Cosplay has certainly become of Japan’s most well-known and loved subcultures, exploding on the world stage partly thanks to the Internet and partly thanks to the ingenuity of many of its most fervent participants. Despite this, it can still be difficult to find and make friends in the cosplay community if you’re coming in alone, as with any other subculture. But it doesn’t need to be that way! The Japanese cosplay community is just that — a community — and some of its members are working to make sure people can get together and cosplay as often as possible.
Perhaps the most relaxed way to join the fun is to take part is Shinjuku CosKara, or Shinjuku Cosplay Karaoke! While singing in front of others might set your nerves on edge, the events are organized so that people can come, have fun, take lots of cool photos, and make friends. You needn’t worry about your warbling offending anyone either; half the fun of karaoke is doing it badly with a giant grin! So, come along as we take a look at the event and talk to some local cosplayers!
Attended by over 120 cosplayers decked out in their best outfits, the latest event was held at the branch of karaoke chain Shidax pictured above, in Shinjuku. As you can probably imagine, it was a high-energy event, with cosplayers excited to spend time with their friends singing, dancing, and enjoying each others’ performances.
▼ One of those times when you almost can’t tell who’s performing and who’s watching!
Of course, with a group this big, there’s no way everyone can fit in a few rooms. In fact, they ended up renting the entire third floor so everyone could have fun!
▼ Cosplayers chatting and taking pictures together…
▼ …and dancing together!
Of course, as you would expect, there were plenty of anime theme songs to be heard as you walked the halls, sung with the enthusiasm distinct to dedicated cosplayers. But song and dance weren’t the only things to enjoy at the event. Thanks to some professional photographers, cosplayers could also enjoy getting their pictures taken – but these weren’t any normal photographs; editors were also there to help create composite images with backgrounds similar to reference images of each character!
▼ Needless to say, there was a line.
First, people would get their photo taken in front of a green screen, striking a pose and smiling wide.
Then, the editors would set to work, making adjustments to the color and so on before finding a background to fit the reference image.
▼ Here’s one reference image.
▼ And here’s the image with her cosplay twin!
▼ The cosplayer and a pretty close match for the background…
▼ Add some fireworks and other adornments, and we’re done!
While at CosKara, our reporter talked with some of the cosplayers to find out what cosplay means to them. With answers from “It allows me to express myself” to “It’s art,” anyone can easily see that cosplay has had a big impact on these people’s lives and the event was a clearly doing the same.
▼ Check out all their answers in the video below.
We also heard from Oka-san, the event organizer, who explained that part of his inspiration for starting the event was that he simply enjoyed sing and dancing himself. Considering how popular karaoke and dancing are in Japan, getting other cosplayers to join in probably wasn’t too difficult!
If you’re in Tokyo and you want to participate, the next event will be on September 13. You can learn more about it on Cosplayers Archive, though it looks like all the information is in Japanese. We’re told they’re happy to have everyone come participate though, so you might want to try contacting Oka-san through his Twitter account if you’d like some extra help making sure you have all the details right.