Discover The History Of Cosplay

by Bunka Japan May 30, 2021 5 min read

What Is Cosplay?

Cosplay, which means for costume play, is a performance art in which performers, referred to as "cosplayers," use fashion accessories and costumes to portray a certain persona. Cosplayers interact to form a subculture, and the phrase is also used to refer to role-playing.

Since the 1990s, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of individuals who do this, and it is a phenomenon that has had a tremendous influence, particularly in Japan and other areas of Asia, as well as in the Western world. When it comes to fan conventions, cosplay events are frequent, and there are even specific conventions and international contests focused on cosplay activities.

The word "cosplay" was invented in Japan in 1984, and it has become extremely popular among people of all genders. The first global science fiction conference, held in 1939, spawned costuming conventions, which gave birth to cosplay outfits. 

 

The Cosplay’s History

The History Of Cosplay

(Image Source)

Now that we've defined and explained cosplay let's take a look at how it all began. Cosplay did not emerge in Japan on its own. Although certain aspects of cosplay existed before the 1980s, it was not officially recognized until the 1990s. 

Other aspects emerged in American fan cultures, which eventually mixed with Japanese aspects to become what we now know as cosplay. Let's start with the Japanese side.

Girls had left an indelible imprint on anime and manga culture, as well as cosplay. Through its full-body fashion images, Shojo, or female comics, set the framework for cosplay. 

With these full-body sketches, Junichi Nakahara, a post-World War II artist, moved manga character design toward fashion. He carried on the tradition established by Yumeji Takehisa, a shojo artist who produced his own apparel, stationery, and accessories.

 

Timeline Of Cosplay History

The following is a timeline of cosplay's history:

  1. In the 15th century, masquerade balls were popular, and they always contained an elaborate procession that honored weddings and other dynastic events in late medieval court life.

  2. During the Renaissance in Italy, they were expanded into public costume celebrations. Members of the higher classes performed elaborate dances that were especially popular in Venice.

  3. Costume parties, also known as fancy-dress parties, became popular in Britain throughout the 19th century, and costuming books from the time period generally showed generic costumes, whether they were national costumes or abstract conceptions.

  4. Then started the age of fan costuming, with the first persons wearing a costume to a convention wearing science-fiction pants and attending the event in 1939 dressed in futuristic outfits that were green and breached.

  5. In Japan, costumes at conventions were seen as a pleasant practice that began in the 1970s, with the first known incidence of costuming at a fan gathering in Hakoneat, which included a future science fiction criticism or costume based on the cover art. This is where cosplay anime got its start.

  6. The next costume contest was conducted at the inaugural Academy corn at the Broadway central hotel in New York during a comic book convention.

     

    Everything You Need To Know About Cosplay

    Cosplay is the act of dressing up as a fictional character from a video game, a film, or a book. This is particularly true in the anime and manga genres from Japan.

    When the founders of Studio Hard went to the 42nd Worldcon in Los Angeles in 1984, they established something new.

    He was blown away by the masquerade and reported it on "My Anime," coining the phrase "kosupure," which has since evolved into the phrase "cosplay," which meaning "costume and play" is immensely popular among people of all genders.

    Since the 1970s, costuming has been a popular pastime among Japanese fans, and with Takahashi's report, it has grown even more popular. The name did not catch on right away, but it grew in popularity over time and received exposure on television and in periodicals in the 1990s.

     

    First International Cosplay Summit

    First International Cosplay Summit

    (Image Source)

    In 2003, the first international cosplay summit was held at the Rose Court Hotel in Japan, with 5 cosplayers from Germany, France, and Italy in attendance.

    Cosplay costumes can range from basic themed clothing to elaborately themed outfits. It is distinguished from Halloween costumes in that the goal is to imitate a certain persona rather than to represent the culture and symbolism of a particular occasion.

    The Anime Characters picked for cosplay might be from a television show, a novel or comic book, or even a video game. Some cosplayers even prefer to cosplay their own original character with a fusion.

    Cosplayers can obtain their clothing in a variety of methods. For example, manufacturers and producers provide boxed clothes for use in cosplay, which is frequently offered online or obtained through dealers, or they might seek the assistance of wig stores. In 2008, a 35 billion yen profit was recorded by a Japanese cosplay costume manufacturer.

