Friday, October 03, 2008

Harajuku Station, where all this starting.

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Harajuku Station, Tokyo, Japan, originally uploaded by ZiggyB.

Harajuku Station (原宿駅) is a station on the JR Yamanote Line located in Shibuya Tokyo, adjacent to Yoyogi Park. Harajuku Station takes its name from the area on its eastern side, Harajuku.

The Chiyoda Line Meiji-Jingumae Station is immediately adjacent Harajuku Station and is marked as an interchange on most route maps, although there is no physical connection between the two stations.

The station consists of a single island platform. A temporary platform is located on the west side of the station usable by trains travelling towards Shinjuku which is used when major events occur in the area, especially around New Year when many people visit Meiji Shrine.

The bathrooms of Harajuku station also act as mini dressing rooms for the many teenagers who cosplay or wear the outrageous Harajuku fashions for which Harajuku is famous.

The main entrance is at the southern end of the station. A smaller entrance in the centre of the platform is convenient for Takeshita-dori, another famous area in Harajuku. Takeshita-dori is a popular shopping street and Takeshita-dori entrance is often very crowded, creating a bottleneck on weekends when scores of tourists and locals arrive and leave Harajuku generally and the shopping areas in and around Takeshita-dori specifically.

To the north of the station there is a separate platform serving a loop on the east side of the line for use by the Imperial train.

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Japanese Fashion The Yukata

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The party is over..., originally uploaded by manganite.

The Yukata is a casual light cotton kimono for wearing in summer. Yukatas normally have very brightly coloured designs on them. Today these kimonos are mainly worn to the traditional Bon-Odori and summer festivals. The relative simply design of Yukata means Japanese women can, with some practice, put this kimono on unassisted.

The name yukata comes from the word ‘yu’ (bath) and ‘katabira’ (under clothing). In the Heian era (794-1185), court nobles wore linen ‘yukata’ which were draped loosely after taking a bath. The yukata was later also worn by Japanese warriors and by the Edo era (1600-1868), it was widely worn by the public when public bath became a popular recreation in Japan.

Today, the yukata is widely worn as a casual wear in summer, as well as in festivals. Further, the yukata is also widely worn in ‘ryokan’ (traditional Japanese inn). The yukata is loved for its lightweight cotton material. Fabric designs vary from the traditional plain cross hatch pattern to the more colourful designs. A cotton sash is usually worn with the yukata for casual daily or nightly wear. In attending festivals and public occasions, the yukata is worn with a wider belt, which can be simply wrapped around the waist and tucked in at the end. For a more formal appearance, the yukata is worn with an obi belt, along with a matching geta (wooden sandals) and purse to complete the attire.

Japanese girls and young Japanese women both here in Australia and in Japan enjoy the opportunity to dress in their Yukatas. Today there are not as many suitable chances to wear this colourful traditional Japanese outfit.

In Australia many Bon-Odori festivals feature a Yukata competition, which is a little like a traditional beauty pageant. The major difference is the emphasis on adherence to traditional style including hair, make-up, foot ware and disposition.

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Japan Fashion The Kogal Style

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Kogals (コギャル kogyaru, lit. "small/child girl") are a subculture of girls and young women in urban Japan, one of several types of so-called gals. They are characterized by conspicuously displaying their disposable incomes through unique tastes in fashion, music, and social activity. In general, the kogal "look" roughly approximates a sun-tanned California Valley girl, and indeed, the similarities between the two extend to the linguistic, for both subcultures have derived entire sets of slang terms (コギャル語 "ko-gyaru-go"). Kogals are not to be confused with the ganguro subculture, although they are similar.

Kogals are known for wearing platform boots, a miniskirt, copious amounts of makeup, hair coloring (usually blond), artificial suntans, and designer accessories. If in school uniform, the look typically includes skirts pinned very high and loose socks (large baggy socks that go up to the knee). Kogals' busy social lives and desire for new material goods leads them to be among the first consumers of Japanese cell phone technology, and their taste in clothes tends toward names such as Burberry scarves and Louis Vuitton handbags. Kogals spend much of their free time (and their father's income) shopping, and their culture centers around the Shibuya district of Tokyo, in particular the 109 building, although any major Japanese city is sure to have at least a small population. During the summer, kogals may sometimes be seen at the beach. They are generally not seen in high-end department stores.

