When Shogo Kemmoku, the reigning Mr. Gay Japan titleholder, took to the stage at this year’s finals in Tokyo on Sunday, March 31, no one was expecting what followed: In front of an audience of nearly 150 guests, Shogo surprised the crowd by proposing to his boyfriend Geoff right there onstage.
Shogo, Mr. Gay Japan 2018 — the first holder of that title — took to the stage Sunday to give his final speech before a new contestant would take the title. But in addition to thanking all those who supported him throughout his reign, he also called Geoff, his boyfriend of eight years, onstage to introduce him to the crowd.
“He didn’t know what was going on because I was only speaking in Japanese, and he doesn’t know much Japanese,” Shogo tells Hornet. “Then I looked in his eyes and popped the question.”
“I cannot begin to imagine my life without you. And I’m gonna ask you one question,” went Shogo’s proposal, to uproarious cheers, applause and surprised gasps from the crowd. After getting down on one knee and offering up a ring, Geoff said yes!
Shogo tells Hornet he had kept his decision to propose to Geoff at the Mr. Gay Japan finals a surprise from everyone — even the Mr. Gay Japan team! “Thank god he said yes!” Shogo jokes.
The venue of the Mr. Gay Japan 2019 finals — and the date — was special for Shogo, who says it was the exact place he’d been awarded the title exactly one year prior. “The place was filled with love and support, my fiancé was there and I couldn’t think of any place better than that moment onstage,” he says.
Georgie Ichikawa, owner of the Mr. Gay Japan franchise, believes Shogo’s proposal is even more inspiring because it took place in Japan, where marriage equality is not the law of the land. (This past February, however, saw 13 gay couples filed the country’s first lawsuits attempting to force the government to recognize same-sex marriage, arguing their constitutional rights to equality are being violated.)
“In a Japanese society where same-sex marriage is not legal and people fear coming out at their workplace, to even stand on the stage of Mr. Gay Japan is something to praise. On top of this, for Shogo — the first-ever winner of Mr. Gay Japan, who has gone through tremendous growth as a spokesperson — to stand onstage and propose to his partner is amazing and is sure to broaden people’s minds,” Georgie says. “The Mr. Gay Japan committee fully supports same-sex marriage, and for our spokesperson to show love in action means so much to us. We love Shogo, and we wish him a very happy life with his partner.”
Watch the video of Mr. Gay Japan 2018, Shogo Kemmoku, proposing to his boyfriend here:
How adorable is this video of Mr. Gay Japan popping the question?
Video filmed by Azuma Chizuru