Cosplay is a term that has become more and more popular throughout the years. As time passes and the variety of movies, tv shows, video games and comic books increases, more people decide to give it a shot and dress up as their favorite characters. However, cosplay was not born during Comic-con. People have been dressing up long before San Diego Comic-con‘s first edition back in 1970.
The term cosplay came as a portmanteau of the English words costume play. Cosplaying is a performance art where people dress up in costumes and wear fashion accessories in order to resemble certain characters or ideas. Usually, cosplaying is accompanied by role playing interaction between characters be it on stage or at the venue where the event takes place.
The oldest documentation of cosplay – or costuming as it was known at the time – was in 1939 at the first ever World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon. Forrest J. Ackerman came dressed up in a futuristicostume, resembling a proto-superhero and talking in Esperanto. His friend, Myrtle R. Jones accompanied him dressed in a gown recreated from the 1933 film Things to Come. The two were the only costumed people among the 185 attendants of the event. Frederik Pohl, in his book The Way The Future Was applauded the two for their costumes, but pointed out they might have created an ”ominous precedence.” The writer turned out to be right. The success of their costumes was so great that the following year the number of people coming in a Sci-fi apparel rose to about a dozen.
However, where did the term cosplay come from? For a long period of time the idea of costuming remained firmly ingrained in the North American conventions, but did not cross the ocean. It wasn’t until 1984 that things changed. Nobuyuki Takahashi of Studio Hard came to the Los Angeles Worldcon of that year and was impressed by the costumed fans. He coined the term cosplay as a contraction between costume and play. The idea took root in the minds of the Japanese people and soon fans started dressing up as their favorite anime or manga characters.
Starting from the 1990’s, cosplaying took a greater scale as anime and manga started becoming popular in Europe and America. Nowadays, the practice is spread all over the world. Have you ever tried cosplaying?
Images: wikipedia and videogamesblogger.com
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