Critics of the Kogal subculture decry its materialism as reflecting a larger psychological or spiritual emptiness in modern Japanese life. Some kogals support their lifestyle with allowances from wealthy parents, living a "freeter" or "parasite single" existence that grates against traditional principles of duty and industry. A small minority appear in pornography to finance their habits. More may engage in the practice of "compensated dating", or enjo kōsai, which may at times border on quasi-legal prostitution. Internet-based usage of this term has led some Western observers to the mistake of believing that "kogal" means "prostitute".

The kogal phenomenon emerged in the mid-1990s and its effects can still be seen today in its numerous off-shoots of sub-categories, although conservative tastes in dress and hair color seem to be on the upswing. Interestingly enough, the Gothic Lolita aesthetic has been described as a reaction to the kogal look.

The term's etymology is disputed: the most common theory is that it was derived from the Japanese word for "high school", kōkō (高校), although others claim that it comes from ko (子), the Japanese word for "girl" or "child". The "gal" originates from English.

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Japanese Fashion a Gothic Lolita Style

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Gothic Lolita or "GothLoli" (ゴスロリ, gosurori; sometimes alternatively "Loli-Goth") is a youth fashion among Japanese teenagers and young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl's clothing and often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Gothloli's name and origin is a combination of lolita fashion—appearing deliberately cute to the point of looking childish—and certain styles found within gothic fashion. The style started as a youth subculture sometime around 1997-98 and became a well-established genre available in various boutiques and some major department stores by around 2001. Some observers consider it a reaction to the "Kogal" aesthetic.

Gothic Lolita is one of the subcategories of the Lolita look. Other categories include "Classic Lolita" (more traditional, light-coloured, also more mature-looking) and "Sweet Lolita" (childish pastel-coloured clothes, lots of lace and ribbons).

Gothic Lolita was influenced and popularised by the imagery of more feminine Visual Kei (or "visual rock") bands. Visual Kei is a Japanese form of rock music defined by bands featuring performers in elaborate costumes but whose musical style varies. Mana, the cross dressing former leader and guitarist of the Visual Kei band Malice Mizer is widely credited for having helped popularise Gothic Lolita. He coined the terms "Elegant Gothic Lolita" (EGL) and "Elegant Gothic Aristocrat" (EGA) to describe the style of his own fashion label Moi-même-Moitié, which was founded in 1999 and quickly established itself as one of the most coveted brands of the Gothic Lolita scene.

Gothic Lolita - The style
Goken Lolita style is usually a combination of black and white, often black with white lace and typically decorated with ribbons and lace trims. Skirts are knee length and may have a crinoline or petticoat to add volume. As in mainstream Japanese fashion, over-knee socks or stockings are extremely popular. Black fishnet stockings and white or black tights are also common. Shoes or boots with high heels - though not usually stiletto heels - such as Mary Janes, complete the look. Frilly, ruffled or lace-trimmed Victorian blouses are also popular especially with "EGL" types, who may also favour long skirts and jackets rather than the overtly "childish" designs of typical gothloli's. Apart from the occasional shortness of skirts, designs are usually modest, sometimes with long lace-capped sleeves.

Some additions may include an Alice in Wonderland-style apron, tiny top hats, parasols, lace gloves, and lace headpieces. Mostly black or white, headgear might consist of a headband with ruffles, ribbons, lace or bows. Sometimes even bonnets are worn. Hair may be curled to complete the porcelain doll look. The naturally dark Japanese hair color may be lightened to blonde or kept black. Some may choose to wear wigs as well.

Makeup is used sparingly and is seen more often with EGL styles than with other gothloli styles. Black eyeliner is typical. A pale complexion is preferred, so white foundation might be used. Red or black lipstick is seen but lighter makeup is the rule.

