KICKSTART THIS: Your Eyes Won’t Believe “Queer Japan”
When we think of Japan, our minds usually go to its kooky inventions, anime superheroes, mind-blowingly weird movies or its super-gonorrhea. But the island nation also has a thriving queer scene that’s actually weirder and more distinctly Japanese than any of its other exports: we’re talking tank-top fashions for comic-book-loving bears, nude public dancers who mix Japanese dance with golden body paint, artists who craft cutesy cartoon vaginas and neon-color drag queens slaying Tokyo’s nightlife.
Director Graham Kolbeins and co-writer Anne Ishii want to share this side of Japan in their documentary Queer Japan and are currently raising money to do so. At the time of this writing, they need about $30,000 more to make their dream a reality, but what’s cool is that they’ll also use the money to make online videos, traveling gallery exhibitions and a photo book with extended interviews — a real cultural contribution that will show life for gender and sexual minorities in Japan to a worldwide audience.