It’s 9 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2019, at Eagle Tokyo Blue, a nightclub in the heart of the city’s LGBTQ-friendly Shinjuku Ni-chome district. Tokyo is in the middle of locking down ahead of Typhoon Hagibis, but around 100 die-hard fans of the TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” have gathered here to watch the premiere of its British version.
The venue, cloaked in blue light, is staffed by several neatly coiffed and slightly bulky Japanese men. You see, Eagle Tokyo Blue typically catered to “bears,” big and bearded gay men who come here to meet other men, dance and, occasionally, perform karaoke. Tonight’s crowd, however, is filled with a mix of Japanese and non-Japanese, as well as people of varying degrees of sexuality and gender identification. It’s a level of diversity that bar owner Yuta Furukawa didn’t originally foresee catering to.