Goken Lolita outfits may be accessorized with other props like conspicuous pocketbooks, hatboxes, handbags and other bags, sometimes in the shape of bats, coffins, and crucifixes. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are also common, and some brands make special "goken" teddy bears out of black leather or PVC. Also, many Goken Lolita own Super Dollfies and carry them around.
"Lolita"

Although "Lolita" is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel, and GothLoli is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look "cute" rather than "sexy". Many Lolitas claim that the term 'lolita' doesn't necessarily have anything to do with sex at all. The usage of the word may also be considered wasei-eigo.

Japanese culture places a higher value upon extremely youthful appearance and behaviour than Western, and some adult women buy large amounts of products, such as Hello Kitty goods, that are typically marketed only to children in the West. GothLoli is perhaps a more visible extension of this phenomenon.
Goth Loli culture

In Japan it is mass-marketed and has wide visibility particularly in the streets of Tokyo and Osaka, on television, in manga (see Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa for an example of gothloli inspired manga) and computer games. Outside of Japan it is still a fringe fashion although it has slowly begun to spread to other countries. Gothic Lolita, along with Cosplay and other Japanese cultural phenomena, can sometimes be seen at concerts and anime conventions throughout Europe and the United States. The style has not yet been mass marketed outside of Japan. However, there are plenty of dedicated fans filling the gap. Gothic Lolita magazines are widely available for purchase on the internet and at Japanese bookstores, which also deal in anime and manga. Adherents in Europe and the United States often sew their own homemade Gothic Lolita outfits, sometimes offering them for sale to make up for the difficulty of acquiring them from Japan.

Gothic Lolita in the West
Many Goth girls in the west, have borrowed from the Japanese goth loli style, and have created a market for this style of clothing (particulary in online auctions). Americas Tokyopop recently comissioned, along with performer Courtney Love (who is not goth/goth loli herself, but is a former Japanese resident) an original manga in the goth loli style, called Princess Ai. This was the first (at least publicised) Japan/West goth loli collaboration.
Gothic & Lolita Bible

One magazine in particular, the irregularly published Gothic & Lolita Bible, has played an instrumental role in promoting and standardizing the style. The 100+ page magazine includes fashion tips, photos, sewing patterns, catalog descriptions, decorating ideas, and even recipes.
Gothic Lolita - Shopping

Currently the heart of the Gothic Lolita subculture, at least commercially, is the Marui Young department store in Shinjuku, after its predecessor Marui One closed at the end of August 2004. This large youth-fashion oriented department store has 4 floors entirely devoted to Gothloli and related fashions.
Crossover with Goth

"Gothloli" as a fashion is not as strongly associated with a particular style of music or outside interests as goth, and individual followers of Gothloli fashion may listen to a wide variety of music including regular Japanese pop.

In Japan, Goth is a very minor subculture with few followers, partly because the emphasis upon visual identity in Japanese youth culture makes other factors such as music and literature less important signifiers and perhaps partly because Christianity and Germanic culture are not integral parts of society. In Japan, people who have heard the term "Goth" usually assume that it refers to "Gothic Lolita", except for the Goths themselves, who strongly emphasize the differences. (Likewise, some western observers incorrectly assume that "Gothloli" is the Japanese version of "Goth".)

However, due to the popularity of Gothloli from around 2001–2004 and its continued acceptance by many young girls, Goth nightclubs and events increasingly include Gothic Lolita elements in order to attract more customers. Thus many Japanese "Goth Clubs" will also feature a guest DJ playing J-pop and Visual Kei music, tea and cakes in the chill-out room, doll decorations, and other items designed to appeal to the Gothloli sense of European nostalgia.

Anime and Manga
Due to the popularity of this cute style with many fans of Japanese animation and comics, characters dressed in the "Gothloli" style may be found in numerous anime and manga. Some of the most prominent are Paradise Kiss, Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, Rozen Maiden, Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase, Othello, Chobits, xxxHOLiC, and Pitaten. Most of these titles appeal primarily to male fans rather than the gothlolis themselves. However, large numbers of gothloli girls are visible at manga events such as comiket. They often buy doujinshi based upon their favourite bands, dolls and movie characters; and some are interested in other kinds of cosplay apart from goth loli style.

Movies
The main character in Shimotsuma Monogatari (or Kamikaze Girls as it is known in the English language release) dressed in the "Gothloli" style.

