We recently caught up with Japanese internet sensation Ladybeard, most famous as a cross-dressing, bearded wrestler but also a musician and star of an upcoming self-titled manga series in which our hero battles the werewolves of Hong Kong. Damn, pesky Werewolves.
Here’s what he had to say:
TD: For those that don’t know, who is Ladybeard?
LB: Newcomers, hi, it’s great to meet you! My name is Ladybeard! I’m a singer and pro-wrestler from Australia, living in Tokyo. I started wrestling 5 years ago in Hong Kong where I used to live, and I perform a style of music I call Kawaiicore. I sing heavy metal covers of J-pop songs, combining my love for kawaii pop with my love of heavy metal. And I try to look as pretty as possible whilst doing so…
TD: How did it begin?
LB: I’ve been wearing dresses to parties and rock shows for years. It’s good fun, and everyone has more fun when a man in a dress is at the party. I moved to Hong Kong when I was 23 to pursue a career in kung fu movies (I trained with one of Jackie Chan’s stuntmen in Australia). When I started cross dressing in HK the reaction from locals was overwhelmingly positive. They seemed to think I was the craziest and funniest thing they’d ever seen. Then, when cross dressing, I started going by the name Ladybeard, which translated very well into Cantonese. Then when I began wrestling I decided to wear a dress in the ring and make Ladybeard my ring name too. I expected to be hated at my first match! I thought a hairy white man speaking bad cantonese in a dress would be a contempt magnet. Incorrect, everyone loved it. And after my first match I was HK’s most popular wrestler.
TD: How long have you been in Japan? What’s your Japanese level and how did you study?
LB: I’ve been here since October last year. My Japanese is still very bad but I gambatte every day trying to improve! I studied for 2 years before coming with my awesome tutor in Hong Kong, Jason Lau (even when I was I Australia, I continued to study with Jason-san over skype).
TD: In Japan it’s often hard finding male clothes to fit people who lift weights, how do you manage to find dresses?
LB: Yes, this certainly is a problem. When I was smaller I could occasionally find something on the rack. But now, tailor made all the way! I don’t want to risk stepping into the ring to be wearing the same thing as my opponent!
TD: How do people react to Ladybeard? Is the reaction any different in Japan?
LB: Generally with smiles, cheer, laughter and photo requests. Occasionally with disgust.
TD: What’s the strangest reaction you’ve ever had?
LB: “Here, hold my baby a minute.”
I’ve also been attacked several times, but I don’t think that reaction could be called strange, at least not in Australia. Pretty much what one might expect!
TD: Why do you live in Japan? Tell us something you love and something you hate about life here
LB: Because Japan’s AWESOME and people here are very kind to Ladybeard! I love my Japanee fans so much, they’re super sweet and lovely. And they treat me so well! They give me presents, write me letters, and draw fanart of me. I love each and every one of them!
I try to hate things as little as possible.
TD: The internet recently went crazy over a photo of you and “Sailor Suit Old Man,” how did that picture come about and what is he like in person?
LB: He is absolutely lovely! A true gentleman(in a schooldress, the best kind of gentleman). He found out about me by seeing a previous photo of me get retweeted, and got in touch and expressed interest in doing a shoot together. I was honoured because he’s been cross dressing in Japan far longer than me and is loved by many. The fact that he thought doing a shoot with me would be a positive experience was very flattering.
TD: What is the future for Ladybeard and how can people see you in action?
LB: Ladybeard plans to ride around on a robot triceratops when those get invented.
I hope to perform on bigger and bigger stages and to bring smiles to more and more people. This whole project is all about creating moments of joy for people. That feeling, that there’s no words for, when something really amazes and excites you on a deep level, is an incredibly special feeling in my opinion and is what I aim to bring people through my shows and other work. I think those moments of pure joy are one of the best things about being alive. Ladybeard wants to give these moments to as many people as possible.
Please check out www.ladybeard.com for information about where I’ll be performing and what I’ll be up to. There’s lots of other content there too including songs, videos and photo, so please have a look everyone! You can also find me on my Twitter profile, and Facebook page. I look forward to meeting many new friends out and about very soon!!