Kyle Meets… Mr. Bear Asia 2019 Hao Kumakichi, talks embracing true identity

Not everyone dreams of having six pack abs and being on the front cover of fashion magazines that only glorify skinny bodies. Some would prefer to embrace their inner bear and let their bellies grow to their fullest potential.

And then there are some who want embrace both sides — being a chunky bear and being a model. They recognize that one side does not cancel out the other, and being a bear does not automatically decrease your hot points. In the bear community, embracing your body, however it looks, makes you even hotter.

I had the chance to chat with Hao Kumakichi, the newest Mr. Bear Asia, about his journey from hot abs to hot belly, and the importance of warm bear hugs.

KJ: Hi Hao! Can you tell us a bit about you – Your background, personal life, etc.?

HK: Heya! I was born in Singapore, and my parents are of Peranakan and Taiwanese descent. I am a pretty active person who loves sports, especially group sports. I also love chocolate!! 

I debuted in Japan as a gogo dancer. I still live in Japan, although I perform more overseas. 

KJ: When did you begin identifying as a Bear? Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a Bear? 

HK: I used to be a fashion model from the age of 15. I was also a backup dancer for many Chinese music artists. Everyone used to be jealous of my ability to eat a lot but never lose my abs. However, this was not what I wished for inside because of my love for big guys. This also didn’t work well for me when dating, though I did manage to date some larger guys. 

One day I told my agency that I decided to quit modelling because I wanted to be the real me! I started to train and eat, and eventually this is how I look after 10 years. Surprisingly, I have received offers to be a bear model after that!

KJ: What made you enter the Mr. Bear Asia competition? 

HK: Well, initially my gogo friends and I came to perform for a countdown party in Bangkok. The organizer then asked if we were willing to represent our countries, since we were already there and the prize money was also very attractive. 

So, I joined the competition with my friends, and I also served as a translator for them, as one is Japanese and the other from China. Neither of them can speak English, but I can speak all three languages.

KJ: What was your favorite part about taking part in the competition? 

HK: Making new friends! I am quite used to the stage so being in the limelight never surprises me. (laughs)

KJ: Do you have any gigs or appearances lined up for your title year?

HK: Well, before this happened I already had quite a large number of sponsorships from clothings, shoes and cosmetics companies, which are all on my Instagram. Also, I am already performing around Asia at various parties. 

In addition to this, I am also selling my pictorial magazine, which introduces me as Mr. Bear Asia. Follow the link to purchase. 

KJ: In what ways do you think you can help to promote growth or change in the leather and/or bear/cub communities?

HK: Well, first off I LOVE leather! As far as the communities are concerned, I always tell my sponsors and friends that we should help and support each other as much as possible. The bear community is sort of a minority in Asia, even though it has been growing fast over the years. 

I try to help them bring messages to the community as much as possible, as it’s also easier for me to do it as an influencer. I also encourage everyone to party safely and healthily, too. 

KJ: What is the most important thing about the bear/cub community for you? 

HK: The feeling of warm hugs and families being there for each other. To me, in the non-bear circle, people do not always seem as friendly in general.

KJ: What are your plans for your title year? 

HK: I do not have any big plans for now. I am just still living the life I want to, with travelling being a huge part of it. Life is short and we should appreciate every little thing around us, as well as people who we care for. 

KJ: Will you go on to enter other competitions once your title year is done?

HK: I am not too sure, but if the opportunity arises then why not? For me, it’s all in the name of fun!

KJ: Finally, what’s your advice for anyone entering the competition next year? 

HK: Just be yourself and enjoy the stage!

Follow Hao on Instagram and Twitter

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Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.