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Japan Fashion Style Called Ganguro

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26oct-shibuya20, originally uploaded by marylouc.

Ganguro (ガングロ), literally "black-face", is a Japanese fashion trend among many Japanese girls which peaked in popularity from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, an outgrowth of chapatsu hair dyeing. The Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo are the centre of ganguro fashion.

The basic look consists of bleached hair, a deep tan, both black and white eyeliners, false eyelashes, platform shoes (usually sandals or boots), and brightly colored outfits. Also typical of the "Ganguro Gal" look are cell phones covered with purikura stickers, tie-dyed sarongs, mini-skirts, hibiscus flower hairpins, and lots of bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Extreme trend followers further bleach their hair up to a platinum blond shade, get even deeper tans, wear white lipstick, multicoloured pastel eye shadows and tiny metallic or glittery adhesives around the bottom rim of the eye sockets (See Yamanba). Popular Ganguro magazines include: Egg, Popteen, and Ego System.

In an interview with Tony Barrell, Creator of FRUiTS magazine, Shoichi Aoki, stated: "Ganguro was a phenomenon that was specific to Shibuya, about 1km away from Harajuku - which we have been talking about - and they were totally different so FRUiTS as a rule didn’t really take them up. Only a few times we’ve covered ganguro in our magazine. Where they came from is actually a mystery, no one really knows but there is some speculation that they were girls who were infatuated or fascinated with Janet Jackson or black American musicians or perhaps Naomi Campbell, the supermodel, but it’s still a mystery what their origins were."

There is some dispute surrounding the etymology of the word "ganguro." Many claim the name itself, "Black face" support this. This also goes against Ganguro itself, because many people are seeing it as racist and comparing it to the Blackface of early 1900's culture in America.
Perceptions of ganguro in Japanese manga

Peach Girl Manga
"Peach Girl" is a manga minimally involving the ganguro phenomenon, as its protagonist Momo is misconstrued to be shallow due to her tan skin. However, she denies being classed as 'ganguro' frequently throughout the storylines on the claims that both her skin and hair colour have come about naturally.

GALS! Manga
In "GALS!" one of Ran Kotobuki's major annoyance is the Ganguro Trio a.k.a. Tan Faces Red, Yellow, and Blue. The Ganguro Gals tell Ran that they are way beyond season and that they won't let seasons demean our cheap chill or thrill.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shine Harajuku

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Shine, originally uploaded by Giant Ginkgo.

Shine Harajuku

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Harajuku Girls - Doll

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Harajuku Girls - Doll, originally uploaded by animefx.

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Harajuku cosplay 1

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Harajuku cosplay 1, originally uploaded by jeremiah.

a really nice picture, all the colors seem to match, the hair, the shirt, the jacket ... oh that reminds me of something .. have you ever seen male harajuku cosplayers ? sometimes its difficult to point out whether they're male or female

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Hello Kitty Cosplay Girl harajuku tokyo

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This photo was taken outside Harajuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. This was a sunny saturday afternoon while the cosplay gang was out and about. This girl's hello kitty outfit was amazing.

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What have you done with your eye?

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Harajuku Girl With Eye Makeup

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harajuku sweetie

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harajuku sweetie, originally uploaded by skootie.

Harajuku, Tokyo- Japan

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Harajuku Girls Tokyo Singing Group

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Harajuku is a place in Tokyo where, on Sundays, Japanese youth will gather to strut their stuff wearing all sorts of odd clothing combinations. Additionally, there are sometimes informal music performances, and these girls pictured above were part of a singing group (that in truth wasn't very good).

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Golden Hair Harajuku Girls

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Harajuku Moments, originally uploaded by beatdrifter.

Japanese subculture in Harajuku

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For general fashion and subculture in Harajuku, Japan

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メイド, originally uploaded by don.lee.

