For the last two decades, we have seen how Cosplay has become immensely illustrious, gaining international recognition and popularity. Cosplay or “Kosupure” is one of the ever-flourishing exports of Japan. It is no longer just a pastime or merely a hobby; it has grown into a subculture of its own. Many people consider Cosplay as a form of art—from the hand-crafting of the costumes and accessories to memorizing their chosen character’s expressions and taglines and impersonating them accurately in conventions.  In some cases, people treat cosplaying as a way of life. Cosplayers are not merely people in costumes attending otaku conventions or parading the streets; they invest a great deal of time and money perfecting their cosplay wardrobes and costume ensembles. As cosplay has gained independence from anime and manga, trends and the characters portrayed have become more diverse.

Cosplay has plenty of meanings, and perhaps the simplest and most concise is combining “costume” and “play” together, which means wearing a costume and role-playing in it. It is prominently known as a subculture in Japan centered on dressing up as fictional characters from anime, manga, video games, and less commonly, real people like members of Japanese rock music bands, J-pop idols or actors from live TV shows and movies. Recently, Cosplay has been expanded to simply mean wearing attention-getting costumes and existing fashions such as EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita), Harajuku Street and Cyber Punk, Decora and Visual Kei. Yearly cosplay parades are held in Akihabara District in Tokyo and Nipponbashi in Osaka. Cosplay has become undeniably a popular performance art that there are now Cosplay schools in Japan devoted to teaching students costume-design, hair-styling and make-up, accessorizing, as well as how to pose in professional photoshoots!

Three years ago, we chose Nanao’s Cosplay Research for the Blog of the Week—it’s a blog dedicated to the art and culture of cosplaying, featuring fabulous pictures of cosplayers from all around the world. We are happy to know that she’s still at it!


Visit Nanao’s Blog: Nanao’s Cosplay Research!


Keep up the good work, Nanao, and we hope to read from you still three years from now!

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