Hikaru Utada came out as non-binary to raise awareness of gender identities in Japan

Hikaru Utada speaks to Zane Lowe on Apple Music. (Photo: Apple Music)
Hikaru Utada speaks to Zane Lowe on Apple Music. (Photo: Apple Music)

Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada recently spoke to New Zealand DJ Zane Lowe on Apple Music about their latest album Bad Mode, and revealed their thoughts about coming out as non-binary.

“When I came across the term non-binary for the first time, which was, I guess, a few years ago, it wasn't a question of, ‘Am I, or am I not?’ It was like, ‘Whoa! Where was this word my whole life? Hello! We finally meet.’ It was like a gift. The knowledge of just knowing that, it was very... It was such a validating moment. I didn't even realise how much I had needed the term,” said Utada.

Last June, which was also Pride Month, Utada came out as non-binary through their Instagram livestream.

Their Instagram page indicates that they now use "she/they" pronouns.

Non-binary people don't identify as being either fully male or female. Other terms to describe this gender identity include "genderqueer" and "agender", although each term may mean slightly different things. Basically, gender identities fall along a spectrum, and not everyone falls under the binary framework of "male and female". Some non-binary people use the gender-neutral pronouns "they/them".

Utada also disclosed in the Apple Music interview that they felt strange their whole life and did not have anyone who could relate to what they felt about their body or gender. When they came across the word and found out that there were many who actually felt the same way, they were relieved.

Utada went on to explain that these issues about sexualities and gender identities were very misunderstood in Japan due to the lack of discussion and visibility. They felt a sense of responsibility that they should start the ball rolling with their coming out.

“There were people writing to me saying they're scared, not necessarily about being trans or non-binary, but just about identity in general. They're scared to be who they are, or they don't know who they are anymore because they've lived their whole lives trying to be liked by other people. People are scared of losing the support and love of their families or losing their jobs and things like that,” said Utada.

The full interview with Hikaru Utada is available on Apple Music.