“Society tries to put you in a box, and if you don’t have the tools to open the box and be who you are, you will die without awareness of bringing the best possible version of yourself out to the world.”

~ Kike Yamakawa

“My awareness of myself is my strength.  Those that don’t accept themselves as they are, simply are not in touch with their inner-most feeling and the dominant energy that rules over them – they are afraid and they suppress it.”

~ Brad Hays

 

Name:  Brad & Kike “Brike” – couple name

Professional Titles:  

Brad – International Creative Consultant

Kike– Artist/ Producer (Choreographer, Designer, Events, Dancer)

Notable Achievements/Passions:

Kike– “Coaching and art directing Miss Universe Japan”

Brad– “National champion for Trampoline; traveling and living abroad and discovering new cultures.”

Brad and Kike: “Finding each other as soulmates and being together for 20 years.”

Education:  

Brad –  “Bachelor’s in International Relations & Japanese; Degree in Interior Design.”

Kike – “The School of Life.”

Relationship Status:  “Married – we were meant to be together.”

What I wanted to be as a child:  

Kike – “A superstar!

Brad – “An artist and traveller.”

My Definition of Success is:  

Kike– “To have my love (Brad) and do what I love and be creative.”

Brad– “To be happy and to make my partner (Kike) happy.”

 

Self-Described as:

Kike Brad
expressive creative
Extremely social compassionate
creative curious
empathetic inquisitive
passionate stoic
dynamic social
energetic

 

Kike’s Story

Born in Peru, to a Peruvian father and Japanese mother, Kike’s childhood was financially stable.  His father, whose dream was to be a doctor, failed to reach his goal and was a diesel technician, but he was smart and educated.  His mother’s family came to Peru after the World War II from Japan to escape the war-torn country. Although coming from a poor family, his mother worked hard and became a successful restaurant owner.

Kike and his sister were comfortable growing up, except on the emotional side. He faced many bullies in the school yard as well as his father’s physical abuse that often sent him to the emergency room.  Kike recalls, “I had such a big burden at home, as sometimes I got a beating for no reason.  My dad beat me because he wanted to fix me…he wanted me to be tough and make me into a man. Whatever his reasons were, he looked at me as his gay son and it infuriated him.  He came from a generation and culture that is quite macho in its nature, so it was not easy for him to deal with my orientation. Now, I have forgiven him and even understand why he did it to an extent.  The memories of his abuse don’t bother me now, although I will never forget it as long as I live.

His father taught Kike how to fix things around the house and build furniture with his two hands.  Although Kike hated it at the time, when he was young, he now realizes the value of the skills his father trained him in to be able to take care of himself.  Kike was an artist and a dancer from a young age, and made many appearances on local TV – that was truly his passion. His father didn’t approve and Kike continued to bear the abuse.  “Deep down inside, I knew he loved me, no matter how much he physically hurt me.  I developed a coping mechanism for his violent outbursts, where I’d crouch in a ball, cover my head with my arms, and watch the fury unfolding on mute, like a black and while old movie.  That was a way for me to endure this environment in my home,” adds Kike.

At 18 years of age, Kike couldn’t take it any longer and left his home and his family behind and moved to Japan.  He says he felt free and enthusiastic about the future. Japan, although a conservative culture in some ways, turned out to be very liberal for Kike’s personality and preferences.  He says in Latin America, in those days, he felt the atmosphere was chauvinistic and male dominated. “Women and gays were often treated as “second-class citizens” and the macho attitude was something I couldn’t deal with,” explains Kike. He felt free and liberated the moment he landed in Japan.

Kike was hired by an employment agency on contract, to work in a car parts factory, making minimal salary and sometimes working 8-12 hours, six days a week.  He lasted two weeks at the first factory before getting fired, then another two weeks at the next one with the same result. After only two months, a manager of the agency told him she has connections to show-clubs in Tokyo.  Kike’s eyes lit up as soon as he heard those words and without a moment’s hesitation he decided to break the contract and escaped the small town in the middle of the night. That night he took the train to Tokyo to pursue his dream of being a dancer.  He went on to become a sought-after dancer, actor and model working with top agencies in Japan.

 

Brad’s Story:

Born in San Diego, USA he lived in a few different states until the age of 18 when he went to University of California.  Brad’s family is a typical American family, as described by Brad himself, and although everyone is highly educated and successful, they are innately humble.  He says he had everything he needed, growing up, but he was not spoiled. His parents taught him proper work ethics and how to be responsible, and he’s had jobs all throughout middle and high school.

