Since it filmed almost a year ago, and Queer Eye: We're In Japan's heroes have long since resumed their daily lives following a whirlwind week with the Fab Five. But the lessons they imparted have lasted all these months later. After Queer Eye, Kan tells Refinery29 via email that he's still implementing the Fab Five's advice for his life every day.
"For example, as Karamo [Brown] taught me, I stand in front of a mirror in the morning before going out and tell myself how amazing I am," Kan says. "By doing this, I heal myself from my insecurities and lift my mood. Also, I do makeup frequently because of Jonathan [Van Ness]. I bought more colorful clothes that show my characters because of Tan [France]. These little things help me to be myself and happy. I thank the Fab Five very much from the bottom of my heart."
"Learning that even the Fab Five are fighting day-by-day to be ... themselves, encouraged me to face my own insecurities."
Kan from Queer Eye: We're In Japan!
But Kan didn't just latch onto the advice the Fab Five directly gave to him. He says that one of the biggest lessons he learned on the show was that everyone has insecurities — even TV stars like the hosts of Queer Eye.
"Before seeing the Fab Five, I assumed that they had already overcome their insecurities and had nothing to worry about in their lives anymore. I was looking forward to learning how to completely overcome my insecurities and live my life confidently," Kan admits. "However, through our sessions together, I realized that even people who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin still could have insecurities. Learning that even the Fab Five are fighting day-by-day to be ... themselves, encouraged me to face my own insecurities."
Kan started out his episode of Queer Eye being very shy. As a gay man living in Japan, society has not always been welcoming to him. Reuters reports that while there have been advances made on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Japan, it's still considered taboo to be openly gay. Kan was living his life in Tokyo with one foot out the door, understandably not really wanting to live somewhere he didn't feel welcome. But he loved his job and his friends, so the Fab Five helped him carve out a corner of Tokyo where he could be himself for now while he is there. His Bobby Berk-ified personalized apartment and newly found confidence in his style and attitude helped him come into his own more by the end of the episode. He even introduced his long distance boyfriend to his mother and brother.
Kan and his boyfriend Tom are still together after the show, and they're celebrating their three-year anniversary in December. Although they're still long distance at the moment (with Tom in the UK and Kan in Japan), things are going well for the couple.
Just like in Kan's everyday life with his acceptance of himself, there will always be challenges. But it's not as much about overcoming all those issues entirely as it is just loving yourself through them and embracing who you are in whatever manner you feel comfortable. At the end of his episode, Kan said he wanted to be inspiring enough to change Japan and its thinking towards the LGBTQ community. He's well on his way to doing that, just by being himself — insecurities and all.