Short for “costume play”, cosplay is when fans dress up as their favourite character from anime, manga, video games or Japanese rock (J-rock) bands. It’s said the word was coined by Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Takahashi in 1984 when he wrote a feature about US fans dressing up for a masquerade (a combination of a skit show and fashion parade for people in cosplay costumes) at a science fiction convention in Los Angeles. Since then, the term has caught on and it’s now inconceivable for an anime convention anywhere in the world not to have a substantial cosplay element to it. At the ultimate level there’s the World Cosplay Summit held annually in early August since 2003 by the Aichi Broadcasting Company in Nagoya with participants from up to fourteen countries. The main events are a cosplay parade in the Ōsu district and the championship show itself, held in the public areas of Oasis 21.

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