Transgender Japanese TV star Ryuchel, 27, was found dead in the agent’s office a day after his model ex-wife posted a photo of their son celebrating his fifth birthday.
Ryuji Higa, better known as Ryuchell, was found unresponsive in an office in Tokyo
A transgender Japanese model and TV personality was found dead by her manager at her agency’s office in Tokyo.
Ryuji Higa, better known as Ryuchell, was found unresponsive in the building on Wednesday night and was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police are investigating whether the 27-year-old fashion influencer, who announced last year that he no longer identifies as male, took his own life. Their cause of death has not yet been confirmed, The Japan Times reported.
Ryuchel was found dead a day after his model ex-wife Tetsuko Okuhira, known as Peko, posted a photo celebrating their son’s fifth birthday with a large cake.
The couple, who met when they were 18, married in 2016 and had a son two years later. But in August last year, they announced their divorce after Reuchel said they no longer identified as men – a move that sparked backlash online.
The couple said they were divorcing to start a ‘new kind of family’ where they would raise their child together.
Ryuji Higa, better known as Ryuchel (pictured at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride event on April 23), was found unresponsive in the building on Wednesday night and was pronounced dead shortly after.
Ryuchel married model Tetsuko Okuhira, better known as Peko, in 2016 (pictured), and two years later they had a son. But in August last year, they announced their divorce after Reuchelle said she no longer identified as a man – a move that sparked backlash online.
Ryuchel was found dead a day after his model ex-wife Tetsuko Okuhira, known as Peko, posted a photo of their son celebrating his fifth birthday with a big cake (PHOTOS)
Reuchel said in an interview last year that they struggled with his image as the ‘ideal husband’ when they questioned their gender identity before coming to Peko.
‘Falling in love with a woman allowed me to imagine a life I thought I’d have and taught me joy I never knew existed,’ they told a Japanese women’s magazine in September.
‘Somewhere along the way, I started to struggle with the idea of the “ideal man” and the “ideal husband” and who I really was.’
But Rieuchel faced harsh criticism for coming out, and in February, Tara and Peko appeared in a YouTube video in which the model defended her ex-husband and said she supported them as they discovered their gender identities.
Reuchel, who moved to Tokyo to work in the fashion industry after graduating high school, was recognized at Kapan for their role in popularizing genderless clothing styles.
Ryuchel performs on stage at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2023, an event to promote awareness of life and sexual diversity held on April 23 in Tokyo, Japan. Today, Rochelle was found dead in Tokyo
Pictured: Ryuchel appeared at an event in Tokyo in August last year – the month she and Peko announced their divorce as Ryuchel no longer identified as a man
In the months following their divorce, Ryuchel became an influential LGBTQ advocate in Japan and often spoke at Pride events in Japan – but with fame came abuse from users who criticized the TV personality for her gender-nonconformity.
Police are investigating whether Reuchel committed suicide amid a stream of abuse.
Shortly after their deaths, phrases like ‘character assassination’ and ‘Reuchelle’ started trending on Twitter in Japan.
Peko and Reuchelle’s son is currently overseas in the US island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. On Tuesday, Peko posted a picture of a cake for his fifth birthday. He has yet to comment on Reuchel’s death.
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