Exploring The Cosplaying Culture


For some people, cosplaying is a leisurely activity. Yet, for others, it is part of their lifestyle. Some people join competitions and make their own costumes by hand. A lot of time, money and effort is invested in these costumes just so cosplayers can embody the characters they dress up in. While others can think of cosplaying as mere costuming, it is more than just that for cosplayers. It is getting into character and performing in an audience.

Cosplay began in North America around 1930s. Back then, it was not required to copy a character and its appearance. It was just dressing for the genre. This is what Forrest J. Ackerman did.

This is Forrest J. Ackerman dressed in futuristic costume.

In Japan, the Urusei Yatsura manga and Mobile Suit Gandam TV series initiated the movement. This was when Japanese university students dressed in favorite characters. Fans reenacted favorite scenes to show their liking for the series.

It was only until 1984 when the cosplay term was coined. This word is a combination of costume plus play. This was invented by Nobuyuki Takahashi after his attendance of Worldcon in Los Angeles. He used cosplay while translating masquerade to his Japanese audience.

Today, cosplay is already widely accepted and mainstream. It is not anymore strange to see people marching around in costumes at any convention. Cosplay is also not anymore limited to anime or science fiction. It has already branched out. Movie Costumes are the most common cosplay costumes. Aside from this, others come in cartoon characters and in video game characters. In Harajuku district and Shibuya district of Japan, cosplay is part of the pop culture. Cosplayers can be seen in these districts dressed up every day. An example is the photo below.

People participate in cosplay mainly because it is fun. Others find that it boosts their confidence. Within the cosplay subculture, there is a great sense of togetherness and unity. Cosplayers can interact with those who like the subculture too. Cosplayers get together for other occasions aside from just the conventions. Even though cosplaying needs preparation and dedication, it is also very rewarding. Cosplayers share this sentiment that’s why they invest on it.

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