Cosplay, a portmanteau of "costume play", is an activity and performance art in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture, and a broader use of the term "cosplay" applies to any costumed role-playing in venues apart from the stage. Any entity that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Favorite sources include anime, cartoons, comic books, manga, television series, and video games.
Cosplay grew out of the practice of fan costuming at science fiction conventions, beginning with Morojo's "futuristicostumes" created for the 1st World Science Fiction Convention held in New York City in 1939. The Japanese term "cosplay" (コスプレ, kosupure) was coined in 1984. A rapid growth in the number of people cosplaying as a hobby since the 1990s has made the phenomenon a significant aspect of popular culture in Japan, as well as in other parts of East Asia and in the Western world. Cosplay events are common features of fan conventions, and today there are many dedicated conventions and competitions, as well as social networks, websites, and other forms of media centered on cosplay activities. Cosplay is very popular among all genders, and it is not unusual to see genders switched.
The term "cosplay" is a Japanese portmanteau of the English terms costume and play. The term was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard after he attended the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Los Angeles and saw costumed fans, which he later wrote about in an article for the Japanese magazine My Anime. Takahashi decided to coin a new word rather than use the existing translation of the English term "masquerade" because that translates into Japanese as "an aristocratic costume", which did not match his experience of the Worldcon. The coinage reflects a common Japanese method of abbreviation in which the first two moras of a pair of words are used to form an independent compound: 'costume' becomes kosu (コス) and 'play' becomes pure (プレ).
Masquerade balls were a feature of the Carnival season in the 15th century, and involved increasingly elaborate allegorical Royal Entries, pageants, and triumphal processions celebrating marriages and other dynastic events of late medieval court life. They were extended into costumed public festivities in Italy during the 16th century Renaissance, generally elaborate dances held for members of the upper classes, which were particularly popular in Venice.
Costume parties (American English) or fancy dress parties (British English) were popular from the 19th century onwards. Costuming guides of the period, such as Samuel Miller's Male Character Costumes (1884) or Ardern Holt's Fancy Dresses Described (1887), feature mostly generic costumes, whether that be period costumes, national costumes, objects or abstract concepts such as "Autumn" or "Night". Most specific costumes described therein are for historical figures although some are sourced from fiction, like The Three Musketeers or Shakespeare characters.
By March 1891, a literal call by one Herbert Tibbits for what would today be described as "cosplayers" was advertised for an event held from March 5–10 that year at the Royal Albert Hall in London, for the so-named Vril-Ya Bazaar and Fete based on a science fiction novel and its characters, published two decades earlier.
A.D. Condo's science fiction comic strip character Mr. Skygack, from Mars (a Martian ethnographer who comically misunderstands many Earthly affairs) is arguably the first fictional character that people emulated by wearing costumes, as in 1908 Mr. and Mrs. William Fell of Cincinnati, Ohio are reported to have attended a masquerade at a skating rink wearing Mr. Skygack and Miss Dillpickles costumes. Later, in 1910, an unnamed woman won first prize at masquerade ball in Tacoma, Washington wearing another Skygack costume.
The first people to wear costumes to attend a convention were science fiction fans Forrest J Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas, known in fandom as Morojo. They attended the 1939 1st World Science Fiction Convention (Nycon or 1st Worldcon) in the Caravan Hall, New York, USA dressed in "futuristicostumes", including green cape and breeches, based on the pulp magazine artwork of Frank R. Paul and the 1936 film Things to Come, designed and created by Douglas. Ackerman later stated that he thought everyone was supposed to wear a costume at a science fiction convention, although only he and Douglas did.
Fan costuming caught on, however, and the 2nd Worldcon (1940) had both an unofficial masquerade held in Douglas' room and an official masquerade as part of the programme. David Kyle won the masquerade wearing a Ming the Merciless costume created by Leslie Perri, while Robert A. W. Lowndes received second place with a Bar Senestro costume (from the novel The Blind Spot by Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint). Other costumed attendees included guest of honor E. E. Smith as Northwest Smith (from C. L. Moore's series of short stories) and both Ackerman and Douglas wearing their futuristicostumes again. Masquerades and costume balls continued to be part of World Science Fiction Convention tradition thereafter. Early Worldcon masquerade balls featured a band, dancing, food and drinks. Contestants either walked across a stage or a cleared area of the dance floor.
Ackerman wore a "Hunchbackerman of Notre Dame" costume to the 3rd Worldcon (1941), which included a mask designed and created by Ray Harryhausen, but soon stopped wearing costumes to conventions. Douglas wore an Akka costume (from A. Merritt's novel The Moon Pool), the mask again made by Harryhausen, to the 3rd Worldcon and a Snake Mother costume (another Merritt costume, from The Snake Mother) to the 4th Worldcon (1946). Terminology was yet unsettled; the 1944 edition of Jack Speer's Fancyclopedia used the term costume party.
