During a free fan event at Line Cube Shibuya in Tokyo on Wednesday (July 26), the Kyoto-born singer officially came out to his fans as a gay man. Speaking to a crowd of approximately 2,000 fans according to a press release, Atae spoke at length about his decision to come out and what he hoped it meant for fans struggling with a similar process.
Atae then took to his Instagram to announce the news to the rest of his fans who were unable to attend the event. “To all my fans, today was a very special day for me,” he wrote. “For years, I struggled to accept a part of myself … but now, after all I have been through, I finally have the courage to open up to you about something. I am a gay man.”
Acknowledging that for a long time he “could not even say it” to himself, the J-pop singer said that he eventually accepted who he was and decided to share his truth with the world. “I’ve come to realize it is better, both for me, and for the people I care about, including my fans, to live life authentically than to live a life never accepting who I truly am,” he wrote.
Atae first debuted as a founding member of the popular J-pop group AAA, which debuted in 2005 and went on hiatus in 2021. Since joining the group, Atae also began his own solo music career, which has garnered him over 11,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
To celebrate his coming out, Atae released a new song and music video titled “Into the Light.” Throughout the English track, Atae details living life as different versions of himself before stepping into the titular light, telling his fans that “You opened the door/ So I could open my heart.”
Along with revealing that he would be releasing the full footage of his speech from the fan event on Thursday (July 27), Atae closed his Instagram post by thanking his fans for their unwavering support throughout his career. “When I think of my work in the entertainment industry and the many things for which I am grateful, it is my relationship with my fans that first comes to mind,” he wrote. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for standing beside me over the years. I’d also like to thank my family, friends, staff members and my fellow AAA members for providing me their full support throughout this process.”
Check out Shinjiro Atae’s full Instagram post, as well as his music video for “Into the Light,” below: