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View Poll Results: What is the number one reason you cosplay?
It's just fun! 34 47.89%
Creation of costumes is a great process. 15 21.13%
I like expressing myself as a cosplayer to those around me. 9 12.68%
I like hanging out with other cosplayers. 3 4.23%
Cosplay is unique and sets me apart from others. 4 5.63%
Cosplay keeps me from being bored. 6 8.45%
Voters: 71. You may not vote on this poll

 
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Unread 11-14-2007, 08:40 PM   #1
ladylaurajones
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A Senior Thesis on Cosplay in Japan

Hi all!
My name is Jessie and I'm an anthropology student at Franklin Pierce University. Currently I am writing my senior thesis in anthropology on cosplay culture (mostly focusing on Japan, but I might expand this to include international results as well). Basically this means I am looking to give readers a nuanced understanding of what it means to be a cosplayer, why people cosplay, and how cosplaying is a response to society and culture.

If you are a cosplayer would you please answer the following questions for my senior thesis? Answers become totally anonymous in my paper. Your identity is not revealed in the paper as required by the American Anthropology Association code of Ethics (which I must comply with).

I am looking to get the best research I can, and since I could only interview cosplayers in Tokyo, Japan for a summer (in 2006), (and at a few anime cons around the US) I still need to get more about cosplay before I can really produce an excellent paper on it.
I have decided to expand my search to include cosplayers from around the world since it will be possible for me to narrow results later if I need to.

How old are you?
Are you male or female?
Are you attending school?
Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?
Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?
Why do you cosplay?
What got you into cosplay?
Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?
What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?
When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?
Anything else I should know for my thesis?

Thank you very, very much if you take the time even to answer just a few of these questions.
If you have any questions for me please feel free to send me a message.

And yes, I will definitely post my thesis for everyone to read next semester when it is finished. I would be more than happy to share it!
- Jessie -

Last edited by ladylaurajones : 11-15-2007 at 04:40 PM.
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Unread 11-14-2007, 08:44 PM   #2
Angathol
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I don't think I've ever seen a Japanese cosplayer posting in General Cosplay Chat, with the exception of cosplayers who have moved to Japan.

Several of the moderators have cosplayed in Japan before. If I recall correctly, Michi is there right now.

And just a thought - if the cosplayers were to be anonymous in your paper, wouldn't they not be considered credible sources?
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Unread 11-14-2007, 08:47 PM   #3
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Hm an interesting thought. Maybe I shall expand my search to be international for now and then narrow the results later. I am sort of new to this site.

Thanks for the advice.

Also, the reason names are hidden in an anthropological study is due to the fact that anthropology does not ever publish reports with real names. We use fake names in place of those we actually study to protect identities. Just an ethical rule I have to comply with.

Again, thanks.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 12:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylaurajones View Post
How old are you?
Are you male or female?
Are you attending school?
Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?
Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?
Why do you cosplay?
What got you into cosplay?
Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?
What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?
When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?

~17
~Female
~Yes
~Yes, they do. They probably wouldn't if we (my friends and I) didn't wear our cosplays to school quite so often. But we do, and because of it, we get made fun of a lot, and were even boo'd offstage at the costume contest. It doesn't bother us, though.
~Yes, cosplay is a wonderful escape. It's a fun activity, and it's always nice to be able to become someone else for a short time
~I cosplay because it's fun, and because I like the attention. This is why I don't mind buying my costumes instead of making them. I would like to make them, but I don't have the skill yet. In any case, I do it because, as I said, I like the attention.
~Well, I've always liked anime and I love to dress up, so the result was inevitable ^_^
~Yes, it's a great artistic expression. As I said, I don't make many of my own costumes, but I know/have seen people that do, and it's amazing. It's always wonderful to see someone who has taken the time and effort to create something. I'm rather envious of the people with that sort of dedication and skill.
~I guess it's all in the characters I choose. The characters a person picks to cosplay say a lot about them; what kind of clothes they are comfortable in, what kind of personalities they like to take on and/or that they are similar to, what type of costumes they like to make....
~I cosplay just about anywhere! We like to go anywhere and everywhere in cosplay, and do all kinds of things! We especially enjoy making silly videos of our random cosplay adventures!
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Unread 11-15-2007, 01:15 AM   #5
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hello!!!
I think your idea for thesis is really interesting, I would like to help you with answering some of your questions and I would love to see you final paper. Hopefully you will be able to post it once you finish it ^_^

22.
Female.
Yes.
Yes, because people is not use to see college students/adults watching cartoons and wearing costumes if its not halloween.
Yes.
I cosplay because its fun. I get to meet so many awesome and talented people. I'm able to create and be art which is fantastic.
I have always like anime since I remember and when I attended my first convention, I saw all this people in costume and I discover I was able to create something like that.
Yes. Because we are expressing our talents every time we make a costume.
In some way I think cosplay does expresses some things about who we are inside the costume. Because you can show your financial status, age, character and many other things. Although sometimes they can be mistaken for many reasons.
I have cosplay in a wide variety of places. Most of the time I cosplay in anime/sci fict conventions. I attend many mini gatherings either at parks, shopping malls, museum, beaches. I also attend mini photo shoots and those can be any kind place from my house to a building, museum, etc... whatever is in need as my background.
There are many different kind of cosplayers, some of them only have the chance to do it once a year, others many times. There are cosplayers who actually live of this, Their job is to attend many conventions exhibit their work, judge and get paid for that. Most of the cosplayers do this as a hobby and they have their own carers and full time jobs.

Hope this helps!!! Good Luck!!! XD
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Unread 11-15-2007, 01:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylaurajones View Post
Hi all!
How old are you?
Are you male or female?
Are you attending school?
Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?
Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?
Why do you cosplay?
What got you into cosplay?
Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?
What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?
When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?
Anything else I should know for my thesis?
- 20
- Female
- Yes. I'm a college student. XP
- Haha. I don't think so, but then again, I never really stopped to ask any opinions. I do what I like and have fun with it. Also, most of my friends are into cosplay and anime in general.
-Oh, yes. Cosplay is definitely an escape. It's a way to have fun and meet new friends in the process.
-I cosplay because it is fun for me. I like the feeling of escape and finding new costumes to consider.
-Oh, wow. Tough question. It definitely stemmed from watching so much anime, and liking the costumes. Then, going to my first convention strengthened the interest.
-Cosplay can be seen as artistic expression. I sometimes see it that way, especially when I look at my list of difficult costumes that I want to make. It also becomes artistic in a theater/acting way. It's definitely adds to the costume if you are in character.
-...I really don't know. I guess it just shows that I love fantasy, and I love to have fun while people stare wondering what the heck is going on. XD
-When I cosplay, I usually go to conventions. I've been to a few photoshoots, hung out with friends, went to parties, etc.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 01:56 AM   #7
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How old are you? 21
Are you male or female? Male
Are you attending school? Yup, I'm a college student.

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?

I don't know many people in the same school, so no-one outside the anime club really knows I cosplay. 'Course, there are some in the anime club who find me different. Probably more 'cause I'm a male cosplayer than just 'cause I'm a cosplayer.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?

Yup. It's certainly more interesting than the daily grind. I believe the phrase I heard about it once was "a vacation from one's self". That's probably a better way of describing it than I could think of.

Why do you cosplay?

Because it's an interesting and fun combination of artistic ability and problem-solving ability. (The sewing component is helped with a certain degree of spacial sense/mathematical skill/problem-solving ability.)

What got you into cosplay?

A combination of seeing interesting costumes in video games/anime and hearing about how much fun it was from cosplayers.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?

Yes, in that it's important to have -a- form of artistic expression. Cosplay just happens to be my primary artistic medium.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?

I tend to cosplay characters I see as being like me in some respect, so I suppose it expresses my personality to a certain degree. Also, there's the fact that some of my interests are clearly visible to anyone who recognizes the costume.

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?

Usually I only cosplay at conventions, and just wander around the con getting the occasional absurd picture taken. There have been times when I've gone in costume to photoshoots though.

Anything else I should know for my thesis?

I think it's worth mentioning how accepting the cosplay community is, on average. Except for the odd jerk (which is present in any community, really), there are very few instances of discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, or body type.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 02:54 AM   #8
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How old are you? Ancient in these parts... 27. *g*

Are you male or female? Female.

Are you attending school? No, I work.

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay? They probably would have, but then again, they found red shoelaces odd.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life? Absolutely. First of all, making a costume is a great escapist activity where you can become totally submerged in what you're doing, and wearing the costume allows you to try boundaries and be in someone else's skin for a while.

Why do you cosplay? Partly for the reason above, but also because it's plain ol' fun!

What got you into cosplay? It was actually making costumes for another fandom, but then it just transferred onto anime/manga when I got into that.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression? Absolutely. To me, cosplay is every bit like acting with the added benefit of having made the costume you're wearing.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person? All of it, I think. The challenge of achievement, the chance to step into another person, the fun one has when meeting people with the same interests...

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go? We suffer from a shortage of cons where I live, but I do go to the ones that are within reasonable distance.

Anything else I should know for my thesis? That cosplayers (well, most of them; there's always bound to be a few oddballs in every kind of community) are surprisingly normal. We're not satanists, sadists or witches; we're just people who have normal lives/jobs/go to school and have normal interests, but we like to dress up. We're not more strange than people who like to dress up for Halloween, only we find no reason to wait for that season to roll around.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 08:40 AM   #9
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How old are you?

13.

Are you male or female?

Female.

Are you attending school?

Yes.

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?

Yes. I cosplay at school a lot, so people think I'm weird. That's not a bad thing, though.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?

Yes. Cosplaying is a good form of escapism for me. Like playing video games ore watching TV, but it allows me to be creative at the same time.

Why do you cosplay?

Because I like sewing, and I dress differently even when I'm not cosplaying, and I did before I was a cosplayer. I like dressing up. It's also a good way to express how big a fan I am of whatever series I'm cosplaying from. And when you finish a costume, I feel so accomplished!

What got you into cosplay?

How big a fan I was of anime, first of all. I was in an anime store, and found a flyer about Anime Banzai. I looked up the website and that got me interested in cosplaying. Needless to say, I went and I cosplayed.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?

Yes. With the combination of pretending to be your character, sewing, and prop-making, it's like multiple artistic outlets all in one.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?

I like to be different, and dressing up in a costume lets me do that. And I like meeting new people and crowds, and cosplaying is a good excuse for me to go to conventions. Not to mention it expresses how big a fan I am of the character!

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?

When I cosplay, I go just about everywhere, not just conventions (especially since there aren't many around me).

Anything else I should know for my thesis?

Cosplayers aren't much different from everyone else. Some are, yes, but the fact that someone's in costume doesn't make them mentally insane. It's just like any other hobby. It's just not as common in the US as some. And we have other interests too, more "normal" ones.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 09:52 AM   #10
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How old are you? --19

Are you male or female? --Female

Are you attending school? --Yes -- college


Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay? --Not really. A lot of my friends are anime nerds and we all do cosplay together.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life? -- VERY MUCH SO! After a tough day, there's nothing like making something that makes you feel better... for me, at least. Also, I can scream at my sewing machine, and it doesn't scream back.

Why do you cosplay? -- For the rush! I love making things; I've always been creative-ish. It's also really rewarding to put so much passion into a project and have people compliment it on all sorts of levels. I also enjoy talking to people that cosplay from the same series. You'd be surprised how similar people can be because they cosplayed the same person ^^

What got you into cosplay? -- My best friend. She dressed up for our first convention, but I didn't have time to put anything together. I saw how much fun she had and wanted to join in! I've been addicted since then.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression? -- Yes! Cosplay, or "costume play", allows you to become a certain character, for however long you are in the costume. I feel that it is one of my outlets, similar to how writing or drawing is an outlet for others.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person? -- I can show off a side of myself that others don't often see! Most people who know me, know me as fairly tomboyish. However, I tend to dress up as rather feminine characters, or at least wear something so contrary to what I would wear out of costume! Lots of my friends do double-takes when they see me in cosplay, because I seem to be a totally different person. It's also easier for me to be outgoing in cosplay, especially at conventions, because I know I'm not alone in my passion; other people love what I love.

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go? -- I mostly cosplay at conventions, though recently, I haven't been able to pass up a cosplay contest at Suncoast There are a lot of good cosplayers in my area, and I want to reach their level! For the most part, though, I go to conventions and just enjoy the atmosphere there.

Anything else I should know for my thesis? There is so much more to cosplayers and cosplay than meets the eye. People might judge us because we're different, but we have a passion that they don't have. People comment that they wish they had a passion like I do! I'm not afraid to admit that cosplay is a huge part of my life, and everything that goes with it has shaped who I am.

Good luck with your thesis ^^ Also, I saw another thing sort of like this on the spam board, so if you don't get enough responses here, you can try posting there =D
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Unread 11-15-2007, 10:06 AM   #11
Enk
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How old are you?
27

Are you male or female?
biologically female

Are you attending school?
No, I have a BA in Dramatic Artsrama in Education and Theatre

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?
No, they never have. My uni friends are also all cosplayers. At work, people love it.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?
Cosplay, the way I do it with my friends actually adds to stress, but it is worth it. It is more about satisfaction to have made a great costume. We think of conventions as 'normal time' and work and so-called 'real-life' as when we are putting on a front.

Why do you cosplay?
I love making costumes and once they are finished slipping into a character.

What got you into cosplay?
I have always loved dressing up, so it was really just a fluid transition of "What do you mean I can go to this thing and dress up?"

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?
Yes, it is. There is a lot of interpretation that has to happen when translating a character from an anime, tv show and so on to a costume that will fit your own personal needs (for example, two pairs of nylons and two sets of underwear for Seras Victoria because her skirt is shorter than your modesty usually allows). When translating a costume from an anime, it gets even trickier because people are not drawn to the ideals of the particular anime.

Then of course, you have to think about how to make the costume, since mostly patterns are not directly available for say Super Sailor Moon. There has to be pattern adjustment or pattern drafting, which adds a lot of work to the costume, but again you will end up with something closer to the original than you would have if you had settled for just using X commercial pattern or buying something at a store.
Materials can be expensive, so you have to be creative with what you used; and you also want to take into consideration that a prop/skirt/hat/etc. will be a certain weight and has to be carried around.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?
I am a Geek who loves to dress up Really that is what cosplayers are. There is no magical thing about me that cosplay can express that nothing else can... well except for sewing skills

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?
Conventions, movie openings (Harry Potter lands us in the newspaper every time lol), we used to dress up for the Harry Potter midnight parties, any excuse to dress up really.
What we do depends on where I hang out. At conventions, I go to panels, hang out, see guests and so on.

Anything else I should know for my thesis?
the most important part is to know that cosplay did not originate in Japan, nor is it a recent occurence. Cosplay started with the first Worldcon in the US, when people dressed up as their favourite film characters. There is a big difference between cosplay in Japan and cosplay here as you probably saw in your research. In North America, cosplay has become a subculture of geekdom and fandom as well (possibly even more fandom).

If you want, I can tell you more about this, but I have to go for now. PM me if you'd like to talk more, I have a couple of friends who want to use Cosplay as their dissertation for their MAs.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 03:50 PM   #12
ladylaurajones
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Thanks to everyone who has posted so far. These results are everything I'm looking for and more. I will definitely post a copy of my thesis next semester for those interested in reading it.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 04:20 PM   #13
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How old are you? 29 (for the first time)

Are you male or female? Feme

Are you attending school? Yes Ė Online

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay? Yes, I was a fashion design major trying to focus on costume design, I had a hard time getting support from my piers and my instructors even though they had assured me at admissions that it would not be a problem.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life? Yes and No. I love it, itís my passion. However, it can also be very stressful particularly if youíre trying to get something done at the last moment. Itís worth it though, every grey hair it will give me someday.

Why do you cosplay? I love costumes, I love being someone else or somewhere else for a few moments in time.

What got you into cosplay? I started doing hall costumes when I was a infant, my mom would dress me up and we would go to cons. My first hall costume was at an AZ WorldCon 25 years ago. When I got into my teens I started making my own costumes for parties, LARPS, Renfairs and SCA events.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression? Absolutely. Fashion in any form is a very tangible expression of ones self, social background, personal athstitics, culture and sub culture.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person? My imagination, my creativity and my skill. My costumes are 90% hand made and there is a lot of myself that goes into every one of them.

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go? Conventions, friendís house parties, RenFairs, SCA events and anywhere else I feel comfortable.

Anything else I should know for my thesis? Someone else already said this but Cosplay is really a new term for an old hobby and passion of hall costuming. Look back into some of the other science fiction cons and what people have been doing before. A lot of us over 25 just think of it as costuming.
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Unread 11-15-2007, 04:25 PM   #14
kage31
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How old are you? Almost 15

Are you male or female? Female

Are you attending school? High School

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay? I tend to wear parts of my costumes to school, and I've never been made fun of in my hearing or my friends but I'm pretty much left alone for the day (not including friends or people asking what the heck I'm wearing)

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life? Yeah, whenever I'm angry I'll go sew and the pressure just gets released (even if I do end up screaming at the sewing machine or needle)

Why do you cosplay? Its a ton of fun to sew and I adore the feeling of being proud of myself and my costume as an article of clothing takes shape from what used to be a pile of fabric. I also like the ability to pretend to be someone else for a little while. I'm really shy and when I cosplay I turn into a completely different person, I talk a lot, I'll hug and get hugged by total strangers, I don't mind getting my picture taken, and I'll take the initiative more when I'm in costume.


What got you into cosplay? My friend decided to cosplay for Halloween and then decided that I was going with her.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression? Yes

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person? I think the planning aspect of cosplay expresses things about me as a person, I love planning things (god knows why).

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go? I go to the cosplay picnics in my area and we hang out, have fun, take pictures and I cosplay at school to show my costume/costume pieces to friends.

Can you post your thesis when its done?
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Unread 11-15-2007, 04:33 PM   #15
Natchan
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How old are you?
I am the bright age of 23!

Are you male or female?
I'm a girl!
Are you attending school?
Nope, I'm working on getting accepted to art school though!

Do people at your school find you different because you cosplay?
When I was going to school, they did give me funny looks whenever I would wear my cosplay to work.

Do you find cosplay is a good activity that allows you to escape the pressures of school/life?
Absolutely! I find cosplay such a help as far as getting away from stress goes!

Why do you cosplay?
Why not!? Nah I'm just kidding. I cosplay simply because its tons of fun, and I get to meet tons of new people.

What got you into cosplay?
I saw pictures online of people in cosplay and thought that it would be tons of fun. I made sure to cosplay at my first convention because of it.

Do you feel that cosplay is an important artistic expression?
I believe so, especcially if you made your costume yourself. You put your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and sometimes tears into those costumes. They better express somthing.

What about cosplay expresses things about you as a person?
I think it shows that I'm not afraid to go out there and be who I am! its pretty obvious when you're walking around town in your cosplay, that you're not afraid to let the world know that this is your hobby and you're proud of it!

When you cosplay, what do you do/ where do you go?
I will wear my cosplay just about anywhere really. But I normally wear them to Conventions, Local Photo shoots, and parties!

Anything else I should know for my thesis?
You should only cosplay what you want to cosplay! Make sure you're not forced into someone you don't want to cosplay as.
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