Been a few days and no reply so I'll try and help a little. I'm American, but I have been living and cosplaying in Japan for 8 years. So I know cosplay here pretty well and can help with some of your questions.
Some background information on cosplay in Japan:
Cosplay in Japan is a little different than cosplay in the West. The biggest difference is that there are no "anime cons" in Japan. Most of the time cosplay is done at specific cosplay only events. Cosplay events can be small gatherings at a photo studio or they can be large events like at Tokyo Fashion Town where there can be 1000+ cosplayers. Although there are a few non-cosplay events like Comiket that allow cosplay (last comiket over 7,000 cosplayers showed up). Cosplay is its own separate hobby in Japan. There are even cosplay only magazines like Cosmode
and there are cosplay only stores like Cospatio
But, cosplay is NOT done on the street. Cosplay is only done at events and is very regulated. People are not allowed to arrive at an event already in costume and people cannot leave the event in costume. You must change at the event's changing rooms and register to cosplay. Also, you can only take pictures in designated "picture areas". There is a very clear line of where cosplay is ok and where it is not. Cosplayers are always aware of where that line is. Following these rules is taken very seriously.
Japanese cosplayers rarely "act in character". Well, except for a photograph anyway. Obviously if someone asks for a picture cosplayers do an appropriate pose for the character (some people take photos very seriously and are amazing), but people don't talk or act like the character when they are just walking around. It would be seen as childish and the event staff might talk to them about it. Cosplayers are them self, not the character. Events are more about socializing with other people who enjoy the hobby and taking pictures. It's a very social event really, and just like any other hobby there is a sense of community amongst cosplayers.
The question list:
1. Most cosplayers in Japan are between 20~35 years old. I'm 29 and don't feel old at Japanese events. There are many people older than me.
2. N/A. I'm not Japanese so I can't answer that one.
4. Costumes usually average between Y10,000~Y40,000 (98€~392€). The hobby is expensive so most high school students can't afford it. But that is changing now with all the cheaper costumes available by internet order from China and South East Asia for around Y5,000 (€49). But you still need a credit card so that complicates things for students.
9. There are no "Cons", but there are 3 events that are sort of similar though. Tokyo Game Show (video game industry trade fair), The Comic Market "Comiket" (amateur comic artist's market), and Wonder Festival (amateur figure & toy maker's market) allow cosplay. Most other related events do not allow cosplay. Even the Tokyo International Anime Fair (anime industry trade fair) does not allow cosplay.
10. There are no cosplay competitions at events. In fact, there are no "stage skits" either. That is a Western con thing and doesn't exist in Japan. But, there is one giant exception; The World Cosplay Summit. WCS is like the olympics of cosplay. A cosplay team from each country is chosen and the finals are held in Nagoya Japan. The event is based on Western style group cosplay competitions. Only groups can compete, there are no individual awards. Actually, I was at last year's WCS. Team Germany did a good job lol.
12. Some sew, but most cosplayers buy. "Giant Robot" costumes though are almost always home made. Check out Goldy's website
for info on that, he's the master and even teaches classes on armor construction.
13. Cosplay is not publicly acceptable (not even in Akihabara, the police will tell you to get out of costume) so it's usually kept secret. A lot of people keep their normal friends and cosplay friends separate and many keep it a secret from their family if they can. This is another reason why many high school students have trouble cosplaying since they don't always feel they can ask their parents to help them with a costume. Although many cosplayers have Cosplay Meishi
(Cosplay business cards) and internet blogs they don't use their real names. You have a cosname
that is used instead to protect your privacy. Of course friends will use their real names with each other. It's more to protect your privacy from strangers and the internet since it could cause problems in your normal daily life. Actually, it usually shocks people when they realize my cosname
is my real name lol.
You should check out Cure
and Cosplayer Archive
, they are the largest online cosplay community sites for Japanese cosplayers. Sadly most of us on the Japan part of the cosplay.com forum are foreigners who live in Japan.
I know it's not what you were looking for, but I hope I was of some help.