What is Cosplay?

A contraction of the words “costume play”, Cosplay can be interpreted as a form of performance art, in which participants called “cosplayers” wear costumes and accessories, many of which made by the cosplayer themselves, to represent a specified character. Cosplay has become something of a subculture and a broader use of the term “cosplay” can apply to any costumed role-playing in venues apart from the stage. Favorite sources include manga/anime, comic books and cartoons, video games, live-action films and television series, and it is not unusual to see genders switched (crossplay).

The “inventor” of cosplay was Morojo, full name Myrtle R Douglas, who designed and hand-crafted the very first costumes worn to a “Con” in 1939, while the naming of the movement is attributed to Nobuyuki Takahashi in 1984. By that point in time, Morojo had long been forgotten, with the beginnings of cosplay culture being attributed instead to Forrest J Ackerman, who WORE one of the first cosplays, but had no part in the design or making of it.