Akihiro “The Skirt” Miwa

Is it a man? Is it a woman? Who cares? He's very beautiful!

One of Mami’s favorite TV programs is the mystical and spiritual “Aura no Izumi”, featuring Hiroyuki Ehara and Akihiro Miwa. When I first started watching it, I was baffled by the old man dressed as a woman. Where I’m from, if a man grows his hair long, dresses in a skirt, and dons a load of make up, it’s usually in the name of comedy, for example Barry Humphries acting as Dame Edna Everage.

Aura no Izumi is actually a serious talk show. Ehara, who usually looks like he’s sleeping, uses his supernatural powers to connect with the deceased relatives of each special guest, and passes messages between them. Okay, I know it sounds funny, but it really is taken very seriously.

I actually find it quite disturbing that Mami can watch this program week in, week out, without noticing that the very blonde Mr. Miwa is dressed as a woman for absolutely no reason whatsoever!

Unlike Barry Humphries who is just acting, Akihiro Miwa is not. He has a man’s name, and people refer to him with masculine pronouns. In fact the only thing feminine about him is his appearance and crusty, old woman’s voice.

The subject of Miwa came up in class today after two of my students saw him perform as Empress Sisi in the play L’Aigle á Deux Tetes. They both talked about him as if nothing was even the slightest bit strange. I couldn’t resist and began voicing my opinions, asking if it would be okay if I came to class in a dress, or if Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, wore a wig and make-up.

Although seeing a grown man dressed as a woman is too much for me to take seriously, his cross-dressing antics are perfectly acceptable to the Japanese. Why?

In the words of one of my students:

It’s okay. He’s very beautiful.

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

8 thoughts on “Akihiro “The Skirt” Miwa

  1. haii, daijyobu…. kare ga kireii. Translation: Yes, its okay. He’s very beautiful. Come on, Nick you must be bonkers to think otherwise! What is wrong with you?

  2. Lordy, your wife is at it too? Kazue (my missus) doesn’t just watch this rubbish, but gets her sister to record hours of it on DVD and ship it across the planet. It’s the constant “mystical” soundtrack that really narks me – it’s impossible to ignore, try as I might.

    1. Japanese TV wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining if it wasn’t for the background music. Whether its spooky, mystical music accompanying Ehara’s messages from the grave, or the high-tempo, action movie style music that is played throughout news reports, it really is an emotion-driven rollercoatser!

  3. Yo Nick

    I was trawling around t’Internet when who’s name should I come across, but Akihiro Wiwa:

    “Akihiro Miwa, a drag queen and former lover of author Yukio Mishima, is the television advertisement spokesperson for many Japanese companies…”

    WTF! Lover of Mishima?!


    However, the drag queen thing explains the pronoun use. Our own former “Lily Savage” a pre-The Simpsons chat show host, Paul thingamabob, maintains he is just a bloke who dressed in women’s clothes – a drag queen – rather than a gay male who dresses in women’s clothes, which is a transvestite.

    Frankly, I’m not sure why I’m revisiting this fairly peculiar thread, but there you have it.

    1. “rather than a gay male who dresses in women’s clothes, which is a transvestite.” – No, a transvestite is just man who likes to dress like a woman. It’s dosen’t have anything to do if he’s straight or gay.

      1. A transvestite is someone who feels they were born as the wrong sex. A man who enjoys dressing in woman’s clothing is a cross-dresser.

  4. Interesting. I just read up a little about Yukio Mishima. I’m surprised Miwa is being described as the former lover of someone who killed himself nearly 40 years ago. Talk about skeletons in the closet.

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