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06.09.2014

C IS FOR COSPLAY

Categories: A to Z of Japan, Events

We work alongside Japan’s oldest and most respected kigurumi factory to create the Kigu range. To celebrate this, we’ve started putting together an A to Z of Japanese culture. The next letter is ‘C’, and the winner is ‘Cosplay’!

Dressing up is one of the best parts of childhood. Why go to school as an ordinary human ‘bean’ when you can be a
unicorn or maybe a dinosaur? In fact, why go to work in office attire when you can dress up as a fox, or maybe even a lemur?

A shortening of the phrase ‘costume play’, Cosplay is humungous in Japan. More than just fancy dress, it’s all about playing a part. You name it: manga, anime, film, video games, books; a cosplay character can come from anywhere in the global cultural zeitgeist.

Cosplay is taken more seriously than regular dressing up, and many of the costumes are elaborately made by their wearers. More than just donning an outfit, Cosplay is tied into the idea that you become a little like your character when you pop on their togs. Prolific cosplayers even have their own celebrity status and big names include the likes of Marie-Claude Bourbonnais, Adrianne Curry, Francesca Dani and Alodia Gosiengfiao.

There’s a sexual element to some types of cosplay too, and many a costume features near nudity or the overzealous bearing of flesh, which is perhaps to be expected considering that many Cosplay outfits are inspired by comic books.

Whether you just bung on a fun zany accessory, or you go all out, this form of fan fashion has conventions and exhibitions aplenty. There are Cosplay events all over the world, but there are a few big ‘uns that stand out from the shoal, including the San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con, Anime Expo, Cure Cosplay Festival and The Wold Cosplay Summit.

While many people believe that this fun hobby was born in Japan, it was actually begotten in America way, way back in 1939 when a guy called Forrest J. Ackerman popped on a futuristic costume for the 1st World Science Fiction Convention. The word ‘Cosplay’ was coined later, when the craze swept across Asia. ‘Cosplay’ is now a pretty well-known buzz word, and a key building block of Japanese fashion.

Why not try on a Kigu and see how it feels? Grab a friend, slip into something more comfortable and pop down the pub.

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