Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where Did Cosplay Orginated ?

 (Wanna meet Nobuyuki Takahash, the man who coined the term cosplay ? Go to 1:50 )

Well, that depends. Do you mean the term cosplay or the act of cosplay ?

Cosplay in term of dressing as a known character probably has been done forever. Perhaps early cavemen made fun of a certain other caveman by imitating his walk or action. We all remember in school how maybe one nutty teacher would dress up as Abraham Lincoln or other historical figure to illustrate a point. Costuming or dressing up as someone goes back ages.
If you mean cosplay in a convention environment, well perhaps it can be pointed in modern times to WorldCon in New York City. It was 1939 and the first World Science Fiction Convention had an attendance of 200 people. Among them was Forrest J Ackerman dressed in a "futuristicostume" - a hint of today's costuming.
More after the jump.

As sci-fi become more popular, more and more cons start popping up around the country. When Star Trek came out, cons specifically geared toward that series sprung up.  Some fans would make costumes of their favorite characters. Just take a look at this Star Trek con back in New York of 1973.

So dressing up and sci-fi cons wasn't that unusual. Sci-fi cons usually ran for a weekend. There would be a dealer room, industry guests, panels, opening ceremonies, art shows, masquerades (costume contest). Anime cons for the most part here in the United States were a offspring from the traditional sci-fi cons. I don't know what the first anime-specific con was but I know the oldest would be A-kon started in 1990 in Dallas, TX.
Oh, the term itself ? Nobuyuki Takahashi coined the term when he attended WorldCon in 1984. The documentary "Almost Famous" there's a segment (1:50 segment) where he talks about how he came up with the term. As it grew in popularity in Asia, and with the spread of the internet, the terminology came back to the United States. So yes, cosplay, the term is Japanese but costuming in general, well, we humans been doing that already for a long time.
In 2008 if you asked me what cosplay was, I would definitely say it was from Japanese anime/video games but ask me today and I would respond with the source material would be anything in pop culture - movies, tv, comics, anime, games, tv commercials, singers among others.
I went to my first con in the 1990s but my awareness of cosplay actually came from the internet. I would say the first con I went to with cosplay would be Anime Expo in 2008.
So how did you discover cosplay ?

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