+49 (0) 7721 9896-96 ✔ Delivery time 3-5 working days

Cosplay - The Japanese Phenomenon Conquers Germany

Cosplay - The Japanese Phenomenon Conquers Germany

In cosplay, the focus is on costumes that resemble characters from anime, manga, comics, movies, or video games. The term is a combination of the English words "costume" and "play." It is translated into German as "Kostümspiel." Fans are called cosplayers, and their goal is to faithfully portray a character from an anime series or Western characters, such as those from Harry Potter. This includes wearing an appropriate costume and imitating the character's behavior.

What is cosplay?

Cosplay (Japanese: コスプレ, kosupure) is a popular hobby where fans dress up as their favorite characters from anime, manga, movies, books, and games. 21st-century cosplay has evolved into its own subculture and cultural movement with distinct practices, rules, and traditions. Interestingly, the origin of cosplay is not in Japan but in the United States. In the 1960s, young people there began dressing up as their favorite characters from well-known comic books. The term "cosplay" was coined in Japan in the 1980s by Japanese publisher Nobuyuki Takahashi. By the turn of the century, it had become a global phenomenon, with Japan as its epicenter.

Two young Japanese women with cosplay costumes

Reasons for cosplay

Many people around the world are drawn to this unusual hobby for various reasons. Essentially, cosplay provides fans with the opportunity to break away from their everyday lives and express their creativity. For many, it's about pursuing their passion and enthusiasm for a specific fictional character or series. They aim to bring their favorite characters to life through their costumes.

Cosplay costumes in the DIY trend

One of the major trends is to sew your own cosplay costumes, including accessories and cosplay gear for women, men, and children. Cosplayers become true experts in tailoring, as the costumes are often highly elaborate. Attention to detail is crucial, and a cosplay dress should closely resemble the original. To portray a character from an anime (Japanese animated film), it's not only about the costume fitting but also about mimicking the character's behavior. By donning their cosplay costume, a cosplayer sheds their personal identity and transforms into their favorite character for the moment.

The cosplay scene

Cosplay has its own rules, codes, and events. Since the cosplay scene is a global phenomenon beyond Japan's borders, there are several international competitions held worldwide. Anime cosplay thrives on this sense of community. Many cosplayers participate in these events in groups, supporting and advising each other in the design of their costumes. In addition to cosplay competitions, these events are about fostering a sense of community and the associated gatherings. Cosplayers share costume tutorials and exchange tips on where to find good, ready-made costumes and fabrics at the best prices.

Cosplay costumes with masks

The creation of costume cosplay

Creating cosplay costumes and dresses allows enthusiasts to bring their stars from anime, comics, series, and movies to life. Therefore, it's not surprising that sewing your own costume takes a lot of time, including planning and deciding on a specific costume. The garment can be a suit, a dress, or even a simple T-shirt. Another important aspect is choosing the appropriate accessories, such as masks, wigs, and footwear. Depending on the character, this could also include sneakers. The finished costume should portray the hero or heroine as realistically as possible. After all, cosplayers want to step into the role of their favorite character for a day. Japanese mangas feature a variety of different characters and hero types.

Conventions and the German Cosplay Championship

The so-called conventions are an essential part of cosplay. These are gatherings where cosplayers showcase their meticulously designed costumes. It can happen that a manga fan becomes a role model for others. The closer the respective costume and clothing resemble the favorite character, the higher the chance of winning at one of these events. Popular costumes for women include school uniforms, dresses in the Lolita style, and those from Sailor Moon.

Colorful cosplay costume
Japanese woman with green cosplay costume

Digital gaming culture

In addition to well-known heroes from anime, manga, comics, and movies, numerous cosplayers also tailor their costumes in the style of digital games. One of the most popular games is, for example, Assassins Creed. There is, for instance, the annual Gamescom Cosplay Village where a diverse program with show acts and competitions for the best costume takes place over three days.

Social engagement and cosplay

Cosplayers also gather at larger events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, the World Cosplay Summit, or local carnivals and other conventions. However, some also engage in social missions. They visit hospitals for seriously ill children in cosplay costumes. One of the most well-known initiatives is "Helden für Herzen", which actively supports sick children. Dressed as superheroes, they bring great joy to the children. The spectrum ranges from anime cosplay to Harry Potter and Star Wars, among other series.

Otaku read in the magazine »

Creativity knows no limits

Cosplay costumes and the corresponding accessories are often developed and sewn in weeks of meticulous work. The overarching theme of the costume is as diverse as the fanbase, which exchanges tips and tricks on the internet. The outfits come in vibrant colors as well as black and white. The appropriate makeup, even for men, must not be missing. Before sewing begins, the necessary materials and views of the costume from the front, back, and details are collected. Wearing the cosplay costume fulfills a childhood dream for some. Not uncommonly, female cosplayers mention how they always dreamed of dressing up as a princess for Carnival when they were little. However, the garments are also often based on popular anime heroes, such as characters from Naruto and One Piece.

Order ready-made cosplay costumes online in various shops

Many costumes and suits are already available for purchase online in various shops. Often, in the respective online stores, costumes for women, men, and children for Halloween, as well as carnival costumes, can be ordered. There, different fabrics in black, white, and many other colors are frequently available at affordable prices. The dress sizes range from size 38 to larger sizes. Masks and deluxe costume editions are also often available. In Japan, there are also many stores in the Harajuku district of Tokyo that sell ready-made cosplay costumes, cosplay wigs, and cosplay accessories.

Newsletterbadge Newsletterpfeil

Newsletter subscribe now

Our newsletter subscribers are the first to be informed!!

News about products, manufacturers & designers
and cultural topics relating Japan

Japanese Culture


Our newsletter will inform you about
exciting new posts about the
Japanese culture!

Sign up now!

The latest   blog entries