Yes, they are two straight guys. And yes, they are kissing.
In Japan, one of many bizarre things that amaze me is that, even though homosexuality or bisexuality are still taboo subjects in the society (and there are still negative perceptions and condescending remarks targeted at the out-of-closet queers), the line of sexuality is blurred in the world of entertainment. Two guys in a boy band can kiss without anyone doubting their ‘straightness’ or labelling them as gays. Why, they can even lick and grope each other on stage and then come home as straight as ever.
When I first got into the world of Japanese entertainment, I was surprised (and weirded out) to find such acts were done frequently by the idols, in concerts and music events. But that is not all; the even weirder part is that the female fans love it! The ear-splitting screams echoed through the stadium every time the idols do something ‘intimate’ convince me that the fans not only love it but they want more!
In Sociology class we learned that there are heterosexual women that engage in same-sex kissing as a way to get attention, but in Japan, I can say that the male idols also kiss each other for the same reason; the attention of their fans. And somehow, the whole thing is even made as a value for marketing purposes.
While we know that the male idols make out as a ‘fan service’, I cannot fathom why the female fans love seeing two of their favourite male idols kiss. Like the guys who love seeing girl kissing another girl in a party, do Japanese fan girls also find male-kissing-male ‘hot’ too? Or is it only because it is a kiss between two handsome guys?
Regardless of the answer, we can still conclude that the role of sex and gender in Japanese entertainment is definitely different from the norms. Japanese idols certainly bring new perspective of what doing gender really means. And that sexuality, sexual desires and behaviours do not always have to be parallel and they can very much contradict one another, without us losing our sexual identity over them.
By Sakina Mahmud