Rules governing costumes became established in response to specific costumes and costuming trends. The first nude contestant at a Worldcon masquerade was in 1952; but the height of this trend was in the 1970s and early 1980s, with a few every year. This eventually led to "No Costume is No Costume" rule, which banned full nudity, although partial nudity was still allowed as long as it was a legitimate representation of the character. Mike Resnick describes the best of the nude costumes as Kris Lundi wearing a harpy costume to the 32nd Worldcon (1974) (she received an honorable mention in the competition). Another costume that instigated a rule change was an attendee at the 20th Worldcon (1962) whose blaster prop fired a jet of real flame; which led to fire being banned. At the 30th WorldCon (1972), artist Scott Shaw wore a costume composed largely of peanut butter to represent his own underground comix character called "The Turd". The peanut butter rubbed off, doing damage to soft furnishings and other peoples' costumes, and then began to go rancid under the heat of the lighting. Food, odious, and messy substances were banned as costume elements after that event.
Costuming spread with the science fiction conventions and the interaction of fandom. The earliest known instance of costuming at a convention in the United Kingdom was at the London Science Fiction Convention (1953) but this was only as part of a play. However, members of the Liverpool Science Fantasy Society attended the 1st Cytricon (1955), in Kettering, wearing costumes and continued to do so in subsequent years. The 15th Worldcon (1957) brought the first official convention masquerade to the UK. The 1960 Eastercon in London may have been the first British-based convention to hold an official fancy dress party as part of its programme. The joint winners were Ethel Lindsay and Ina Shorrock as two of the titular witches from the novel The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz.
Star Trek conventions began in 1969 and major conventions began in 1972 and they have featured cosplay throughout.
In Japan, costuming at conventions was a fan activity from at least the 1970s, especially after the launch of the Comiket convention in December 1975. Costuming at this time was known as kasou (仮装). The first documented case of costuming at a fan event in Japan was at Ashinocon (1978), in Hakone, at which future science fiction critic Mari Kotani wore a costume based on the cover art for Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel A Fighting Man of Mars.[Notes 1] In an interview Kotani states that there were about twenty costumed attendees at the convention's costume party—made up of members of her Triton of the Sea fan club and Kansai Entertainers (関西芸人, Kansai Geinin), antecedent of the Gainax anime studio—with most attendees in ordinary clothing. One of the Kansai group, an unnamed friend of Yasuhiro Takeda, wore an impromptu Tusken Raider costume (from the film Star Wars) made from one of the host-hotel's rolls of toilet paper. Costume contests became a permanent part of the Nihon SF Taikai conventions from Tokon VII in 1980.
Possibly the first costume contest held at a comic book convention was at the 1st Academy Con held at Broadway Central Hotel, New York in August 1965. Roy Thomas, future editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics but then just transitioning from a fanzine editor to a professional comic book writer, attended in a Plastic Man costume.
The first Masquerade Ball held at San Diego Comic-Con was in 1974 during the convention's 6th event. Voice actress June Foray was the master of ceremonies. Future scream queen Brinke Stevens won first place wearing a Vampirella costume. Forrest J Ackerman, the creator of Vampirella, was in attendance and posed with Stevens for photographs. They became friends and, according to Stevens "Forry and his wife, Wendayne, soon became like my god parents." Photographer Dan Golden saw a photograph of Stevens in the Vampirella costume while visiting Ackerman's house, leading to him hiring her for a non-speaking role in her first student film, Zyzak is King (1980), and later photographing her for the cover of the first issue of Femme Fatales (1992). Stevens attributes these events to launching her acting career.
As early as a year after the 1975 release of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, audience members began dressing as characters from the movie and role-playing (although the initial incentive for dressing-up was free admission) in often highly accurate costumes.
Costume-Con, a convention dedicated to costuming, was first held in January 1983. The International Costumers Guild, originally known as the Greater Columbia Fantasy Costumer's Guild, was launched after the 3rd Costume-Con (1984 or 1985) as a parent organization and to support costuming.
Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. Cosplay started in 1984, Nobuyuki Takahashi, founder of Studio Hard, attended the 42nd Worldcon in Los Angeles. He was impressed with the masquerade and reported on it in My Anime, coining the term kosupure (from which cosplay is derived) in the process. The term "cosplay" was coined in Japan in 1984, meaning "costume" and "play". Cosplay is very popular among all genders. It was inspired by and grew out of the practice of fan costuming at science fiction conventions, beginning with Morojo's ""futuristicostumes" created for the 1st World Science Fiction Convention in New York City in 1939.
As stated above, costuming had been a fan activity in Japan from the 1970s, and it became much more popular in the wake of Takahashi's report. The new term did not catch on immediately, however. It was a year or two after the article was published before it was in common use among fans at conventions. It was in the 1990s, after exposure on television and in magazines, that the term and practice of cosplaying became common knowledge in Japan.
The first cosplay cafés appeared in the Akihabara area of Tokyo in the late 1990s. A temporary maid café was set up at the Tokyo Character Collection event in August 1998 to promote the video game Welcome to Pia Carrot 2 (1997). An occasional Pia Carrot Restaurant was held at the shop Gamers in Akihabara in the years up to 2000. Being linked to specific intellectual properties limited the lifespan of these cafés, which was solved by using generic maids, leading to the first permanent establishment, Cure Maid Café, which opened in March 2001.
The first World Cosplay Summit was held on October 12, 2003 at the Rose Court Hotel in Nagoya, Japan, with five cosplayers invited from Germany, France and Italy. There was no contest until 2005, when the World Cosplay Championship began. The first winners were the Italian team of Giorgia Vecchini, Francesca Dani and Emilia Fata Livia.
