We caught up with Upriser Amiide, a Tokyo-based artist in the trio Cirrrcle, and chatted with her about how she is using her platform to become the face of Japan's LGBTQ+ community.

Everything is going to be fine, everything gets better, when you dream it’s possible, and you will be loved by somebody for sure.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Amiide. I am originally from Kobe, Japan but I moved to California when I was 18 and lived in LA for six years. Then I came back to Japan and am currently doing music here. 

Why is PRIDE Month important to you?

Our environment is getting better but we still have discrimination every day. We still have sad events, for example, the incident that happened in England. We still need to show people that we are all equal. During this month we can celebrate who we are and embrace who we are.

What is the LGBTQ+ community like in Japan and how is it different from LA?



In Japan most people are still in the closet especially in the workplace and also especially for lesbian women. I never really met anyone who was out in a regular situation outside of the gay districts. So it is totally different from LA because in LA everyone seems to be out. Meeting openly gay people in Japan is rare. We have a community, Ni-Chome which is like Japan’s WeHo. We have lesbian bars, gay bars, and lgbtq+ events but I feel like that is the only place where we can meet those people.

The government is still old school and I think that it will take time to change the law. However, some couples sued the government for not giving them permission to get married. There are some of the cities in Tokyo that allow partnership. It’s not a marriage, so it can’t do a lot, but still some cities are trying to change and hopefully in the near future laws will change. I recently walked in a Tokyo Pride parade and people were doing high fives on the road which was an amazing feeling because I didn’t know that there was so much support in Japan.

In Japan there are few people that are open so I want to make a change . . . I want to be the face so that people can feel safe when they come out.

What is the biggest challenge you see for the LGBTQ+ community in Japan? How are you changing it?

I never really faced any difficulties in my life because I lived in LA for six years and I think that is why I am more open about it. In Japan, there are few people that are open so I want to make a change. That is why I’m trying to vocalize it and build confidence in the LGBTQ+ community. I want to be the face so that people can feel safe when they come out.

Cirrrcle is a really diverse group, one of us is me, a lesbian, one of us is typical Japanese businessman and the other is a black dude who basically grew up in Japan. 

From the beginning we kept saying that we are diverse, we are unique and in Japan people really don’t see that kind of diversity. We [Japan] have a term called gaijin, or outsiders, so we still have that prejudice against diversity and the lgbtq+ community. It is getting better but compared to other countries but for Japanese people foreigners are foreigners.

So you are a part of the music group Cirrrcle. Tell us about that and how you are using it as a platform to reach your community.

We are definitely using our platform to tell others that we are regular ordinary people that are just trying to make music. We hope that when people see us and if people can relate to us that would be good. In our music we talk about our everyday life, regular things like love, friendship, people. It’s because we are making a type of music that we call "happy hip-hop" because we want everyone to listen and relate to our lyrics.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

Everything is going to be fine, everything gets better, when you dream it’s possible, and you will be loved by somebody for sure. 

 

 

 

 

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You can follow Amiide on Instagram @amiidemusic
Listen to CIRRRCLE @cirrrclemusic

 

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