Naoko Tachibana says she wants to remove negative perceptions about crossdressers and make the world aware of their beauty
They cuddle unabashedly, show off their long, lovely legs in floral dresses, and put on eye makeup with a practiced hand.
With their flawless skin, shiny, straight hair and porcelain looks they are the embodiment of the Lolita-esque prettiness inspired by the Hello Kitty brand.
However, these are no teenaged schoolgirls but young Japanese men who crossdress as women, some doing so to serve as waitresses at a crossdressing bar and café.
The images have been put together with love – and determination – by Japanese photographer Naoko Tachibana in her photobook Yuri Danshi, released ceremoniously on 31 July.
Yuri Danshi means lesbian boys and the book, priced at roughly $20, hopes to help eradicate the negative perception that the world has of crossdressers.
‘I’m a woman but I love people who crossdress,’ Tachibana told Rocketnews24. ‘To me it’s clear that if they are cute or beautiful it doesn’t matter what gender they are.’
Tachibana, who runs a studio with a male crossdressing clientele and advocates against the ban on crossdressing at some events in Japan, says the popular perception that men should be a certain way is “disrespectful”.
‘Don’t judge these (crossdressers) from the viewpoint a man or woman is expected to have but by what naturally moves your heart,’ she says.
‘Then you will see it a different way.’
However, it reqired a tough struggle to get a publisher for her book. After several rejections, the project was finally accepted by My Way Publishing.
The launch was followed by a promotional event in Tokyo Friday that was attended by the photographer as well as some of the male models. Five of the nine models work in a crossdressing bar and café.
Last year, Rocketnews24 reported there was a mushrooming of people in drag. However, unlike the original drag queens, who favored stylish clothing and pronounced makeup, the new breed consisted of middle-aged men who simply wore women’s clothes without making any attempt to hide their forms or features.
In 2008, the Daily Mail reported the transformation of septuagenarian Malcolm Murdoch, a former British Ministry of Defense official, who won permission to dress as a geisha, and donned the identity of Mary Murdoch.