Worldcon masquerade attendance peaked in the 1980s and started to fall thereafter. This trend was reversed when the concept of cosplay was re-imported from Japan.
Practice of cosplay
Cosplay costumes vary greatly and can range from simple themed clothing to highly detailed costumes. It is generally considered different from Halloween and Mardi Gras costume wear, as the intention is to replicate a specific character, rather than to reflect the culture and symbolism of a holiday event. As such, when in costume, some cosplayers often seek to adopt the affect, mannerisms, and body language of the characters they portray (with "out of character" breaks). The characters chosen to be cosplayed may be sourced from any movie, TV series, book, comic book, video game, music band, anime, or manga. Some cosplayers even choose to cosplay an original character of their own design or a fusion of different genres (e.g., a steampunk version of a character), and it is a part of the ethos of cosplay that anybody can be anything, as with genderbending, crossplay, or drag, a cosplayer playing a character of another ethnicity, or a hijabi portraying Captain America.
Cosplayers obtain their apparel through many different methods. Manufacturers produce and sell packaged outfits for use in cosplay, with varying levels of quality. These costumes are often sold online, but also can be purchased from dealers at conventions. Japanese manufacturers of cosplay costumes reported a profit of 35 billion yen in 2008. A number of individuals also work on commission, creating custom costumes, props, or wigs designed and fitted to the individual. Other cosplayers, who prefer to create their own costumes, still provide a market for individual elements, and various raw materials, such as unstyled wigs, hair dye, cloth and sewing notions, liquid latex, body paint, costume jewelry, and prop weapons.
Cosplay represents an act of embodiment. Cosplay has been closely linked to the presentation of self, yet cosplayers' ability to perform is limited by their physical features. The accuracy of a cosplay is judged based on the ability to accurately represent a character through the body, and individual cosplayers frequently are faced by their own "bodily limits" such as level of attractiveness, body size, and disability that often restrict and confine how accurate the cosplay is perceived to be. Authenticity is measured by a cosplayer's individual ability to translate on-screen manifestation to the cosplay itself. Some have argued that cosplay can never be a true representation of the character; instead, it can only be read through the body, and that true embodiment of a character is judged based on nearness to the original character form. Cosplaying can also help some of those with self-esteem problems.
Many cosplayers create their own outfits, referencing images of the characters in the process. In the creation of the outfits, much time is given to detail and qualities, thus the skill of a cosplayer may be measured by how difficult the details of the outfit are and how well they have been replicated. Because of the difficulty of replicating some details and materials, cosplayers often educate themselves in crafting specialties such as textiles, sculpture, face paint, fiberglass, fashion design, woodworking, and other uses of materials in the effort to render the look and texture of a costume accurately. Cosplayers often wear wigs in conjunction with their outfit to further improve the resemblance to the character. This is especially necessary for anime and manga or video-game characters who often have unnaturally colored and uniquely styled hair. Simpler outfits may be compensated for their lack of complexity by paying attention to material choice and overall high quality.
To look more like the characters they are portraying, cosplayers might also engage in various forms of body modification. Cosplayers may opt to change their skin color utilizing make-up to more simulate the race of the character they are adopting. Contact lenses that match the color of their character's eyes are a common form of this, especially in the case of characters with particularly unique eyes as part of their trademark look. Contact lenses that make the pupil look enlarged to visually echo the large eyes of anime and manga characters are also used. Another form of body modification in which cosplayers engage is to copy any tattoos or special markings their character might have. Temporary tattoos, permanent marker, body paint, and in rare cases, permanent tattoos, are all methods used by cosplayers to achieve the desired look. Permanent and temporary hair dye, spray-in hair coloring, and specialized extreme styling products are all used by some cosplayers whose natural hair can achieve the desired hairstyle. It is also commonplace for them to shave off their eyebrows to gain a more accurate look.
Some anime and video game characters have weapons or other accessories that are hard to replicate, and conventions have strict rules regarding those weapons, but most cosplayers engage in some combination of methods to obtain all the items necessary for their costumes; for example, they may commission a prop weapon, sew their own clothing, buy character jewelry from a cosplay accessory manufacturer, or buy a pair of off-the-rack shoes, and modify them to match the desired look.
Cosplay may be presented in a number of ways and places. A subset of cosplay culture is centered on sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically choosing characters known for their attractiveness or revealing costumes. However, wearing a revealing costume can be a sensitive issue while appearing in public. People appearing naked at American science fiction fandom conventions during the 1970s were so common, a "no costume is no costume" rule was introduced. Some conventions throughout the United States, such as Phoenix Comicon and Penny Arcade Expo, have also issued rules upon which they reserve the right to ask attendees to leave or change their costumes if deemed to be inappropriate to a family-friendly environment or something of a similar nature.
The most popular form of presenting a cosplay publicly is by wearing it to a fan convention. Multiple conventions dedicated to anime and manga, comics, TV shows, video games, science fiction, and fantasy may be found all around the world. Cosplay-centered conventions include Cosplay Mania in the Philippines and EOY Cosplay Festival in Singapore.
