Japanese popular culture dominated by animation has swept the world. Japanese animation with nuanced expressions and a unique sense of aesthetics has gone abroad, and is gradually becoming known to countries around the world along with the Japanese “Kawaii” (cute). On the other hand, dressing up as cartoon characters in animations and games-Cosplay (costume = costume and play = game word) is also eye-catching. In Tokyo’s Akihabara and Harajuku, young people with chic dresses and strange makeup can be seen everywhere. What is the charm of Cosplay? In order to understand the mystery, we interviewed three cosplayers (Cosplay lovers).
Ms. Horiguchi, who was born as an actor. She has passed the most difficult “Edo Cultural History Certification Level 1” and became “Doctor of Edo”, breaking the record for the youngest title. Horiguchi used her knowledge of Edo (the former name of Tokyo), while working as a history guide, while devoting herself to acting. Usually, there are many opportunities to wear Japanese kimonos, and sometimes they wear their own cartoon costumes to participate in various activities.
As a singer, voice actor and announcer, Na Rika Asahina likes to play cartoon characters in anime. On this day, dressed as the heroine “Shirylro” in “Macros” (Asahina’s favorite animation), the fluffy dress and the soft golden wig set off the fair skin.
Morishita Hanari likes to wear clothes with a lot of frills (the so-called “sweetheart doll series”) for party activities. The color of the costume is made up of pink and white that girls love, so people can’t help but take a look.
First, I asked them to talk about the origin of falling in love with Cosplay. Horiguchi talks about Edo in radio and performing arts activities. Her innovative kimono dress is well received by the audience. This became the beginning of her participation in Cosplay. “Actually, Yoshihara, where Yuguo (brothel) was concentrated in the Edo period (1603-1868), already had activities similar to cosplay,” said Horiguchi, who is familiar with Edo history. During the month of August each year, artists hold festivals such as improvisations and dances in the streets of Yoshihara. Oiran (high-level prostitutes) and entertainers dressed as characters in the story or characters in Kabuki paraded through the streets, attracting hundreds of tourists.
Asahina became obsessed with Cosplay because of her sister’s influence, and she likes to play characters in anime. Her Cosplay has a history of 15 years.
Six years ago, Morishta heard from a friend that “Cosplay idols will be popular in the future”, so she put on a cute costume with lots of frills that she liked and stood by the road in Akihabara. After a while, many people came to talk to her. The experience made her find Cosplay very interesting. Since then, she often goes to Akihabara with her friends.
“The charm of Cosplay is to be able to become an ideal cartoon character.” Asahina said. “You can immediately make friends with like-minded friends by dressing up as cartoon characters in the anime. You can tell from the appearance what kind of anime the other party likes.”
Asahina continued, “Moreover, you can dress up as something different from usual. I am also the special thing about Cosplay. I belong to that kind of cringe character. Cosplay makes me feel open to my body and mind.” Horiguchi and Morishta also expressed the same feeling.
Morishita said, “I usually dress in this suit, and I don’t think I’m in Cosplay. Needless to say, I also wear this costume when I travel. I often go to Akihabara and Harajuku, where there are many cosplaying people, so it’s easy to be in it.
Cosplay costumes are available in anime merchandise online. The clothes that Horiguchi wore during the interview were bought at the clothing store “BODYLINE” on Takeshita Road in Harajuku. The size is complete, the largest is 3L, and it is said that there are many male customers. The price of clothing is moderate. Not only that, there are also many types of wigs and accessories.
Recently, bargains can be bought on auction sites. Morishita told us, “Because of this, the age of Cosplay lovers has been getting lower recently. At Cosplay parties, you can often see cosplay of two generations of parents and children.” The generation who grew up watching anime and manga became parents. The fun of cosplay is also passed on to the children authentically.
They say you can’t call yourself an anime fan or otaku unless you are continuously hogging in huge amounts of anime merchandise every weekend. Now that might be a little stretch. But there is certainly a little truth to that. There are people who call themselves fans. And there are people who are fans. Buying...
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