Have you seen or heard of CosPlay ~ short for “costume play”?
A trend which merely goes around teenagers in Japan, and it is dressing up like popular or cult figures from manga, television, games or other media, including fast food franchise branding, and interprets them as dress-up. Dress up is not necessarily reserved for a special occasion, it's part of the fabric of self-expression. They call it otaku culture. Kids meet at special places like Harajuku, or conventions to show off their hand-made creations. Make new friends with another character that looks exactly like themselves while dressed-up, this whole phenomenon intrigues me! What about you?
So why CosPlay??
The CosPlay phenomenon quite related to, though not a direct extension of the whole rebellious attitude of dressing in Japan. Grey and blue suits still predominate the urban landscape, white shirts and ties still are the norm.
Cosplay is a restrained form of self-expression. It is easily undone. Most of the piercings are either fake or very discrete. Most of the tattoos are washed away at the end of the day.
If you go to Harajuku early enough, you'll see the kids changing into their outfits, because there's no way they'd walk around their home neighborhoods in that garb.
Wild hair color is pretty normal in Tokyo, so much that even the elderly often sport a green or purple 'doo. It's interesting to note, though, that the top selling hair colors for young Japanese are the natural blacks and browns, because kids know that if there's a wedding or a funeral or a job interview or a visit from a rich relative, respect must be shown with a return to conformity.
So I guess what I'm getting at is that unlike the US, Japanese kids are having fun playing dress-up, not forging some sort of self-styled identity like their American counterparts. Although that is just one opinion, there are many others who believe there is a deeper sense of identity crisis, not knowing where to belong, attention seekers and looking for a moment of fame.
To me, it's an escape for these kids, a chance to stand out from the crowd and get a bit of attention for their creativity and sewing skills - it's weird, but it gets their picture in the Asian edition of Time Magazine about once a month which may be all they're really after... And it is FUN and cute!!
There are shops and magazines to order these costumes in Japan, but the real fan likes to make the costume herself/himself, putting a lot of effort into the details and materials used. The purpose is not to alienate the mundane masses (though that happens inevitably), it's just to look pretty in an incredibly elegant and detailed way.
What do you think of this kind of hobby? Dangerous or innocent, weird or funny? Artistic, creepy or just a way to have something to do during the weekends? Hang out with same kindred spirits? At least I got some ideas for Halloween for the girls.. LOL, but I am not sure they are into this kind of CosPlay??
Have a Fantastic Friday!