The single largest event featuring cosplay is the semiannual doujinshi market, Comic Market (Comiket), held in Japan during summer and winter. Comiket attracts hundreds of thousands of manga and anime fans, where thousands of cosplayers congregate on the roof of the exhibition center. In North America, the highest-attended fan conventions featuring cosplayers are the San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con held in the United States, and the anime-specific Anime North in Toronto, Otakon held in Baltimore MD and Anime Expo held in Los Angeles. Europe's largest event is Japan Expo held in Paris, while the London MCM Expo and the London Super Comic Convention are the most notable in the UK. Supanova Pop Culture Expo is Australia's biggest event.
In different comic fairs, "Thematic Areas" are set up where cosplayers can take photos in an environment that follows that of the game or animation product from which they are taken. Sometimes the cosplayers are part of the area, playing the role of staff with the task of entertaining the other visitors. Some examples are the thematic areas dedicated to Star Wars or to Fallout. The areas are set up by not for profit associations of fans, but in some major fairs it is possible to visit areas set up directly by the developers of the video games or the producers of the anime.
The appearance of cosplayers at public events makes them a popular draw for photographers. As this became apparent in the late 1980s, a new variant of cosplay developed in which cosplayers attended events mainly for the purpose of modeling their characters for still photography rather than engaging in continuous role play. Rules of etiquette were developed to minimize awkward situations involving boundaries. Cosplayers pose for photographers and photographers do not press them for personal contact information or private sessions, follow them out of the area, or take photos without permission. The rules allow the collaborative relationship between photographers and cosplayers to continue with the least inconvenience to each other.
Some cosplayers choose to have a professional photographer take high quality images of them in their costumes posing as the character. Cosplayers and photographers frequently exhibit their work online and sometimes sell their images.
As the popularity of cosplay has grown, many conventions have come to feature a contest surrounding cosplay that may be the main feature of the convention. Contestants present their cosplay, and often to be judged for an award, the cosplay must be self-made. The contestants may choose to perform a skit, which may consist of a short performed script or dance with optional accompanying audio, video, or images shown on a screen overhead. Other contestants may simply choose to pose as their characters. Often, contestants are briefly interviewed on stage by a master of ceremonies. The audience is given a chance to take photos of the cosplayers. Cosplayers may compete solo or in a group. Awards are presented, and these awards may vary greatly. Generally, a best cosplayer award, a best group award, and runner-up prizes are given. Awards may also go to the best skit and a number of cosplay skill subcategories, such as master tailor, master weapon-maker, master armorer, and so forth.
The most well-known cosplay contest event is the World Cosplay Summit, selecting cosplayers from 40 countries to compete in the final round in Nagoya, Japan. Some other international events include European Cosplay Gathering (finals taking place at Japan Expo in Paris, France), EuroCosplay (finals taking place at London MCM Comic Con), and the Nordic Cosplay Championship (finals taking place at NärCon in Linköping, Sweden).
Common Cosplay Judging Criteria
|Accuracy||Resemblance to the original character in terms of appearance.||
|Craftsmanship||Quality and details of the costume and props.||
|Presentation||Likeliness in terms of character portrayal and performance.||
|Audience Impact||Stage presence and connection with the audience.||
Portraying a character of the opposite sex is called crossplay. The practicality of crossplay and cross-dress stems in part from the abundance in manga of male characters with delicate and somewhat androgynous features. Such characters, known as bishōnen (lit. "pretty boy"), are Asian equivalent of the elfin boy archetype represented in Western tradition by figures such as Peter Pan and Ariel.
Male to female cosplayers may experience issues when trying to portray a female character because it is hard to maintain the sexualized femininity of a character. Male cosplayers may also be subjected to discrimination, including homophobic comments and being touched without permission. This affects men possibly even more often than it affects women, despite inappropriate contact already being a problem for women who cosplay, as is "slut-shaming".
Animegao kigurumi players, a niche group in the realm of cosplay, are often male cosplayers who use zentai and stylized masks to represent female anime characters. These cosplayers completely hide their real features so the original appearance of their characters may be reproduced as literally as possible, and to display all the abstractions and stylizations such as oversized eyes and tiny mouths often seen in Japanese cartoon art. This does not mean that only males perform animegao or that masks are only female.
"Cosplay Is Not Consent", a movement started in 2013 by Rochelle Keyhan, Erin Filson, and Anna Kegler, brought to the mainstream, the issue of sexual harassment in the convention attending cosplay community. Harassment of cosplayers include photography without permission, verbal abuse, touching, and groping. Harassment is not limited to women in provocative outfits as male cosplayers talked about being bullied for not fitting certain costume and characters.
Starting in 2014, New York Comic Con placed large signs at the entrance stating that "Cosplay is Not Consent". Attendees were reminded to ask permission for photos and respect the person's right to say no. The movement against sexual harassment against cosplayers has continued to gain momentum and awareness since being publicized. Traditional mainstream news media like Mercury News and Los Angeles Times have reported on the topic, bringing awareness of sexual harassment to those outside of the cosplay community.
As cosplay has entered more mainstream media, ethnicity becomes a controversial point. Cosplayers of different skin color than the character are often ridiculed for not being 'accurate' or 'faithful'. Many cosplayers feel as if anyone can cosplay any character, but it becomes complicated when cosplayers are not respectful of the character's ethnicity. Issues such as blackface, brownface, and yellowface are still controversial since a large part of the cosplay community see these as separate problems, or simply an acceptable part of cosplay. Ethnicity remains a polarizing topic today, as discussion continues in person and online.
