Japanese pornstar Masaki Koh, arguably one of the most inspirational and legendary Asian stars in recent history, has died at the age of 29. Although the official cause of death has yet to be announced, Koh's partner, Tien Tien, revealed the performer had several surgeries last month from a ruptured cecal due to peritonitis.
Appearing in his first hardcore gay scene in 2009, Koh had starred in hundreds of gay titles since and quickly became a role model for gay youth struggling with sexuality in the traditionally conservative Japanese culture. Unlike many of his fellow Asian performers, Koh lived openly and embraced his work in the sex industry by opting not to have his face censored and appearing at live events in Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Paris.
A gay Fleshbot fan in Japan writes in about the groundbreaking work Koh had accomplished:
A rarity in the Japanese gay porn industry, he was a very vocal person, not afraid to show his face and be proud of his sexuality. In an industry when many performers still ask to have their faces blurred or covered up, he was one of the few men in recent times to become a full-fledged star. He was even commented on in news articles, and was featured in Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki's video for "How Beautiful You Are", which featured him kissing another man onscreen, still a rarity in the Japanese media.
Many in Japan are very shocked by his death, not only because he was so young and handsome, and outwardly so healthy, but because of his friendly and open personality, which made many of his look up to him as a sign of a more positive future for gay men in the country.
I was hoping for a long and happy career for him, so it is a big shock to me that he's gone.
Here is Ayumi Hamasaki's video for "How Beautiful You Are", starring Masaki Koh: