View Full Version : TGS2010: "Too many gaijin"

09-24-2010, 07:19 PM
A rarity here: a discussion thread.

Reading the blogs of friends and Japanese TGS attendees makes one thing totally clear ~ they didn't have as much fun as we did.

Complaints range from being unable to move in the cosplay area much less take a photo to similar problems with the "cosplay dance party" involving only 20-30 cosplayers and 15 minutes of dancing. People were turned off by the casual atmosphere, lack of permission to take photos, liberal use of zoom lenses, "sneak" photos, etc. They're lamenting the low mean level of ability on show in the cosplay area, the influx of newbies, and the near total lack of content in the show itself.

But one complaint keeps popping up that makes me a little uneasy:

"too many gaijin"

Yes, I understand that in my Japanese friends writing a statement like that at all in a place I can see it means they aren't including ME in the complaint... but it seems to highlight one major problem with promotions like the one cosgroove ran: Japan wants more international attention and participation... but the Japanese don't all want to have to deal with foreigners or the change they bring to events.

Why "too many gaijin" and not just "too many ippansha"? Why "too many gaijin" and not "too many rude photographers"?

What does "gaijin" really mean in this context?

How are we pissing people off? Language barrier? Not knowing the rules? Rude photography? Touching? What are we all doing wrong that makes TGS "gaijin" negative and Comiket "gaijin" positive? What can we do to be less "annoying" and more "exciting"? How can we give our community a more positive spin?

We can say "ignore the naysayers" until the cows come home... but we have a unique chance to really affect the way foreigners are percieved at big events, online and in the cosplay community. What should we be doing with it?

Oh, and if you haven't already ~ please contact cosgroove and Ma-san with any feedback you have about the event. I think it's important they nip things like that horrendous "Dance Party" in the ass before they happen again ^^;;;

09-24-2010, 07:54 PM
Are they meaning gaijin cosplayers, or gaijin photographers?! I would say there weren't too many gaijin cosplayers there to really disturb anyone. I can see however how rude photographers who don't know the rules would piss them off, because I dealt with more than a few myself.

I do believe that there wasn't many gaijin cosplayers to truly cause some sort of crazy disruption. I hope I didn't offend anyone, as i was trying not to, and I do believe none of us where. I believe we were all polite as well.

Perhaps they felt that we foreigners where taking their good time away from them just by being there. *shrug* I haven't come across many japanese blogs about this, only like 2 or 3 and they where pretty positive about us foreigners.

09-24-2010, 08:31 PM
Point of view from a gaijin non-cosplayer...

For a gaijin who didn't really read up on the rules before arriving at the venue, I would guess the best bet would be to observe and follow what everyone does. While many formed queues to take photos of the cosplayers, those who tried to join in the shoot from aside were usually politely told not to, and join the queue. Of course, it became harder when the numbers grew.

For those with a big mass of photographers crowded around them, I thought most were cooperative whenever they did a countdown to stop posing. Of course, there were a few who insisted on continuing to shoot, but was done only after requests were made.

Noticed a very brief signboard with some rules along the main pathway between the halls, but it was really brief and obvious. Was lacking a Chinese version too, as I noticed a large number of visitors from China as well.

Hope I didn't piss too many people off though. @.@

09-24-2010, 09:14 PM
I haven't really been checking up on blogs, but, most of those are the same complaints that get tossed out every year. Too many people, cosplay level not high enough (haha, hope they don't ever end up at a US con....), to many people not knowing the rules, etc. You think they'd come prepared for it! Last year, I had similar problems in terms of crowding and lines in particular. If not for the private dressing room we were offered I probably would not have cosplayed at TGS this year. The line to change gets longer and longer every year. They opened it up earlier this year, but it has taken me a good 3 hours in the past to get into the changing area. Some of this is the fault of the cosplayers though. Some of those girls will spend forever in the changing room working on makeup and wigs and what not, and until they leave, others can't get it. I think separate areas for actually changing and then a makeup/touch up area would help speed things up. There is also usually a line for changing out of costume as well.

In terms of the photo space, the show has also always been crowded, but seemed even more so this year. Not surprising given that I've seen reports saying this year had the highest attendance yet. I think the backdrops were cool and all, but they were blocking wall space that could have fit a few more people. Same for the cosplay desk area they had setup. If they want to encourage more cosplaying in the future, they should strongly consider having another designated cosplay photography area somewhere.

In truth, the too many gaijin comments don't shock me. Japan, for all it's awesomeness, is still quite xenophobic. I can only hope they are not taking about us. There were, what, 30 or so of us? And if they were talking about us, they need to get over themselves. Most of us seemed to know how to play by the rules. We were a lot more visible this year though and maybe some of them are upset that we seemed to be getting special treatment this year (which we were, so they may have a valid complaint there). This was something I was worried about before hand. We got a lot a perks that they would also loved to have had. That kind of situation can cause rifts in a community.

Unless the people on these blogs posted something more specific about why they felt there were too many gaijin, I'm not sure we need to worry about our image as cosplayers all that much. Almost all of the Japanese cosplayers I had a chance to speak with were all quite nice and seemed pleased to see a foreign cosplayer. I even had one track me down in the crowd after we chatted and took pics together just to see if it was cool for her to post our pictures on her blog. I think for comiket I'm gonna have some cards printed out to make this kind of exchange smoother. Anyone know a good printer?

09-24-2010, 11:58 PM
Well I am not surprised by the gaijin comments on blogs but honestly I don`t think they were talking about us. All of us cosplayers were on our best behavior out in the cosplay area but I do think the dance party might of caused some....friction. I was there for only half the party, I watched the awards and then took off but I remember you all having to line up and stand in front of the audience for no reason at all and I`m sure the crowd was wondering why all the foreigners were being paraded in front of them. I know it was just a mistake and misunderstanding but maybe the crowd didnt see it that way. As for the special treatment, aside from our guest passes how could they have known we were getting and sort of special deal? I certainly didnt mention it to anyone or act in any way that would have suggested I was which Im sure was how it was for all of us.

I think the negative comments may be directed to the photographers...I did have some problems myself with a few that were I think from China and Taiwan, they were not Japanese or westerners at all. One guy (while we were standing in front of the evil bambi backdrop) decided to squat down next to us, drink a can of coffee...which he left behind and did not throw away and smoked a freaking cigarette right next to us. It was OBVIOUS that you don`t smoke in the cosplay area! Honestly I was going to throw his coffee can at him and tell him to put it in the trash >_<

All in all though everyone seemed to be behaving to me. Aside from a few small things, I think the people leaving comments like that must be trolls or something. I will agree with mixaka that Japan does seem to be a little xenophobix though....but meh what can you do other than try to set a good example.

Also I want to add the the most negative attitudes I run into in and out of cosplay are usually from people NOT in our generation, meaning people who are about 10+ years older than us. I see the skin head party a lot here in Tokyo, they are all middle aged men who want all foreigners to leave japan and they want japan to go back to pre WW2 mentality, they also drive around is ugly vans with military slogans written on them and play old military marching songs on loud speakers. I emagine there are quite a few like this in the otaku world as well, who want cosplay and video games and whatever else to be strictly for japanese by japanese only.

But you know what? The world is changing and there is NOTHING these people can do about it, so why even care what they think? Japan one way or the other is going to become globalized (as if it werent already) and unless the world implodes cosplay is going to keep growing and growing drawing more people like you and I to these events.

09-25-2010, 03:17 PM
I do not know why Kira keeps making new threads instead of staying in TGS thread these days…

First of all, let me say that I did not feel like posting something on your thread
I respect the variety of the opinion of thoughts, and I also respect an opinion saying everyone should follow his or her idea. I usually try to be quiet as far as the claim does not provide wrong or misleading information. I am afraid of ruining the variety of the opinions, but please let me make some exception today.
Your posts reminds me of the dark history of cosplay culture long long ago, and I felt sharing the experience of an old one will make the chance to learn from the history.

First, let me point out your lack of the ability to collect some information and that you seem to forget other people have more information than you assume.
I think I can be an example. It is totally NG to believe Japanese people are ignorant from your special treatment and your making use of the deal knowing it may cause some tension between Japanese and foreigners. I am a stupid enough to post something here, but real smart people will not let others notice he or she knows more.
I also need to doubt how you are securing the credibility of your information. I can see a lot of clues to see you are not making sure how true the info is, but let me pick one example. In CelestialShadow’s post above (Of course I do not mean to heart her.), how did you figure out the “skin head party” is claiming the foreigners should leave Japan? Did you go to listen to their speech? Did you hear from a TV news?

Not only do not you gather credible information, you have missed the chances to find new things. Some smart people here mentioned something is strange in TGS this year, but you were satisfied with a seemingly-pleasant interpretation. Giving up the quest for finding something behind have prevented you from foreseeing what you will see in TGS and from estimating the effect of your behavior to the cosplay culture.

In addition to that, you seem to be lazy enough not to do beyond “your best”. You seem to believe you were following all the rules, behaving not to make anyone annoyed, staying as polite as you can and so on. I would think I have done something wrong before assuming the complain is directed to others. It sounds you are satisfied with following the rules, but if you are mature enough, you must know it is not enough in many cases. I need to mention the presence of unwritten rules too.

In this case too, I can tell you are not checking the credibility of the information. It is not only in TGS. I have seen no one point out Kira’s mistake in introducing the regulations of WCS or Comiket. If you look up the official catalog, you can find her mistake. I have to doubt if she is checking the official announcement, if she is as good at Japanese as she claims, or if the people here are so bad that no one points out a major mistake and laugh at the mistake behind her.

Your “being nice” to Japanese people seems to be based on your easy satisfaction too. I do not like to see you change your style, but let me show one example here.
Have you noticed Kiratsukai was very rude on me on WCS and Comiket thread?(It is lucky that most of the members here are also there) I believe no one did. It tells how hard it is to be polite and behave in front of someone in another culture. I can imagine you could have done something subconsciously.

The last point I have now is that some of you seem not to be conscious what staying in another country is. A country is the private space for the citizens, and going to other country is same as stepping into other’s house. Also, you have to admit the variety of the ideas. It is not the place where you are raised and where people have their own culture.
Regarding the people who has negative impression to foreigners are out of date and that they should change their mind is a serious invasion toward the variety the ideas and belief.

I have decided not to interfere your threads, but I am afraid of the result of your action based on these shallow thinking I can see here. Japanese cosplayers had made a lot of effort to gain social consensus in Japan. All of us has the potential to make it come undone. I do not like to see someone claims she is spending her life for the international understanding without keeping this in mind.
It can be a personal attack, but please forgive me. Have you thought of the result of translating the articles of a cosplay magazine and put it online? Have you noticed there is a news article saying Japanese cosplayers are stupid enough to hurt the publishing company who is supporting the cosplay culture in Japan. Both foreign and Japanese cosplayers have some big impact on social impression about cosplay. Pl ease be careful……

Sorry for a long post.

09-25-2010, 09:02 PM
I believe that even in efforts for internationalization, we must pick our battles.
This includes walking away from those that are unwinnable.

Let me clarify again for all: I am not fluent in Japanese. I have never claimed to be fluent in Japanese. I have done my best to provide access to information in English that was not available at the time I joined this forum and am continuing to try to breathe a bit of life into the foreign expat cosplay community here through supporting the efforts of others (like Tokyo Cosnet, Yorustar and Cosgroove) to reach out to us and create interesting chances for exchange. I do not live my life for the promotion of cosplay or the cause of perfect understanding and harmony in the cosplay world. I represent none of these groups or their ideals. This is my hobby. I have done it for less than a year. I am still learning: in every sense of the word.

I'm not sure why the standards I am held to are so high or why I seem to be so dissappointing and infuriating to at least one member of this board. I can only hope that it works itself out in time. If not, I can't do any more than my best. If my best doesn't satisfy: I'm sorry.

I can't do any more.

09-25-2010, 10:26 PM

While Kiratsukai undoubtedly makes some mistakes in her translations and information, she is working very hard to try and inform the foreign cosplay community about Japanese cosplay rules and culture. Mistakes are inevitable, both on her part and on the part of the foreigners reading her information, but due to her many foreigners are much more able to behave well at Japanese cosplay events than they could be without her translations and helpful advice.

I feel you have been very rude to Kiratsukai over a number of threads, including the WCS and Comiket ones. She does not deserve the attacks you are making on her, and you are displaying very bad manners.

09-25-2010, 10:29 PM
Aside from addressing specific posting, I'll just give my general two cents based entirely on impression.

As far as how we and other foreign cosplayers I saw act on the floor, I saw nothing but humble, courteous people. That said, I did hear about a few that I can imagine being a little less than "perfect", but nowhere near public incident level. It sounds pretty clear to me, the cosplayers themselves weren't the problem. I went out of my way to ask for a picture even in the absurd throngs, kept a nice distance and didn't overstay my welcome and on every occasion got a pleasantly shocked response. I know other people here did the same thing, and likely got similar responses.

Despite that this was my first TGS, it is clear that TGS is not focused on cosplay. At all. It's a game show first, and a cosplay event only kind of. For someone who came out with the express purpose of cosplaying, I can get why they would be annoyed and bitter.

Just by sheer numbers, all of the photographer complaints must have been coming by a majority of rude Japanese photographers. This is no secret. Now, whether or not these photographers got their bad ideas from us gaijin is another story. Of course not, but it's an easy out. I mean, how on earth would Japanese people start acting rude on their own, it's unheard of!

Seriously, though, this is not something that really worries me. It's a shame, and as much as I love Japan, Japan never fails to disappoint in matters of cultural exchange. These are just growing pains in a larger movement as cosplay both grows and becomes more and more internationally linked. Anyone who's really upset is throwing a little tantrum before they just accept it. Any legitimate, appropriately directed complaints will work themselves out. As much as it might seem like there are set rules about this stuff (granted there ARE printed ones for events, but that's not what I mean), it's an organic, shifting hive mind.

As far as the dance party goes, that was just awful. Everyone has a right be be upset about that. But if they're upset about US for that, then that just doesn't make any sense. It was clearly an excuse to film 25 minutes of cosplay dance footage for whatever purpose they had in mind.

09-25-2010, 11:38 PM
@ Gasei, The name is the group is 右翼、you can look up their info online. Yes I have heard their speeches and seen their pamphlets that they pass out. They usually show up in force at big festival events here in the city and they hang around Shinjuku station a lot....The term skin head, BTW my husband is Japanese and that is the EXACT term he used to describe them, are nothing more than trouble makers, even the local Japanese people don`t like them! They are essentially the ultra right wing party who want a cultural revolution that does not include any people of foreign decent living on Japanese soil. That sad thing is, there are many of these people here where I live....It`s a little scarry =(
Maybe what I am experiencing is not what other foreigners has experienced (there are very few tourist/expats in my district) but this is what I see on a daily basis and it is very real to me, I don`t have to supply evidence for something like this or try to explain it because I don`t think I can tell you what these people have inside their minds and hearts. All I know is that they don`t make me feel welcome here in Japan at all =(

Despite the complaints and TGS I had a GREAT time. I was happy just to be there walking around, talking to friends, cosplaying. I was satisfied with experience and yes there were problems but they weren`t big enough to ruin my experience.

I think personally though that there should have been a Japanese cosplayer with the guests of honor trio, I don`t know all their names accept adella but I think it kind of looked bad that there were two white girls and one thai girl......there should have been more countries represented and Japan should have also supplied a guest of honor from the home country. That`s just my personal feeling on that though.

But touching back to what kira asked in her first post, how can we make it better? I just don`t know what else I can do as an individual other than follow the rules, be polite, smile and thank people who took my photo, ask people to take their photo before taking it, bowing and not getting in anyone`s way or making a fool of myself. Other than that what can I do? I am a human with thoughts and opinions, a personality and feelings and I treat everyone the way i want would in turn want to be treated. If that is not enough for a decent cultural exchange then I wonder whats the point of anything I do as in or out of cosplay here in Japan? Worrying endlessly about these things takes the fun right out of life.

09-25-2010, 11:41 PM
btw, my `not caring what they think` comment on my first post, I meant not caring what the red party (the skin heads) thinks! Of course I care what japan thinks about us but there are some people who will hate you no matter what just because your skin is a different color, you come from a different country, you speak a different language. It happens in every country. You cant change people who are like that because they WANT to hate you. So why bother? Just leave them alone to wallow in their dislikes. Some people are never satisfied.

09-26-2010, 02:47 AM
I'll admit, I couldn't really understand all of the complaints that were listed a few comments above, but I do have to join in to say that our small group of foreign cosplayers didn't seem to be the issue.

We had a good variety of nationalities represented, and all of them had nice-looking costumes. Maybe not all perfect, but all well put-together. Everyone was polite and friendly. Everyone cleaned up after themselves. And, from what I saw, most of us made an effort to greet and chat with Japanese cosplayers as well, which seemed to be well-received.

It's possible that the comments about too many foreigners was directed towards regular Game Show attendees, which is ironic considering Game Show is trying to open itself more (which will only benefit it economically in the end). However, I found the Japanese photographers who tried to sneak up-skirt and boob shots far more obnoxious than any of the foreign attendees there.

CelestrialShadow, I am familiar with the group you refer too. We had them in Osaka, and there are even some way out here in Kagawa. They are a minority, thankfully, and most Japanese people feel ashamed of them. The real irony through is that given Japan's aging population and declining birthrate, it was estimated they need to admit thousands of immigrants annually to combat the current population trends.

09-26-2010, 03:26 AM
As someone who has never lived in Japan, and doesn't really know the language (I only know how to introduce myself, say "thank you very much", "yes", "no".. etc) it can all be a bit overwhelming. But as I was trying to get to before, I tried to study all the rules, and be polite and considerate. I didn't notice any negative feelings or looks from Japanese cosplayers/attendees, and I actually met up with 2 Japanese cosplayers whom I've admired for quite a long time, and their reactions where quite positive -- which made me feel really good!

Just responding to Gasei to let him know that hearing about this whole "too many gaijin" thing upset me because I didn't want to make American cosplayers look bad, and try to set a good example. However, since I am a foreigner, I am likely to make mistakes and if I have, I am terribly sorry. However, I can't spend all my days worrying about what every single person think of me, because if I did I wouldn't have any fun cosplaying and I probably would have quit cosplay a long time ago. That being said, I wasn't trying to offend, nor disrupt any sort of event. Also I honestly don't think anyone thought that Japanese cosplayers didn't know what was going about the "special treatment". Yes, I thought it was nice (since I don't live in Japan and I flew all the way there from America), but not totally necessary, and I could see it causing anger/confusion within the community.

I think we all agree that the Cosplay Dance was just odd. We had no idea what was going on, and it was horribly organized. I felt weird being paraded around and put in a line in front of the stage for all to see. I think that would infuriate/annoy anyone. But no one can really blame us as we didn't know what the heck was to come as they marched us into the room.

09-26-2010, 04:14 AM
Gasei could you please stop being a complete and total dick to Kira I don't get it every time she posts something you are there saying I, " I don't want to intrude and be a prick but I`m gonna." You sir are being a dick and need to leave her alone. There are one to many negative complaints coming from japan about the event so she is right not to mention i would take would take head to anything she says because she has been in japan for quite some time. Not to mention all of our Japanese friends that give us the info. Now don`t try to make me feel bad either cause I`m barely on here and you would literally waste your breath.

09-26-2010, 01:37 PM
Again, let me make an exception To tell the truth, I am sort of happy to see some ROM (Read Only Member) start to post on this thread instead of PM me.

I do not know what to tell first. ww

> CelestialShadow. I knew which group you meant from the beginning. I have to admit it was careless of me to use that example. I can imagine either your husband thought you are not ready to go above “Politically Correct (PC)” or you thought it is better to stay on PC. It was my mistake. I should have used another example.
If it were on bigger thread, words from your husband would not be considered to be a credible source, but I am not trying to be that perfect at this point.

> Kiratsukai. I regard your achievement highly, or I would let you do whatever.
I believe you have the possibility to lead many foreign cosplayers till enough foreign cosplayers have good understanding, and do not want you to loose your motivation. I am not disappointed by your skill but by your making excuse saying you did your best.
As another member here has mentioned, there will be more and more cosplayers coming to Japan, and I wish you get enough skill to translate a pile of regulations and knowledge of Japanese cosplay culture (both PC side and black side) before it turns out to be too late…. like some Japanese cosplayers did in the US long ago….

Just for the future reference.
If I were a pure Japanese and this discussion were open to Japanese, you will loose it. If you check your post on other threads, you can tell you have made some inconsistent statement.

> Jaseroque. I guess you are one of few people here who have not gotten the point of the example of manners. I admit it was little indirect and based on the assumption that you really have read the threads you mentioned. I guess I need to explain a bit.
Let me pick the example of WCS thread. You seem not need to check the reaction of US people who read the thread: I am considered to be too harsh to Kira. I also have gotten some reaction from non-cosplayer ROM Japanese members, they say I should leave her alone because she was so rude that she seemed as if she looked down on me. I felt something similar, but I knew it was not Japanese thread and did not point it out.
I do not like to show private communication unnecessarily and will not tell the detail here, but we can see one thing. You thought I was rude, but some Japanese members thought she was rude. It tells how hard it is to be polite to other group of people. If Kira’s posts look OK for you even if they were directed to some random Japanese cosplayers, you look too optimistic for me.

>HezaChan. I think I can share the feeling to some extent. I know the time when Japanese cosplayers lost great amount of reputation in the US. I hope foreign cosplayers here can grab any chance to avoid the opposite will happen.
As you say, I can tell many Japanese know the “special treatment”. At least, the people who are opposing to the business of the company who offered the deal. Politically (on PC), there is no discrimination between native cosplayers and foreign cosplayers, so many people just may have pretended they had not heard of the deal.

> MasonKun. I do not get what you say in the middle of your post, and not sure for your point, but do not worry. I already have gotten tons of these reactions from others.
As I meant to say before, I know I am invading the private space for foreign cosplayers. I am not a pure American either and I know I should not have posted on this thread or I will end up losing my account here again. I might make another post here, but I will leave you all alone after that. I had decided not to post any more on any “Japan” threads for foreigners, but I just thought people were looking for something to improve cosplay culture and I could not help without posting my idea. It seems to be wrong decision, and I will go back to be nice and quiet Japanese guy.

Sorry for a long post again. I will not post any more on the threads for foreigners except for the ones I got request.


09-26-2010, 09:57 PM
Staff message time.

Gasei, you are not "invading" anyone's "private space" here. This thread is open to anyone. What you are doing, however, is being rude. I'm not sure if you don't consider it rude and just think you're being helpful, but from a Western standpoint it's rude. End of issue. Unfortunately this may be an issue of English not being your first language, and you not realizing that the way you are saying some things isn't so much critique as outright being mean.

I'd like just to say that doing one's best is a perfectly acceptable way of doing things from a Western point of view. It's not an excuse. We're taught that if you can't win, at least you tried your hardest and that's what matters. It works with everything. Like kira's translations. Even if they aren't perfect, she is trying very hard to bring information to others. And we appreciate it. We don't look down on her for saying she tried as hard as she could when it's wrong. To us, that is honesty. Please understand that.

It HAS seemed like you are picking on her in other threads. Then you do what looks to us as playing the victim, talking about how much she hates you and is rude to you. Stop it.

I would like to hear more details on what you mean by Japanese cosplayers in the U.S. Did someone break the rules and lose their reputation? I have been attending conventions in the U.S. for over 10 years now and I don't remember ever hearing anything like that. We are not quite the types to freak out over a innocent rule-breaking unless it hurt someone else.

Everyone else, ganging up on Gasei isn't going to help anything either. You know who you are.


And now for my personal opinion. Actually, yes, parts of the cosplay area definitely seemed jumbled and less organized than when I attended in 2007. That time three years ago, there were maybe 2-3 other foreign (at least, white) cosplayers in the halls. It was a lot quieter. However, the addition of foreign cosplayers this year didn't really seem to be the issue. I would love to hear some examples otherwise, but to me it seemed to really be the higher number of attendees. There were a lot more foreign attendees and photographers, but that is what Tokyo Game Show is aiming for. All of the giant game shows want to be international and TGS is no different.
I think the backdrops had something to do with it, too. Everyone had to move around a lot more. Before, you just picked a part of the wall and stayed there while the photographers lined up.

Come to think of it, the time when we had everyone on the stairs and then back down next to them for all of those group shots was very different from the last TGS I was at. I wonder if that bothered people. At that point, like it or not, we were starting to resemble a rowdy group of foreign cosplayers even if we were being orderly. I don't know if what I'm trying to get across makes any sense... But that's all I can think of!

09-26-2010, 11:51 PM
@gasei, Im not sure how what I said is PC because I used slang to describe that political group. If I were being PC I would have used nicer terms like , `alternative political party` without using the term `skin heads` which is a slang term American`s use for any rebel/troublemaker group that is generally not socially acceptable.

For the most part I don`t have a problem with you Gasei, you have strong opinions and you do make some good points. I am not picking on you so please don`t take it that way, I am simply critiquing your style. You come across in a way that if I ( I cant speak for everyone else so I will not use the word `we`) don`t act the way you think I should and follow your exact plan for cultural exchange that somehow all of Japan is going to not like me. I have been able to make friends, cosplayers and non just by using my own style. I am not japanese, I am american and even though I live in Japan and follow the rules and do my best to understand the culture, I will always be american inside.

I come from Seattle which is a very international and tolerant city, most things that are not acceptable here in Japan are acceptable where I come from. Seattle doesn`t have a problem with cross dressers, homosexuals, cosplayers, anyone of any race or language which is an aspect that fascinates a lot of my friends. Here in Japan they all say the samething `Japan is too strict` you cant be yourself because you are expected to fit into this perfect mold that is acceptable to society. All of my Japanese friends find this aspect fascinating that there could be so much social freedom and that I am generally very tolerant of people with different lifestyles. But you sound like if I don`t give this up and completely immerse myself with Japan then I am going to fail. I have not failed so far doing it my way so am I wrong?

The point I am trying to make is, there is no one prescribed way to go about this whole `too many gaijin` issue. I think that as long as I smile, be friendly, try to speak the language (in my case), do my very best with my costume, and follow the rules, everything should be okay. Some people may still not like me because I am gaijin but there is nothing i can do about that. I can`t take it further than that becuase that would be looked down upon. If I should try harder and not accept doing my best as the result, as you sound like your suggesting Gasei, isn`t that like forcing myself on people? I am sure that is equally looked down upon in Japan and that is not my style.

I am sorry people felt negatively about TGS and that some may have felt bad about us being there. I know the event had its hiccups here and there (the dance, the photoshoot, the backdrops) but I am sure its going to be better next year. As Dan said, these are just growing pains for a larger movement.

09-27-2010, 02:08 AM
ok...I'm just trying to understand this .this is what im getting:

Japanese cons are way more stricter in a sense, than our American ones. There are more rules.
It seems more quiet and more of a professional atmosphere.

Am I hitting the nail on the head? Thanks in advance ^_^

09-27-2010, 02:27 AM
Well, on the one hand, there aren't really Japanese "cons" in the sense of what we think of with our American cons. There are cosplay events, and other events with cosplay areas like TGS. Cosplay events are basically just for dressing up and taking pictures. Things like going to a restaurant or wandering the hotel still in costume are more or less unheard of, and the only event I know of where you perform skits is WCS which is full of foreign cosplayers anyway!

09-27-2010, 05:22 AM

It's not so much that I would call them "strict", but it is easy to think of them that way. Whereas in an American con, one would expect visitors to attend and arrive already in costume more or less to enjoy the various events of con WHILE in costume, Japanese events are more structured around a more specific purpose and the cosplayers who are attending are generally there to take pictures and have their picture taken, sometimes instead of and at least in addition to the main purpose of the overall event (such as buying doujin at Comiket).

Like Michi said, there are cosplay events and events that allow cosplay. Both generally will have the same kinds of "rules", but those at cosplay events are in my experience followed more strictly. For example, at a cosplay event, it is very common to see one (or a group) of cosplayers camped out at some space on the premises with a photographer (often not someone in costume, but someone who came specifically to collect photos) taking many shots of the cosplayer. Usually the cosplayer will take many different poses and I have seen it take upwards of 5-10 minutes for one photographer to finish. Behind him is then a line of photographers patiently waiting their turn. Compare this to the "tap on the shoulder in the dealer's room, 10 bypassers jump in to take a picture" style of American cons.

Now it usually isn't a printed rule anywhere that you have to line up, it's just the current generally established courtesy. The rules that ARE printed are generally with good reason. Another example, Comiket boasts over a million visitors. Because of this unruly number of people, there are a lot of very specific rules pertaining to cosplay, the least of which is that photos are only allowed in a designated cosplay area which is kept far from the sellers tables.

The difference in culture is tangible, and both have their ups and downs. I have really only begun to explain it, it's something that's best experienced for yourself.

09-27-2010, 11:41 AM
I think cosgroove was doing the best they could, too. It's difficult to fault them for not always knowing where to send us or how things would flow. The first year for anything is always a bit rough. At least they kept their game faces on and didn't panic or start shouting at us (for the most part ^^; That one guy was a little scary...)

As for special treatment.

TGS is a bad example of equality. Recall that 2 days of the event are invitation only and that the area we were allowed to roam was also populated by a large city of mostly-foreign press... a lot of them just loitering and taking advantage of token press passes from more or less no-name news sources.

This year (and every year) the game studios threw dozens of private invitation-only events where they dropped several G on shows, dinners, and photo ops for international big-shots.

Game-players were let in as guests to play in tournaments, interpretors, salespeople, guests, assistants of guests...

ie. people who represent potential good reviews, positive press, and international attention. TGS is doing what all saavy promoters do: bribing people who will bear good will toward the event when they return home and sit down in front of their computers and write something glowing and gushy about how well TGS and the developers there treated them... then hopefully, a few stellar reviews for the products they saw on display.

To think of it the way we probably ought to have all along: we were guests... just like the foreign press. And while our treatment was apart from what others in our position recieved, it isn't as though we did nothing for TGS in return. Our passes were our paycheck ~ given to us in return for playing along, being hospitable, talking to reporters in English about the event and letting them take promo photos to use in the promotional material next year.

We may have been there to enjoy ourselves. But cosgroove was ~hired~ to get our butts there and was then given quite a bit of money to make it happen. The people who helped us out were working for their livelihood and following orders from their superiors who apparently thought our being there was a worthwhile investment.

Had we simply been pitched the promotion as "guests" and not as "foreign cosplayers", I think a lot of the resentment and confusion about our status would be abated.

(Though, I've seen no cases of anyone taking offense with the cosgroove promotion itself. To be fair, I haven't looked for it. I'm sure that if you look for negativity of any sort on the internet, you're probably going to find it. That doesn't mean the negativity is the default.)

I was surprised to see I'd gotten a "guest" (関係者) badge... and to be lumped in with folks like Adella and the other more formal invitees. We certainly didn't do anything to deserve the special treatment but be foreign... Still, it isn't as though we were given anything TGS wasn't tossing out to all kinds of people from both sides of the ocean for doing not-all-that-much :)

If there is a problem of foreign-favoritism at TGS ~ it's one much larger than this little bit of cosplay politics. I brought this up because it was a good chance for discussion ~ not because it's representative of some world-changing rift between East and West. TGS isn't even a cosplay event ~ it's a trade show that just happens to have a cosplay area.

I guess a better question than "What went wrong" is "How can we help fix it next year?" Would you participate in a similar program or attend on your own? How can the program improve? How can the event improve?

10-01-2010, 12:30 PM
Okay. thanks for the input guys! I think I get get it now.
@DanRSL: When you talked about the comparison with the way photography is set up, I thought of how the trains are set up in some places in Japan. I don't live there but I visited 3 years ago. I noticed in the train station, they had lines on the ground to stand by, like a line to get in the train.