Takizawa Nanae, a former professional volleyball player, openly came out.

Nanae Takizawa, a former professional volleyball player, openly came out as gay on a Japanese TV show that aired on November 16th.

Nanae Takizawa had been known as “too beautiful for a volleyball player” and had been popular among volleyball fans when she joined a team “Pioneer Red Wings” in 2006. She retired in 2013. On the Japanese TV show, she appeared as an instructor for “Bijiri”, meaning nice- ass fitness. When she was asked whether she had someone special on the Japanese TV show, she openly came out as gay, saying that “Yes, I have never said this in public, but I am now dating with a woman.” She is dating with a younger woman and she seems very happy about it.

“I had been really scared about people’s eyes for long when it came to coming out, but now I am out and proud. I want to live happily,” she said.

After the show, she tweeted “Thank you for watching the show! I know some of you are really surprised now. I am sorry for that. But I am happy to have openly come out in public. I will keep living true to myself as sexual minority!”

In response to her tweet, many people sent her messages of support. “I think she is cool. She’s made me encouraged,too.” “Her coming out encouraged me a lot. Thank you.” “I hope more people can openly come out as gay in Japan. Thank you for your courage.”

It is such a rare case for Japanese professional sports players to openly come out.

Charlie Isozaki, a former professional mountain bicycle rider, came out as gay in the past, but Nanae Takizawa is the first openly lesbian volleyball player in Japan. Fumie Suguri, a professional figure skater, came out as bisexual and Hiromasa Ando, a professional motorboat racer, came out as transgender in the past, too.