Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Miho of L Japan


Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.


This week I interviewed the other half of L Japan, the new youtube channel about a young international lesbian couple in Japan, Clare’s partner Miho. This was all thanks to Clare, who kindly translated my questions to Miho into Japanese, and then translated her responses into English. I’ve decided to show both languages today. Perhaps we’ll all learn some Japanese or English, and maybe this will get a wider audience? Okay, onto the interview!

TGG: Could you introduce yourself and your channel to our readers? (自己紹介とチャンネルの紹介をしてください。)

Miho: 私は美帆です。奈良出身の日本人で、アメリカ人のクレアと付き合っています。去年の11月にYouTubeチャンネルを始めました。 チャンネルは、彼女とのカップルチャンネル「L Japan」で、女同士である二人でお話とか遊びとかするチャンネルです。あとは彼女のクレアが英語でレズビアンに関する動画を作ることもあります。 My name is Miho. I am Japanese, from Nara, and I my girlfriend, Clare, is American. We started our YouTube channel last November. Our channel “L Japan” is mostly a couple’s channel where we talk about certain topics or do fun activities together. Clare also makes videos in English about being a lesbian in Japan.

TGG: Thank you for your bravery in starting your channel. Can you explain to our non-Japanese readers what it’s like for the current generation of Japanese LGBT? (勇気を出してチャンネルを始めてくれてありがとうございます。外国の方のために日本のLGBTQの現状を教えてもらえますか?)

Miho: 日本のLGBTQの現状ですね。「LGBTQ」という言葉は最近知られてきたと思います。理解が進んでる気もします。例を挙げれば、「パートナーシップ制度」の導入とか。とはいえ、言葉だけを知っている感じもあります。TVニュースでも「流行りの」という前置詞も付けて、ちょっと違和感があります。 個人的には、実際にまだまだ日本人は無関心が多いと思います。でもこれはLGBTQの問題だけではなくて、自分に直接関係のないことに対しては興味を抱かないのかもしれません。 周りには当事者がいないという先入観があるように感じます。その為、パートナーシップ制度や同性婚などに対して賛成でも反対でもなく、どっちでもいいといった意見が出てくるのでしょうか。 日本では海外に比べるとメディアに登場するLGBTQの有名人は限られています。例えば、ゲイ=オネエ系・ドラッグクイーンなどといったイメージが強いかもしれません。実際テレビなどではそのような方達しかほとんど見かけません。 その点、海外では様々なジャンルでLGBTQの方達が活躍していて目にする機会が多いのは素晴らしい事だと思います。 日本は多様性を謳う一方で、やはりまだ身近にリアルに感じることが難しいのでしょう なので、耳にはするけど、深くは考えないのですかね。 As for the current situation of LGBTQ in Japan, I think the word “LGBTQ” is becoming more known recently. I think there is progress in the understanding of it, too. For example, the number of cities implementing same-sex “partnerships” is increasing. However, I also feel that people only know OF the word, and I feel uncomfortable hearing it on the news being called a “recent trend”. Personally, I think many Japanese people still just don’t care about it. But that isn’t just about LGBTQ issues; I think Japanese people tend to not care about things that don’t directly affect them. I also feel that there is a preconception that there are no LGBTQ people around, so people don’t agree or disagree with the recent “partnership” systems or same-sex marriages; I guess either way is fine for them. Compared to foreign media, the LGBTQ people we see on Japanese TV is very limited. For example, gay men are usually shown to be the same as cross-dressers or drag queens. Those are really the only LGBTQ people that are on Japanese television. I really admire foreign media for showing various types of sexualities in different ways. While Japan likes to celebrate diversity, I think it’s still difficulty to feel like that is the reality. In conclusion, I think we are hearing words like “LGBTQ” more often recently, but Japanese people are not thinking too deeply about it.

TGG: I asked the same question of Clare, but what do you hope to achieve with the channel (in Japan and/or globally)? (クレアさんにも同じ質問を伺いましたが、このチャンネルを通してどんなことを果たしたいですか?)

Miho: チャンネルを始めたきっかけは、実は知らないうちにクレアが始めて、私も楽しそうと思ったから一緒にやっています。 「LGBTQ」とか「レズビアン」のことも含め、私とクレアは男女のカップルとほとんど変わらないということを見せたいと思っています。 最終的に、いつか「LGBTQ」という言葉が無くなったらいいなと思います。 私という人間は性的指向だけで創られているわけではありません。 あくまでも私を表現する一部にすぎないのです。 To be honest, Clare started the channel on her own, and I thought it would be fun, so I just went along with it. However, as we started making videos, I began to want to show how we as a couple are no different from male-female couples, in addition to discussion topics related to lesbianism and LGBTQ issues in Japan. My hope is that one day we don’t have a need for the word “LGBTQ”. I am not my sexuality. It’s no more than a word to express one part of myself.

TGG: What is your favourite video you’ve made so far, and what do you hope to do in the future? (作った動画の中一番気に入ったのはどれですか?そして、これからどんな動画を作っていきたいですか?)

Miho: 動画はまだまだ少ないですけど、一番気に入ったのは『出会ったきっかけ』です。なぜかというと、その時の感情を思い出せるからです。 これからは、くだらない遊びであったり、デートの様子であったり、たまに真面目なことについての動画を作っていきたいと思います。特に二人にしかできない動画を作りたくて、国際同性カップルに関することや、日本に限らず海外の人たちにも知られたいし、海外の事情も知りたいし、色んな方々と交流したいです。 We still don’t have many videos, but my favorite is our “How We Met” video. The reason is because I can remember the feelings of that time. Hereafter, I want to make videos of us joking around, out on dates, and sometimes talking about more serious topics. I especially want to make videos that only we can make, such as videos about being same-sex partners who are also of two different nationalities. I also wish that our videos will be enjoyed by people not just in Japan but also overseas, and I want to network with and learn about lots of different people all over the world.

TGG: It now has English Captions (press the CC button on Youtube)

TGG: How can we best support you (i.e. where can we find your channel, follow you on social media, buy your stuff etc) (閲覧者はどうすればあなたたちを応援できますか?そして、どうやってチャンネルをみつけますか?ほかのSNSでもフォローできますか?)

Miho: YouTubeチャンネルは「L Japan」そのまま検索できます。SNSはインスタとツイッターがあって、両方同じく「@ljapan_youtube」で、両方クレアが担当しています。あとはハッシュタッグで「#LJapan」、「#国際同性カップル」と「#lesbianinjapan」で検索もできると思います。 チャンネル登録をしてくれることと、質問やコメントをしていただけたらうれしいです。これからも皆さんに面白くて役に立つ動画を作りたいからです。 Our YouTube channel “L Japan” can be found just be searching the name. As for other social media, we have a Twitter and an Instagram, both “@ljapan_youtube”, and both run by Clare. We also use the hashtages “#LJapan”, “#国際同性カップル” (international/binational same-sex couple), and “#lesbianinjapan”, so you can probably find us through those as well. We would love it for people to subscribe, and leave lots of comments and questions on our videos so that we can make more videos that are interesting and useful for all of our viewers.

Latest video:


Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfnKa_uXqCG_J0Z8l51uHiQ
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ljapan_youtube/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ljapan_youtube

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