Cosplay has influenced the advertising industry, in which cosplayers are often used for event work previously assigned to agency models. Some cosplayers have thus transformed their hobby into profitable, professional careers. Japan's entertainment industry has been home to the professional cosplayers since the rise of Comiket and Tokyo Game Show. The phenomenon is most apparent in Japan but exists to some degree in other countries as well. Professional cosplayers who profit from their art may experience problems related to copyright infringement.
A cosplay model, also known as a cosplay idol, cosplays costumes for anime and manga or video game companies. Good cosplayers are viewed as fictional characters in the flesh, in much the same way that film actors come to be identified in the public mind with specific roles. Cosplayers have modeled for print magazines like Cosmode and a successful cosplay model can become the brand ambassador for companies like Cospa. Some cosplay models can achieve significant recognition. Yaya Han, for example, was described as having emerged "as a well-recognized figure both within and outside cosplay circuits".
Cosplay by country or region
Cosplay in Japan
Cosplayers in Japan used to refer to themselves as reiyā (レイヤー), pronounced "layer". Currently in Japan, cosplayers are more commonly called kosupure (コスプレ), pronounced "ko-su-pray," as reiyā is more often used to describe layers (i.e. hair, clothes, etc.). Words like cute (kawaii) and cool (kakkō ii) were often used to describe these changes,[further explanation needed] expressions that were tied with notions of femininity and masculinity. Those who photograph players are called cameko, short for camera kozō or camera boy. Originally, the cameko gave prints of their photos to players as gifts. Increased interest in cosplay events, both on the part of photographers and cosplayers willing to model for them, has led to formalization of procedures at events such as Comiket. Photography takes place within a designated area removed from the exhibit hall. In Japan, costumes are generally not welcome outside of conventions or other designated areas.
Since 1998, Tokyo's Akihabara district contains a number of cosplay restaurants, catering to devoted anime and cosplay fans, where the waitresses at such cafés dress as video game or anime characters; maid cafés are particularly popular. In Japan, Tokyo's Harajuku district is the favorite informal gathering place to engage in cosplay in public. Events in Akihabara also draw many cosplayers.
Ishoku-hada (異色肌) is a form of Japanese cosplay where the players use body paint to make their skin color match that of the character they are playing. This allows them to represent anime or video game characters with non-human skin colors.
A 2014 survey for the Comic Market convention in Japan noted that approximately 75% of cosplayers attending the event are female.
Cosplay in other Asian countries
Cosplay is common in many East Asian countries. For example, it is a major part of the Comic World conventions taking place regularly in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Historically, the practice of dressing up as characters from works of fiction can be traced as far as the 17th century late Ming Dynasty China.
Cosplay in Western countries
Western cosplay's origins are based primarily in science fiction and fantasy fandoms. It is also more common for Western cosplayers to recreate characters from live-action series than it is for Japanese cosplayers. Western costumers also include subcultures of hobbyists who participate in Renaissance faires, live action role-playing games, and historical reenactments. Competition at science fiction conventions typically include the masquerade (where costumes are presented on stage and judged formally) and hall costumes (where roving judges may give out awards for outstanding workmanship or presentation).
The increasing popularity of Japanese animation outside of Asia during the late 2000s led to an increase in American and other Western cosplayers who portray manga and anime characters. Anime conventions have become more numerous in the West in the previous decade, now competing with science fiction, comic book and historical conferences in attendance. At these gatherings, cosplayers, like their Japanese counterparts, meet to show off their work, be photographed, and compete in costume contests. Convention attendees also just as often dress up as Western comic book or animated characters, or as characters from movies and video games.
Differences in taste still exist across cultures: some costumes that are worn without hesitation by Japanese cosplayers tend to be avoided by Western cosplayers, such as outfits that evoke Nazi uniforms. Some Western cosplayers have also encountered questions of legitimacy when playing characters of canonically different racial backgrounds, and people can be insensitive to cosplayers playing as characters who are canonically of other skin color. Western cosplayers of anime characters may also be subjected to particular mockery.
In contrast to Japan, the wearing of costumes in public is more accepted in the United States and other western countries. These countries have a longer tradition of Halloween costumes, fan costuming and other such activities. As a result, for example, costumed convention attendees can often be seen at local restaurants and eateries, beyond the boundaries of the convention or event.
|Part of a series on|
Magazines and books
Japan is home to two especially popular cosplay magazines, Cosmode (コスモード) and ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Layers (電撃Layers). Cosmode has the largest share in the market and an English-language digital edition. Another magazine, aimed at a broader, worldwide audience is CosplayGen. In the United States, Cosplay Culture began publication in February 2015. Other magazines include CosplayZine featuring cosplayers from all over the world since October 2015, and Cosplay Realm Magazine which was started in April 2017. There are many books on the subject of cosplay as well.
Documentaries and reality shows
- Cosplay Encyclopedia, a 1996 film about Japanese cosplay released by Japan Media Supply. It was released in subtitled VHS by Anime Works in 1999, eventually being released onto DVD in 2002.
- Otaku Unite!, a 2004 film about otaku subculture, features extensive footage of cosplayers.
- Akihabara Geeks, a 2005 Japanese short film.
