Hikaru Utada, one of the biggest selling artists in Japan, has announced that they are nonbinary.
In a recent livestream, the artist said, “You know, it’s the month of June, and I’m nonbinary. So, Happy Pride Month!”
Born in New York, Utada made their debut at the age of 15 with the album First Love, which went on to become the biggest-selling Japanese album, moving over 11 million copies globally. A string of smash hits followed.
With Utada’s announcement, Japanese morning TV explained to viewers what nonbinary means. These topics of conversation don’t typically show up on Japanese morning TV and will most certainly raise awareness in Japan.
Earlier this month, Utada discussed gender markers on Instagram and how traditional prefixes made them uncomfortable.
I’m sick of being asked if I’m “Miss or Missus” or choosing between “Miss/Mrs/Ms” for everyday things😩 It makes me uncomfortable to be identified so markedly by my marital status or sex, and I don’t relate to any of those prefixes. Every time, I feel like I’m forced to misrepresent myself. I long for an alternative option, one that anybody of any gender or social standing could use.
…After writing thus far I looked it up and discovered that “Mx.” (pronounced as “mix”) has been suggested! That’s awesome and I hope it becomes more widely used. I’m afraid my idea for a neutral prefix has come too late…
In an accompanying image, Utada wrote, “Mys. Utada (“Mystery” Utada).”
They have a strong connection to gaming, appearing in Nintendo’s Japanese ads for the DS handhelds and kicking ass at Nintendo-sponsored Tetris tournaments. They also have provided the themes to the Kingdom Hearts games with the tracks “Simple and Clean”, “Sanctuary”, “Don’t Think Twice”, and “Face My Fears”.
Utada’s most recent track is “Pink Blood,” which can be watched below:
Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.
No offense, but I think this article, and some people out there are really reaching.
She’s seems to be saying she wants to use a neutral term to refer to herself that doesn’t carry any particular baggage. None of the terms she was aware of worked, presumably because of the implied baggage misrepresenting her, leading her to look for a term that had no baggage/other implications.
Her issue in her quote seemed to say nothing about gender markers, but about marker of marital status which, in English, are applied specifically to women. i.e. it sounds like it’s about being weirded out by representing yourself in relation to your marriage status (or in the case of Ms., making a point of not doing so… the act of which is still doing so).
The alternative is this grown woman (who is just as American as she is Japanese) is completely unaware the general debate around gender (very unlikely)… when it’s far more likely she is aware of it but didn’t know the term Mx (which is far more believable, and TBH, I didn’t either).