Japan’s Government Became Pro Cosplay and Yours Should Too

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A place where politics and cosplay embrace

It’s not very often you hear the words “government” and “cool” in the same sentence, regardless of the nature of the conversation. So it’s quite a shocker to actually find an example of a government that has been doing something cool for quite a while now. Japan has always been synonymous as being the divine origin of both the cosplay and anime universe. Although Japan has maintained many of its ancestral culture and traditions through the years, since the 2000s, it has openly embraced a youth expression movement called cosplay. Now the country hosts the largest cosplay event in the world, The World Cosplay Summit.

The World Cosplay Summit

Beginning in 2003, the World Cosplay Summit has evolved from its humble beginnings in Nagoya, the capital city of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. Since its inception, countries from around the world send their best cosplayers to compete in the annual tournament. As international media coverage increased over the years, more countries began to inquire about having cosplayers from their country participate. In fact, since the 2005 World Cosplay Summit, the event has grown from cosplayers representing 7 countries to 40 countries in 2019

As of 2015, over 1.96 million attendees have experienced the spectacle of the event.

Japanese Ministry and City Involvement

In 2006, the Japanese government took an active role in promoting cosplay culture in the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism began investing in Nagoya’s growing cosplay scene. And, in 2009, the city of Nagoya established an executive committee in support of the World Cosplay Summit. Tokumaru Oguri, member of the executive committee and credited with inspiring the event, provided his perspective on the growth of the international competition. “While we were doing research for the show, we learned that cosplay was enjoying more success overseas than in Japan,” he says, “so we organized a discussion and invited cosplayers from France, Italy, and Germany along with Japanese cosplayers. Even if they couldn’t speak each other’s languages, their favorite characters all shared the same names. And that’s all it took. They had a great time. And that was the first World Cosplay Summit.”

Inspiring a Global Culture of Cosplay Unity

The World Cosplay Summit and other similar events are inspiring cosplayers and governments around the world to share in the enthusiasm of a growing international cosplay culture. Governments who may not have had a reason to talk otherwise, are now having dialogue around the cosplay culture. As one of our readers put it best, “cosplay is like mathematics, the language is universal, and its effect on the world all depends on what is put into it.”

Now it’s your turn to give your input and tell us about your cosplay experiences! What has been your favorite cosplay event and why? Let us know down in the comments and share!

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