- Animania: The Documentary is a 2007 film that explores the cosplay cultural phenomenon in North America, following four cosplayers from various ethnicities as they prepare to compete at Anime North, Canada's largest anime convention.
- Conventional Dress is a short documentary about cosplay at Dragon Con made by Celia Pearce and her students in 2008.
- Cosplayers: The Movie, released in 2009 by Martell Brothers Studios for free viewing on YouTube and Crunchyroll, explores the anime subculture in North America with footage from anime conventions and interviews with fans, voice actors and artists.
- "I'm a Fanboy", a 2009 episode of the MTV series True Life, focusing on fandom and cosplay.
- Fanboy Confessional, a 2011 Space Channel series that featured an episode on cosplay and cosplayers from the perspective of an insider.
- Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope, a 2011 film about four attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con, including a cosplayer.
- America's Greatest Otaku, a 2011 TV series where contenders included cosplayers.
- Cosplayers UK: The Movie, a 2011 film following a small selection of cosplayers at the London MCM Expo.
- My Other Me: A Film About Cosplayers, chronicling a year in the life of three different cosplayers: a veteran cosplayer who launched a career from cosplay, a young 14-year-old first-timer, and a transgender man who found himself through cosplay. It was released in 2013 and was a featured segment on The Electric Playground.
- Heroes of Cosplay, a reality show on cosplay that premiered in 2013 on the Syfy network. It follows nine cosplayers as they create their costumes, travel to conventions and compete in contests.
- "24 Hours With A Comic Con Character", a segment from CNNMoney following around a known cosplayer while she prepared for and attended New York Comic Con.
- WTF is Cosplay?, a reality show that premiered in 2015 on the Channel 4 network. It follows six cosplayers throughout their day-to-day lives and what cosplay means to them.
- Call to Cosplay, a competition reality show that premiered in 2014 on Myx TV. It is a cosplay design competition show where contestants were tasked to create a costumes based on theme and time constraints.
- Cosplay Melee, a competition reality show on cosplay that premiered in 2017 on the Syfy network.
- Cosplay Culture, a 90 minutes documentary that follows cosplayers during preparation and conventions in Canada, Japan and Romania. Includes a visit of Akihabara (Japan), a geek Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans and a historic overview explaining the origin of cosplay.
- Cosplay Complex, a 2002 anime miniseries.
- Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!, a Japanese TV variety show that includes the Cosplay Bus Tour series segment.
- Super Cosplay War Ultra, a 2004 freeware fighting game.
- A large number of erotic and pornographic films featuring cosplaying actresses; many of such films come from the Japanese company TMA.
Cosplay groups and organizations
- Mari Kotani's costume has sometimes been misreported as a Triton costume (from the manga Triton of the Sea) due to its visual similarity and because Kotani was known as a member of the TRITON fan club.
- Stuever, Hank (2000-02-14). "What Would Godzilla Say?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- "Nobuyuki (Nov) Takahashi " YeinJee's Asian Blog: The Origin of the word cosplay". Yeinjee.com. 2008-07-03. Archived from the original on 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- Raymond, Adam K. (July 24, 2014). "75 Years Of Capes and Face Paint: A History of Cosplay". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- Kincaid, Chris (October 16, 2016). "The History of Cosplay". Japan Powered. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- Winge, Theresa (2006). "Costuming the Imagination". In Lunning, Frenchy (ed.). Emerging Worlds of Anime and Manga. 1. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 65–76. ISBN 9780816649457.
- Miller, Samuel (1884). Male Character Costumes.
- Holt, Ardern (1887). Fancy Dresses Described.
- "'The Coming Race' and 'Vril-Ya' Bazaar and Fete, in joint aid of The West End Hospital, and the School of Massage and Electricity". Royal Albert Hall. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- Plunkett, Luke (16 May 2016). "Cosplay Is Over 100 Years Old". kotaku.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "6 Nerd Culture Stereotypes That Are Way Older Than You Think". Cracked.
At a masked ball in Monroe, Washington, in 1912, August Olson's impressive homemade Skygack costume, complete with notebook, won him first prize and a place on the front page of the local paper.
- Derrick Bracey (11 June 2015). "Undercover Character: Diving Deep into the World of Cosplay". Myrtle Beach Sun. The Past, Present and Future of Cosplay.
- Miller, Ron (19 September 2013). "Was Mr. Skygack the First Alien Character in Comics?". io9. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Ashcraft, Brian; Plunkett, Luke (2014). Cosplay World. Prestel Publishing. pp. 6–11. ISBN 9783791349251.
- Kyle, David (December 2002). "Caravan to the Stars". Mimosa (29).
- Culp, Jennifer (9 May 2016). "Meet the Woman Who Invented Cosplay". Racked. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- Painter, Deborah (2010). Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman. McFarland. pp. 37–39. ISBN 9780786448845.
- Rich, Mark (2009). C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary. McFarland. p. 69. ISBN 9780786457113.
- Resnick, Mike (2015). "Worldcon Masquerades". Always a Fan. Wildside Press. pp. 106–110. ISBN 9781434448149.
- Ackerman, Forrest J (1965). I Remember Morojo. Archived from the original on 2017-02-08.
- Speer, John Bristol (1944). Fancyclopedia (1st ed.). Los Angeles: Forrest J Ackerman. p. 21.