From a young age, Brad was acutely aware that he was different from other boys. He didn’t know how or why, but it was apparent to him and everyone in his life that he was unique. As he was growing up, his parents encouraged him to be active in sports such as baseball, basketball and football, but Brad didn’t enjoy these activities.  He signed up for gymnastics and trampoline and as soon as he did, he says he flourished! He felt trampoline was the right sport for him. Although he was teased by the other boys in school, he didn’t care about what they said, because he was confident in his skills and athletic ability. He started competing when he was 11 years old and continued all throughout high school, earning a second national champion title in the country.  Brad went to the world championships twice – in Germany and New Zealand.

As a competitive person who trained hard, Brad developed even more confidence in himself as far as his athletic ability, however he was still finding it hard to intermingle with the other kids at school. “I was becoming further aware of my difference, but I didn’t admit to anyone that I was gay.  People knew it, but I didn’t officially “come out” until after university. In the town of St. Jose, where I was growing up, the community and the school was small and it was sort of like living in a bubble. It was safe and everyone knew each other, but it made it harder to blend in.  I certainly stood out, as I dressed and acted differently. I never tried to pretend to be who I’m not and I didn’t date girls just to prove something to others. I wasn’t bullied in high school but I never felt free to be totally myself,” Brad recalls.

It wasn’t until his third year of university that Brad “came out” as a gay man, and it happened after his year studying abroad on an exchange program in Japan. Coming from a small town in the US and being in a closed and familiar environment, Japan was a contrast.  He was amongst multi-cultural and open-minded students who traveled and understood the world. It felt like the right time and place for Brad to be honest with himself and with others. He met other friends who are gay and it was the first time he went to gay clubs.

Brad says, “awareness and openness is so important for one’s happiness. People can be aware but are not able to express it sometimes.  That’s how it was for me in the US – I didn’t know how to share myself with the world.”

 

Why Kike and Brad are Winners:

Awareness of yourself, your uniqueness, and your own value is so important in order to live the most fulfilling life possible.  Many people refuse to listen to what their hearts are telling them, and live much of their life in denial of who they truly are. Kike and Brad have been aware of the fact that they are gay from as long as they can remember.  Even at a young age, Brad recalls knowing that he was not straight, although at the time he didn’t even know what it meant. It took time and courage to come out and proclaim to the world that he is homosexual. Kike was also greatly aware of his homosexuality, and he never tried to hide it.  His artistic and flamboyant individuality was bursting out of him, and he didn’t try to tame it. In fact, he embraced and felt proud of it!

We are lucky because the majority of people in our lives were very accepting, so we never had to hide it.  We are open with everyone about our sexual orientation. But there are many couples who have to hide their relationship from others,” Brad tells me.

“For me, being a “winner” means being aware not just of yourself, but also of others.  I’ve always wanted to be accepted as a person, as a son, as a friend, and as a gay man.  I am in turn, always trying to be aware of the fact that other people have the same needs – they just want to be loved and accepted.  I’m constantly trying to be aware of other people’s needs – I want to please everyone and make them happy, however I can. It’s part of my artistic side – giving provides me with satisfaction. If people around me are not happy, I’m not happy.  I’m an entertainer and I want to make everyone around me as happy as possible,” adds Kike.

It wasn’t always easy, but Kike’s firm self-belief trumped over any feelings of insecurity he may have had growing up in a “macho” Latin-American environment.  He goes on to elaborate, “What gave me power was the knowledge that if I keep doing what I love, which is dancing, acting and the arts, people will forget about the “gay” part of me, and focus on my talent.  When I was performing on TV, no one cared about my orientation, in fact it was celebrated. I took that as my personal power and infused myself with it so people would remember me for my performance.

Despite his family telling him he shouldn’t act feminine, Kike stayed true to himself and accepted who he is.  Every person has a dichotomy of feminine and masculine energy within them, one being dominant over the other. The trick is to be aware of which one is your dominant energy and accept it by paying close attention to what makes you that way.  Kike and Brad both agree that the majority of homosexual people who don’t “come out” are restricted by fear and societal limitations, and that it is unfortunate many of them don’t get to live out their true essence.

My awareness of myself is my strength.  Those that don’t accept themselves as they are, simply are not in touch with their inner-most feeling and the dominant energy that rules over them – they are afraid and they suppress it,” Brad ponders.

Kike chimes in, “All my young life I’ve been bullied, because I was living amongst strict Catholics in Latin America.  I was teased and called derogatory names. But I was so “in your face” and didn’t care. Even when I was little, getting together with friends, I wanted to look different and stand out.  I’d cut up my clothes just to be different. I would rather die than be like everyone else, even if I looked ridiculous! I wanted to be unique. Society tries to put you in a box, and if you don’t have the tools to open the box and be who you are, you will die without awareness of bringing the best possible version of yourself out to the world.  I came to Japan, because I could never be free in my hometown, as I was restricted by my dad and the culture. But in Japan I felt I could be myself, my parents were not there, and the Japanese, although a conservative society, allowed me to be myself.”