Rina Sawayama makes passionate plea for marriage equality on stage in Japan: ‘Love is love’

Rina Sawayama. (Steve Jennings_WireImage)

Japanese-British pop singer Rina Sawayama has given a powerful message in support of LGBTQ+ rights in Japan. 

The singer/songwriter and model, who came out as bi and pansexual in 2018, was performing at the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan when she gave an emotional speech about LGBTQ+ marriage rights. 

“I’m bisexual, but if I try to have a same-sex marriage here, I can’t,” she said at the event.

“It’s not allowed in Japan. Out of the G7 countries it’s the only one that doesn’t have that protection.

“This is something really embarrassing. Something that would accept me and my friends, my chosen family, a fair law – (Do you think we should have equal rights?) If you think we should, please with us, for us, please keep on fighting.

“LGBT people are human beings. LGBT people are Japanese. Love is love. Family is family. Let’s fight together.”

Japan does not currently have any national legislation ensuring LGBTQ+ people are from discrimination and, ahead of the Tokyo 2022 Olympics, a new campaign was founded to encourage the introduction of new protections.

Article 24 of the Japanese constitution, and Articles 731 to 737 of the Japanese civil code, currently exclude rights for same-sex couples to get married. Same-sex couples married abroad are also not recognised in Japan.

Rina Sawayama: ‘There’s still a lot of shame’

Rina Sawayama opened up about her sexuality during an interview with Vice saying: “The truth for me is that it’s so great I’m able to identify as queer, but realistically, there’s still a lot of shame – from parents or from past experiences.”

Sawayama has been vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community throughout her career. In  she called out celebrities speaking poorly of trans people in 2020 during an interview with Sky News.

LGBTQ+ rights in the UK are backtracking. I think trans people have known this for so long, but just having so many famous people advocating for being TERFS… It’s been a really eye-opening moment,” she said. 

Her debut album Sawayama was released to critical acclaim in 2020, and she drops the follow-up, Hold That Girl, on September 16.