- "Kris Lundi aka Animal X as a Harpy, Discon II, 1974". International Costumers' Guild, Inc. 2011-06-05. Archived from the original on 2017-02-08.
- "Discon II – 1974 WorldCon Masquerades and Costumes". The Fanac Fan History Project. 2007-11-08.
- Resnick, Mike (April 2000). "Worldcon Memories (part 4)". Mimosa (25).
- "Scott Shaw! Deuce of Deuces". File 770. February 26, 2013. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- "Scott Shaw as The Turd, LACon I, 1972". International Costumers' Guild, Inc. 2011-09-16. Archived from the original on 2015-10-13.
- Hansen, Rob. "Early Cosplay: 1930s to 1950s". THEN: The Archive. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
- Hansen, Rob. "Early Cosplay: 1960s". THEN: The Archive. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
- Hansen, Rob (ed.). "The 1960 Eastercon". THEN: The Archive. Retrieved 2017-04-28. Based on Mercer, Archie (May 1960). "I Was the Treasurer for the London Con to End All Cons". Cactus (5). and Sanderson, Harold Peter (June 1960). "Inchmery Fan Diary". Aporrheta (17).
- Ohwada, Toshiyuki; Kotani, Mari. "Interview: Mari Kotani, Pioneer of Japanese Cosplay - Origins". An Introduction to Japanese Subcultures. Archived from the original on 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-05-02.
This is an important part, so I'd like to spell it out clearly. In short, you, Ms. Mari, a member of the sci-fi anime fan club TRITON, attended a sci-fi convention at a sleepover-style facility, where you dressed up as a sci-fi character that appeared on the cover of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Fighting Man of Mars.
- Thorn, Matthew (2004). "Girls and Women Getting Out of Hand". In Kelly, William W. (ed.). Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan. SUNY Press. p. 175. ISBN 9780791460320.
- Takeda, Yasuhiro (2005). The Notenki Memoirs. ADV Manga. ISBN 9781413902341.
- Schelly, Bill (November 7, 2012). "Found! 'New' Photos from the 1965 New York Comicon! (part 2)". Alter Ego. TwoMorrows Publishing. 3 (83): 69–70.
- Brown, Tracy; Lewis, David; Phillips, Jevon; Woerner, Meredith (8 July 2015). "Timeline—Downey Jr. dances, Arnold surprises, Spider-Man rushes the stage: Every year of Comic-Con in one giant timeline". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Vasseur, Richard; Stevens, Brinke (11 March 2012). "Brinke Stevens Interview". Jazma. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Bozung, Justin; Stevens, Brinke (April 28, 2012). "The Brinke Stevens Interview". The Gentleman's Blog to Midnight Cinema.
- Collum, Jason Paul (2004). Assault of the Killer B's. McFarland. p. 24. ISBN 9780786480418.
- Samuels, Stuart (1983). Midnight Movies. Collier Books. p. 11. ISBN 002081450X.
- Siegel, Robert. "Making The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- Schnaubelt, Karen; Marks Delaney, Betsy R. "The Genesis and Evolution of Costume-Con". costume-con.org. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
- Bacon-Smith, Camille (2000). Science Fiction Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 56. ISBN 9780812215304.
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (February 2011). "Maid in Japan: An Ethnographic Account of Alternative Intimacy". Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (25). Retrieved 2017-04-25.
- Richter, Shawn (2016-08-05). "Cosplayer Spotlight on Hijabi Hooligan Cosplay". The Marvel Report. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- "The Muslim cosplayer who uses the hijab in her outfits". BBC. 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
- Craig Hayden (2012). The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts. Lexington Books. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7391-4258-5.
- "Stranger than fiction: Fan identity in cosplay". journal.transformativeworks.org. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "Intersections: Cosplay, Lolita and Gender in Japan and Australia: An Introduction". intersections.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
- "Cosplaying With A Disability Is Awesome | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Toward new horizons: Cosplay (re)imagined through the superhero genre, authenticity, and transformation". journal.transformativeworks.org. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "Power Girl and Ivy Cosplay Boost Self Esteem | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Cosplay and The Benefits of Bravery | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- White, Sarah. "Cosplay Costumes at LoveToKnow Costumes". Costumes.lovetoknow.com. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "Blacked Out: Discussing cosplay and 'blackface'". Nerd Reactor. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- Sharnea Morris (2009-03-26). "Japanese Circle Lens - A Secret Trick for Anime Cosplayers". mookychick.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Skimpy Outfit Gets Lollipop Chainsaw Cosplayer Asked to Change Or Leave PAX Show Floor". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- Azliah, Nurul. "Woman calls police over cosplayer's 'underboob' at anime festival". My.entertainment.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Cammy cosplayer forced to cover up at CEO, but not by tournament staff". Eventhubs.com. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
- "A Treasure Trove of Cosplay from the Swinging 1970s [NSFW]". Io9.com. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- "Convention Policies". Phoenix Comicon. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- "PAX Prime - Seattle, WA Aug 28-31, 2015". Prime.paxsite.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
- "Cosplay Models Real Life Japanime Characters by Cynthia Leigh". Entertainment Scene 360. 2007-03-11. Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- Thorn, Matthew (2004) Girls And Women Getting Out Of Hand: The Pleasure And Politics Of Japan's Amateur Comics Community in Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan William W. Kelly, ed., State University of New York Press
- "The Best european cosplayers meet at Japan Expo for the Finals". European Cosplay Gathering. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
- "EuroCosplay Championships | London Comic Con". Mcmcomiccon.com. 2013-10-26. Archived from the original on 2018-01-01. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
- "NCC - The Nordic Cosplay Championship". Ncc.narcon.se. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
- "World Cosplay Summit Championship Craftsmanship judging regulations". World Cosplay Summit. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
- "COSPLAY CONTEST JUDGING CRITERIA". Cyprus Comic Con. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
- "ReplayFX Cosplay Contest". Replay FX. Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
- "What Is Crossplay And What Does It Say About Gender | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Benesh-Liu, P. (2007, October). ANIME COSPLAY IN AMERICA. Ornament, 31(1), 44-49. Retrieved October 12, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database.
