What is Cosplay?

Greetings everyone and welcome to the site. If you’re here, then hopefully you’ve stumbled upon this place out of curiosity. We’re going to go ahead and jump right in.

So what exactly is cosplay?

In a previous article, I gave a very brief definition of what cosplay was to me. Cosplay stands for costume play. Costume play is, generally stating, dressing up as a fictional character who you favor whether it’s from a video game, a Japanese anime, a Japanese manga, a television series, a book and so on. It can literally be any sort of fictional character or even a celebrity. Heck, you could even make up your own character and dress up as that if you really wanted to, and no one would judge because costume play is meant to be something you enjoy.

Brief History of Cosplay

So where did the term cosplay come from, and how did it even develop? Well, as stated before cosplay means costume play, and it is believed to have started in America in the 1930s. Costuming developed from parties held during this time that had genres to them. At the time, people only had to dress up as the specified genre.

This became more popular and small conventions began to pop up. These gatherings ended up turning more into masquerades and costume parties where prizes were also awarded to those who had the best costume.

A little later and over in Japan, college students began dressing up as their favorite manga characters when going to conventions. To further show their appreciation and devotion to their favorite characters though, they went a step further and acted out specific scenes and the personalities of their cherished characters.

Finally, in 1984, a Japanese reporter who went by Nobuyuki Takahashi coined the term cosplay. While at a convention in America, he was fascinated by the many costumes and wrote a report on it. However, he didn’t know how to describe it in Japan as he thought the term masquerade was too old-fashioned. Because of this, he combined the words costume play, and thus the term cosplay was coined.

Today

Snap back to reality today and it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see someone going to a convention dressed up. As a matter of fact, at the time I’m writing this now, I’m actually going to a convention this week and going to be cosplaying Hatsune Miku.

For those still completely fresh in the water with this, Hatsune Miku is a character for a program with completely synthesized vocals. These characters are known as Vocaloids, and that’s an entire post all on its own. However, just know that it’s an instrument for making music, and there are characters/mascots for it. Hatsune Miku is one of the most popular of the many characters.

Now, cosplay is something more and more people are getting into. It’s a thing of creativity and expression. Anyone can do it no matter the age or the limitation. More often than not, people even put a spin on the characters they cosplay, changing their genders or even combining two costumes into one.

As it grows with popularity, numerous conventions are sprouting. One of the largest conventions in the United States is the San Diego Comic Con. This convention brings people from all over for one weekend of fun in the state of California. It’s not just the “ordinary” folks showing up either. Celebrities even show up to this convention whether it’s for a panel or to just enjoy the people dressed up in their costumes. I myself am hoping to plan a trip to San Diego Comic Con one day as it is huge. There’s so much to do and so much fun to be had. 

One more thing about cosplay, it is an experience where you can have your pictures taken by numerous photographers and guests. San Diego Comic Con is a photographer’s dream. There’s so many people wanting to have their photos taken and photo shoots done. Cosplay is not only fun, but it provides exposure for photographers and cosplayers alike as these can also be professions. You can find numerous San Diego Comic Con photos with just a simple search.

Regardless, cosplay is definitely a growing fascination all over that’s here to stay for a while.

6 thoughts on “What is Cosplay?

  1. Cosplay is very popular at comic book conventions these days like Alamo City Comic Con in San Antonio, TX (est. 2013)
    Alternative Press Expo in San Jose, CA (est. 1994)
    Baltimore Comic-Con in Baltimore, MD (est. 2000)
    Big Apple Comic Con in New York City, NY (est. 1996)
    Boston Comic Con in Boston, MA (est. 2007)
    Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in Chicago, IL (est. 2010)
    Connecticut ComiCONN in Uncasville, CT (est. 2010)
    Comicpalooza in Houston, TX (est. 2008)
    Dallas Comic Con in Dallas, TX (est. 2002)
    Denver Comic Con in Denver, CO (est. 2012)
    Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA (est. 1987)
    East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia, PA (est. 2002)
    East Coast Comicon in Secaucus, NJ (est. 2012 as “Asbury Park Comicon”)
    Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, WA (est. 2003)
    FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in Salt Lake City, UT (formerly Salt Lake Comic Con) (est. 2013)
    Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC (est. 1982)
    Intervention in the Washington, D.C. area (est. 2010)
    L.A. Comic Con in Los Angeles, CA (est. 2011)
    MegaCon in Orlando, FL (est. 1993)
    Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention in Memphis, TN (est. 2010)
    MoCCA Festival in New York City, NY (est. 2002)
    Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI (est. 1989)
    New York Comic Con in New York City, NY (est. 2006)
    North Texas Comic Book Show in Dallas, TX (est. 2011, quarterly events)
    Ohio Comic Con in Columbus, OH (est. 1980 as “Mid-Ohio Con”)
    Pensacola Comic Convention, Pensacola, FL (est. 2010 as “Pensacola Para Con Comic Convention”)
    Phoenix Comic Fest in Phoenix, AZ (est. 2002 as “Phoenix Cactus Comicon”)
    Pittsburgh Comicon in Monroeville, PA (est. 1994)
    Rhode Island Comic Con in Providence, RI (est. 2012)
    Rose City Comic Con in Portland, OR (est. 2012)
    San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, CA (est. 1970 as the “Golden State Comic Book Convention”)
    Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, CA (est. 2016)
    Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD (est. 1994)
    Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE) in Columbus, OH (est. 2000)
    STAPLE! in Austin, TX (est. 2005)
    Wizard World Chicago in suburban Chicago, IL (est. 1972 as “Nostalgia ’72;” later known as the “Chicago Comicon”)
    WonderCon in Los Angeles, CA (est. 1987 in Bay Area as “Wonderful World of Comics Convention”)
    to name the ones in USA there alot more world wide .

    Superb article and keep up the great work

    1. Wowie, you know a lot more than I do lol. I know more of the ones here in the southeast side of the USA. I haven’t done a lot of traveling, but am hoping that I get to once I settle down from moving. Thank you for the comment as well.

  2. Hi there, really interesting post!
    I personally have never gone to a convention let alone wore a cosplay outfit, however have watched many videos on people who have and do.
    What seems great about it is how inclusive it seems, everyone is there because they enjoy the same thing so there is no judging, just an all round good time. So from that sense, I can see the appeal and seems like you have great fun at these conventions too. Keep doing what you enjoy!

    1. I started out just watching videos of people who had and still do cosplay. I was probably around 14ish when I first saw cosplay. Coolest thing I had come across, and eventually I took a plunge and decided to do it myself. It was super exciting and still is especially since the atmosphere is really nice to be around.

  3. Great post. I learned quite a bit about cosplay and it was interesting to see the origin of it and the history behind it. It seems as though cosplay continues to grow!

    1. Definitely! Conventions pop up all over. The one I go to every year started out very small, and now it holds a few thousand people each year. It also started out in this little building, and now it’s actually at a convention center. It’s very nice. I imagine that as it continues to grow, they’ll end up moving it to a larger center.

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