TikTok, YouTube, Drag and a World of Xtra
London – It was never Stan Fukase’s intention to go viral on TikTok.
“When the pandemic started, I started making TikTok videos like everyone else,” he says on a video call. “I never expected to be famous or anything.”
Yet after a brief try with the dance videos TikTok is famous for, it was a video poking fun at how drag queens greet each other that went viral, gaining hundreds of thousands of views. As Fukase started posting more on TikTok, those numbers started to pale compared to the thousands of subscribers he was gaining daily. At one point, Fukase, under the pseudonym @worldofxtra, had the fastest growing TikTok account in Japan. Currently, it has nearly 600,000 subscribers on the platform.
Born in Japan but raised in the Philippines, content creation was not part of Fukase’s original plan. Although he started a YouTube channel at the age of 12 for a hobby, he put it aside to focus on a career in the medical field. Attending pre-medical school, he studied nursing for two years and was enthusiastic about his studies.
“I had told my mother that I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5 years old. I was one of those kids, ”he says, thinking back to his time in school.
But after gaining hands-on experience in a hospital where he not only witnessed the death but also had to break the news to family members of the deceased, he quickly found the job mentally exhausting and stressful. He then moved to Japan to study at Waseda University, where he is currently a fourth year student.
When talking about his experience as a dual-origin queer person in Japan (his father is Filipino), Fukase is brutally honest. Creation of TikToks in Japanese on topics such as slur standardization “Okay”For effeminate men and ironic takes on cultural stereotypes put him in the hot water.
“They called me ‘gaijin okama’ and told me to go back to my country,” he says. “I’ve always had thick skin but at one point that’s all I read every day.”
The comments led it to switch to English content. It was then that his channel began to grow even further, earning him his first sponsorship deal. Wanting to create long-lasting video content, he also recently returned to YouTube. Now Fukase has come full circle with his childhood hobby becoming his top priority, amassing nearly 300,000 subscribers on YouTube. After graduation, Fukase plans to pursue content creation full time.
Along with this, Fukase has made strides in the world of drag. Learning to wear makeup for the first time on Halloween 2019, his drag nickname World of Xtra was born as an exaggerated version of his character. Although drag performances were not part of Fukase’s image at this point, he is a huge fan of the reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and hopes to one day compete in the competition.
After an impromptu performance in the United States in January 2020, he is invited to join the Gaishoku House, one of the biggest drag houses in Japan. He is currently performing in Shibuya as part of the Haus of Gaishoku monthly show “Beauty Blenda”.
Being one of the only public LGBTQ + figures in Japan who also speaks English, Fukase sometimes feels a lot of pressure to educate her non-Japanese audience about queer life in Japan. He frequently receives messages online about the LGBTQ + scene from people wishing to visit or live in the country.
“Sometimes these are things I can’t answer,” he says, pointing to issues with the lack of various forms of LGBTQ + representation in Japan. “For example, I will be asked what it is to date a lesbian or find a job as a trans person. It’s my pleasure to educate people but unfortunately I don’t know everything.
Despite the pressure, Fukase hopes to use his platform to inform as well as entertain with the intention of delving into Japanese content on YouTube again. This time, he hopes his videos can raise awareness and show that LGBTQ + people can and do exist in Japanese society.
“One of the main things I want to do through my videos is show people that it’s okay to be different in Japan,” he says. “Not everyone has to be the same; it’s good to stand out, it’s good to be yourself and it’s good to be gay.
In a time of both disinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing you can help us tell the story right.