- "Gender Discrimination Against Male Cosplayers | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Metal Gear's Quiet and Cosplay's Free Speech | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Cosplay and the Normie Stare | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Florian Jomain. "Surrender : Image Contamination of Networked Bodies" (PDF). Rietveldacademie.nl. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Philly Women Battle Sexual Harassment at Comic-Con". Philadelphia Magazine. 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- Trageser, Claire (2015-07-06). "Women Are Being Sexually Harassed at Comic-Con—but One of Them Is Making It Stop". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- Romano, Andrea. "Cosplay Is Not Consent: The People Fighting Sexual Harassment at Comic Con". Mashable. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- "Comic-Con 2018: The movement to protect cosplayers from harassment in a #MeToo world". The Mercury News. 2018-07-16. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- Woolsey, Brittany. "At comic cons, some jokers get away with harassment". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- Ore, Jonathan. "'Cosplay is for everyone': How these cosplayers are combating online hate with reimagined looks". CBC Radio. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- Strapagiel, Lauren. "This Twitch Streamer Was Suspended For A Blackface Cosplay". Buzzfeed News. BuzzFeed. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
- "Fox News Report: Sexy Cosplayers Can Make $200,000 A Year". Cosplay News Network. 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
- Ben Bolling; Matthew J. Smith (12 February 2014). It Happens at Comic-Con: Ethnographic Essays on a Pop Culture Phenomenon. McFarland. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7864-7694-7.
- Lingle, Samuel (2012-02-01). "Costume designer turns play into work with cosplay". Dailydot.com. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- "What Does A Professional Cosplayer Do | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-08-25. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Breen, Jim. "Japanese Dictionary". Japanese Dictionary. (search for "cosplay" in English or "reiyā" in romangi). Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- Skov, Lisa; Moeran, Brian (1995). Women, Media and Consumption in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 220–54.
- Ashcraft, Brian. "Body Paint Makes For Colorful Japanese Fashion". Kotaku. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- What is Comic Market? A presentation by the Comic Market Committee January, 2008 Updated January, 2014
- "Art & Deal Magazine " Photo Essay". Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "The Cosplayers of the Late Ming Dynasty". Gordsellar.com. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
- "Costumes from Asia". October 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-31.
- "ConAdian Masquerade rules". September 1994. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21.
- "Comic Con Cosplay | Why We Go To NYCC". Cosplay News Network. 2018-09-26. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
- "Questions of Race and Cosplay". Kotaku Cosplay. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- "The Controversy of Skin Color in Cosplay: Racism or Not?". Uloop. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- T (2015-10-13). "Ghostbusters Cosplay is Great Because its Normal | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Five Ways of Taking The Hurt Out of Online Cosplay Haters | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Understanding Anime Cosplay | Cosplay Dossier | The Escapist". Escapistmagazine.com. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "AMW｜アスキー・メディアワークス 公式ホームページ". Layers.dengeki.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "A Costume & Style Magazine for the Eccentric - About COSMODE". COSMODE Online. Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "Cosplay Gen". Cosplay Gen. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "Cosplay Culture". Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- "CosplayZine". Retrieved 2014-10-20.
- "Cosplay Realm Magazine". Retrieved 2020-11-17.
- "Popular Cosplay Books". Goodreads.com. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- ANIMEfringe. "Reviews - CosPlay Encyclopedia". ANIMEfringe.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "Cosplay Encyclopedia (2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "Nippon no genba: Akihabara toshinose no monogatari (2005)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- Published 03/29/2008 (2008-03-29). "Canadian showing of "Animania" documentary about anime phenomenon". Firefox.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
- "Emergent Game Group on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "Cosplayers UK The Movie - (Full Length HD Movie)". YouTube.com. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "Cosplayers: The Movie Full episodes streaming online for free". Crunchyroll.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "Anime Expo® and MTV Cast for True Life". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "About America's Greatest Otaku - America's Greatest Otaku". Americasgreatestotaku.com. 2011-02-24. Archived from the original on 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
- "Cosplayers UK: The Movie (2011)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
- "News: My Other Me: A Film About Cosplayers". Elecplay.com. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- "Heroes of Cosplay". Syfy. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
- "24 Hours With A Comic Con Character". CNN. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
- "WTF is Cosplay?". Channel 4. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
- Brian Ashcraft. "Japanese Porn Is Overdosing on Video Games and Anime". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cosplay.|
| A cinéma vérité view of participants in the 2017 [[Japan Ultra}]]|