Tokyo Closet Ball
A monthly & foreigner-friendly drag show.
Tokyo Closet Ball is where people can go to express their “true authentic lives.” And the world definitely needs more of that! The drag event in Tokyo started in 2013 and continues to have monthly events. The ball’s organizer, Taylor Wanstall, an American living in Japan, started the show when he couldn’t find anything else like it in Tokyo.
“I wanted to have a drag show like the ones I enjoyed back home in Oregon,” he told GaijinPot Travel. “When I couldn’t find ones like I was used to, I decided to start my own.”
When I couldn’t find ones like I was used to, I decided to start my own.
The platform for queer voices, which is also inclusive of allies, has been growing a following and invites others to come join in on the fun. Acts and volunteer staff speak in mostly English at events, with a little Japanese mixed in.
Lip sync, sing, dance
The shows are held at two different bars: Gamuso in Asagaya and at Gyouen Sound in Shinjuku.
Tokyo Closet Ball has a dedicated group of performers that form quite the variety show. Most performers are mostly foreign plus a few Japanese. You come spectate tons of acts that include lip-sync artists such as Tatianna, Die Schwarze Frau, Erik Shawn, Sixxx and Emmanual Transmission.
Tokyo Rainbow Pride Fest
While these acts are regulars, the show is also very open to new members.
Although Wanstall is the main organizer, members often do their own events such as a Valhalla and Majyo No Hanazono. (All can the info on that can be found on the Tokyo Closet Ball Facebook page.) While there is a cover charge at the shows, they do regular charity events, too, where proceeds have gone to Doctors Without Borders, Rainbow Railroad and Macmillan Cancer Support.
So, if you’re in the Tokyo area and are in need of a lively, inclusive and wild time, check out Tokyo Closet Ball and remember: “In a world that tells you to be ashamed, being openly happy is the greatest form of rebellion.”