     

    Cosplay And Physical Characteristics

    Cosplay is an act of embodiment that has long been associated with self-presentation, but cosplayers can also perform with their physical characteristics. 

    Any cosplay is assessed on its capacity to accurately depict a character via the body, and individual cosplayers are usually confronted with their own bodily limitations, such as beauty, body size, and handicap.

    The capacity of the individual to convert on-screen manifestation to the cosplay itself is used to determine their authenticity. 

    Some even claim that cosplay can never be a genuine portrayal of the character since it can only be read via the body and that genuine embodiment of a character is measured by how close the cosplay comes to the original character form.

     

    Cosplayers Making Their Own Costumes

    Cosplayer Making Their Own Costumes

    (Image Source)

    Many cosplayers construct their own costumes by drawing inspiration from photographs of the characters. Detail and quality are also given a lot of attention when creating the costumes. 

    Cosplayers frequently educate themselves in crafting specialties such as textile sculpting and utilize various materials in an effort to capture the feel of the costume due to the difficulties of duplicating certain elements and materials. Cosplayer also often look for special Anime style outfits that could incorporate into their cosplay ideas.

    In order to learn more about the characters, people may participate in physical alteration, such as altering their skin color or applying cosmetics to reflect the ways of the culture they are adopting. Contact lenses can also be utilized to match a character's color scheme. 

    They also utilize contact lenses to make the pupil appear larger, and they begin collecting copies and tattooing for any specific marks that the character may have. It is also possible to utilize temporary tattoos or body paint.

    If you are especially seeking cosplayer costumes, you may simply find them and get the best idea of which outfits would best suit your circumstances and temperament.

     

    The Bottom Line

    There are a few differences between American and Japanese cosplayers. Cosplayers in the United States, for example, conduct onstage skits as part of cosplay competitions. Cosplayers in Japan often strike a distinctive stance or recite the character's credo.

    Cosplayers in the United States wear their costumes outside of conventions and perform spontaneous skits. Outside of conventions, Japanese cosplayers are not accepted because they are perceived as individualists in a culture that prioritizes communal values (Caffrey, 2015).

    Cosplay, like anime, is the result of a cultural fusion of American and Japanese media. Shojo's fashion emphasis was combined with American Trekkie and superhero outfits.

    While Nobuyuki popularised cosplay in Japan, Karen Schnaubelt and her companions introduced manga to science fiction conferences in the United States in 1979.

    Cosplay quickly became a part of the anime and manga fandom, as well as a fixture at conventions all over the world.


    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.


    Also in Japanese Kimono Cardigan, Fashion & Cosplay Culture

    What to Wear Under a Kimono? A Guide For Male And Female

    by Bunka Japan August 19, 2021 3 min read

    When wearing kimono or yukata, is it better to have special undergarments? For kimono wearers in particular, many are not sure what kind of undergarments they should wear with it. Frequently asked questions also include "what is the difference between Japanese underwear and what I normally wear?" This article will answer these questions as well as any other queries you may have about kimono clothing.
    Read More
    Haori VS Kimono VS Hakama: Traditional Japanese Clothing

    by Bunka Japan August 19, 2021 4 min read

    Haori and hakama are essential components of traditional Japanese fashion, typically worn during festivals, coming-of-age ceremonies, and other big life events, similar to kimono. Continue reading to learn about these garments and how you can experience this part of Japanese culture for yourself.
    Read More
    What Is A Male Kimono Called? Guide To The Types Of Kimono Robe Men

    by Bunka Japan August 16, 2021 3 min read

    Men kimono is a generic word like clothing. There are many different types of kimono for men. In the west, the Japanese men kimono is also called "Kimono Robe Men" or "men's Japanese kimono robe".

    When compared with the gara/pattern of women kimonos, Men's kimonos are as varied and colorful as their wearers. There is a hierarchy of sorts, where the material used in making them often dictates which rank they're at on that scale; though there may be some exceptions to this rule depending on who made it or for what occasion.

    Read More