by Koji and Shiba is so realistic and optimistic. That does not kill the romance between them. These two guys from Japan live their romance in full and deserve to be congratulated. Let’s all wish them much more happiness and mutual love.
Melvin Chew vacillates between writing and working in a business environment because he knows that writing cannot be his means to an end – not in Singapore anyway. He is working to publish his collection of articles, to give the marginalised communities a voice, and hopes to collate them soon. Get to know him at melvinchew.com
This article was originally published by ELEMENTMAN Asia. Warmly recommended source of news and stories from Asia.