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National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Campaign based in Tokyo Subways

  • Destigmatize Queerness 
  • Humanize LGBTQ+ community
  • Make queer spaces and present in Tokyo
  • Bring awareness to NQAPIA resources and work

  • How do you get conservative Japanese citizens to listen to an issue that they are conditioned to ignore?
  • How controversal should a campaign be in order to catch attention and explosure?
  • Conservative Tokyo
  • Elderly
  • Japanese Traditional Thinkers

  • Japanese

  • Visual: Bold, Present, Beautiful, Cultural
  • Voice: Emotional, Hopeful, Human


In the pictures shown is Ebizo Ichikawa, a well-known Kabuki actor, as himself, in a male role and a female role. Kabuki has traditionally been a male-exclusive theater; Kabuki actors will play the roles of all Genders and all personalities, expressing it through makeup, body language, and language. Kabuki is a dramatic and expressive theatrical art, similar to Drag.

The Onnagata (female role played by a male) and Wakashū (feminine young male/Japan third gender) were banned in ~1629 and ~1652, respectively, due to the shogunate beliefs that it was corrupting public morals; the ban was lifted years later.

I made two graphic illustrations to be the visual base of the campaign, both displaying a Kabuki actor either putting makeup, or dancing as a onnagata (female role). 

Below you can see some explorations with text and space:
  • The designs below catch the eye but doesnt necessarily envoke any specific emotion, how do I now evoke emotion, specifically empathy?



After a little bit of a creative block,
I decided to completely start fresh to find inspiration...

I focused on empathy, human connection, and communication and developed a simple idea of speech bubbles.

I experimented with different typefaces and how they all had their distinct voice. While prioritizing legibility, I decided to make multiple anonymous speech bubbles with confessions from LGBTQ+ youth. Many of these mention the feeling of disconnect from family, isolation from others, fear of rejection, and emotional effects of conservative culture and the taboo nature of LGBTQ+ conversations in Japanese society. 

+ I then combined these two designs to create the final design

Final Campaign Design Japanese

︎︎︎more work︎︎︎