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Japanese monk and Make-up artist embraces the beauty of diversity

make-up artist who empowers sexual minorities and celebrates the beauty

Japanese monk and Make-up artist embraces the beauty of diversity

TOKYO – A monk who also works as a makeup artist celebrates his sexual diversity and spreads the message in Japan that “different is beautiful”l.

Kodo Nishimura, a 31-year-old Buddhist monk of the Jodo sect from Tokyo, Japan in his recently published-book, whose title roughly translates as “Fair and Open: I can live”, Nishimura has written an autobiography of himself as a member of sexual minorities including the LGBTQ community as the person I he has agreed to become. ”

In the book, Nishimura also writes: “Being different from others is not a bad thing” and “I will not hand over the steering wheel to my life to the values of a faceless society. It was only in the last 5-years that the monk was able to speak with confidence about his own identity, describing it as holding on to feelings of inferiority complex until then.


Between 2012 till 2019, Nishimura worked as a makeup artist in the USA and was responsible for makeup at festivals such as Miss Universe and photoshoots in magazines. Nishimura also wears makeup and high-heeled boots on Instagram and other social media. Nishimura also served as a monk in a temple in Tokyo. He made public appearances as a sexual minority and gave lectures at the headquarters of the United Nations Population Fund and universities in and outside Japan.

Kodo Nishimura, applying makeup to the Spanish beauty pageant Miss Universe

Nishimura’s journey to reach her present state of mind was not comfortable, and there were many detours along the way. Since childhood, Nishimura has loved Disney princesses and was teased as “girlish” in elementary school, possibly due to the gender-neutral atmosphere they radiated. In high school, boys and girls spent breaks in entirely separate groups, and Nishimura was isolated in class. Nishimura thought about these times as the “dark ages” and recognized a homosexual identity in high school, but spent days alone not talking to anyone for fear that others might find out about my true personality.

A turning point for Nishimura was the amazing experience of him studying in the USA after graduating from high school. Attracted by his image as a free and open country, Nishimura began to think, “America can accept even a person like me who is different from others. Nishimura studied art at a university in New York after attending the language school. When Nishimura saw how sexual minorities came out confidently, he began to feel strongly that “there is no problem in life without hiding the fact that I am homosexual.

Since the monastic profession is a family business, Nishimura was trained at the age of 24. Initially, Nishimura was told that monks were not allowed to wear accessories, and he wondered if it was okay to become a monk, while frequently applying makeup and accessories. Also, Nishimura was concerned about gender differences in ritual codes, such as that men stretch out their left foot first and women their right when stepping over incense burners. A senior monk said to Nishimura at the time that “appearances and ritual manners are not the essences of teachings,” and Nishimura felt saved by these words.

Nishimura also recognized that although they identified themselves as gay until their early twenties, they do not now fall into this category when it comes to those who identify themselves as male and are attracted to men. Nishimura also feels neither male nor female and does not believe that the concepts belong to a category that fits them exactly. They have realized that “people’s sexual identifications must all be so different.

Nishimura also recently appeared on television shows and received answers like “I am proud of you” from relatives and worshippers in the temple.


Kodo Nishimura Bio


Who is Kodo Nishimura?

Kodo Nishimura is a Japanese born makeup artist, he was born on February 13, 1989, in Tokyo, Japan. He is a Japanese Buddhist monk and makeup artist. Nishimura is active both in Japan and the United States. He is a well known gay and an advocate for LGBTQ people.

Early life and education

Kodo Nishimura was born in 1989 and grew up in the city of Tokyo. His father was a Buddhist Jodo Shu priest, and Nishimura was raised in his temple. He studied Ikebana for eight years.

After Nishimura had seen The Princess Diaries in junior high school, he became interested in visiting the USA.

Kodo Nishimura struggled briefly with his perception of his beauty as an Asian man before he discovered makeup, which he did not use in Japan due to social stigmas.


After graduating from high-school, Nishimura moved to the USA and studied at Dean College, where he asked drag queens working in makeup stores questions about buying. Then he bought makeup and learned how to use it. He graduated from the Parsons School of Design.

Kodo Nishimura Background

Kodo Nishimura began working as a makeup artist at the age of 22. He got an internship with a makeup artist, which later led to a job. His work was shown in Nylon and Life & Style. He also does makeup for beauty queens in Miss Universe contests. Nishimura also spends a lot of time teaching transgender women how to do makeup.

Kodo Nishimura came out as gay when he participated in a photoshoot for Out in Japan.

When he returned to Japan, Nishimura began training as a priest. At first, he hesitated because of his career as a makeup artist. Nishimura thought that a makeup artist might not be in line with Buddhist beliefs. After consulting with a mentor, he realized that he could be both a Buddhist priest and a makeup artist as long as his goal was to spread Buddhist beliefs about living in happiness and harmony with others. He was fully ordained in 2015 and served in his father’s temple.

Nishimura divides his time equally between his work as a makeup artist and his career as a priest.




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