"Harajuku Girls" is also the title of 7th track of Gwen Stefani's 2004 album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
"Harajuku girl" redirects here. For general fashion and subculture in Harajuku, Japan, see Harajuku.
The Harajuku Girls performing on the Harajuku Lovers Tour 2005
The Harajuku Girls performing on the Harajuku Lovers Tour 2005

The Harajuku Girls are four young women who were hired in 2004 as backup dancers for American singer Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album. The "Harajuku Girls" have continued to appear alongside Stefani, and are featured in the music videos for "What You Waiting For?", "Rich Girl", "Hollaback Girl", "Luxurious", "Crash", "Wind It Up", "The Sweet Escape", and "Now That You Got It". They have also toured with Stefani. Coincidentally, both Love and Music have worked with Namie Amuro at some time, Music as a member of the group Super Monkeys and Love as Amuro's dancer for a period.

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harajuku in the rain

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harajuku in the rain, originally uploaded by don.lee.

Umbrella Girl in the rain

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Harajuku

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Harajuku, originally uploaded by Nachosan.

a girl gets ready in Harajuku, just south of Yoyogi-koen park

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harajuku boys Harajuku Station in Tokyo.

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harajuku boys (tokyo), originally uploaded by xthylacine.

A couple of guys in their Sunday's finest pose for pictures near Harajuku Station in Tokyo. Many teenagers and young adults congregate around the station and its adjoining park on Sundays to show off their sometimes rather extravagant costumes. This is is a way to rebel, in a small way, against the enforced conformity of Japanese society. Ironically, many dress up in groups of similarly-clad friends.

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Goth-Loli Fashion Harajuku

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Harajuku I, originally uploaded by little-wings.

I visited Harajuku today, not my first time there by far but my first time on a Sunday (when all the Japanese kids dress up and promonade on the bridge by the Meiji Shrine). It wasn't actually as crowded as I thought it might be, but I'd gotten a late start, and I think some people had already gone home.

Generally, there are several styles of Japanese cosplay: A lot of the youth on the bridge were dressed in what is sometimes known as the "Goth-Loli Fashion" (short for "gothic” and “Lolita"). This essentially involves increably fancy goth-style babydoll outfits. For examples, you can check out the links below.

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Harajuku Girls kids and teenagers dressed like this

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Harajuku Girls, originally uploaded by markokon.

"Harajuku Girls" yes... this is what some of them look like. Basically every Sunday if you go to Harajuku station just outside of the famous area called Harajuku you'll find kids and teenagers dressed like this and in other fun and outrageous costumes. This place is a hot bed for creative expression and overall a great public space for performance artists and musicians. And yes... they all love to be photographed.

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Harajuku Girls 13

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Harajuku Girls 13, originally uploaded by animefx.

Another one of my favorites from my Harajuku Girls series of photos. This will probably be my last from this series until I'm able to go back to Japan. I hope you liked them.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Harajuku Phose

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Harajuku Phose Cosplay


A collection of Harajuku inspired crisp, preppy separates has an easy feel. Fine seersucker blouses and cropped boxy blazers appear in multi coloured ticking stripes. Capes and oversize cardigans are layered over clean cut gingham shell-blouses and skinny and carrot leg jeans. 1970’s style blue jeans, slouchy shorts and ra-ra skirts work with cute logo Ts in young, primary colours while 50s’ style summer dresses add sophistication. A palette of red, blue and white dominates, highlighted with degrade citrus lemon and orange. Brightly coloured t-bar flats, doctor and bowling bags complete the story.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Harajuku : Cosplay Venues

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Cosplay can be seen at public events such as video game shows, as well as at dedicated cosplay parties at nightclubs or amusement parks. It is not unusual for Japanese teenagers to gather with like-minded friends in places like Tokyo's Harajuku district to engage in cosplay. Since 1998, Tokyo's Akihabara district has contained a large number of cosplay cafés, catering to devoted anime and cosplay fans. The waitresses at such cafés dress as game or anime characters; maid (or meido) costumes are particularly popular.

Possibly the single largest and most famous event attended by cosplayers is the semiannual doujinshi market, Comiket. This event, held in summer and winter, attracts hundreds of thousands of manga otaku and many thousands of cosplayers who congregate on the roof of the exhibition center, often in unbearably hot or cold conditions.

Cosplayers in Japan refer to themselves as reyazu; pronounced layers (by writing the word cosplayers in katakana, it is possible to shorten it in this way). Those who photograph players are called cameko, short for "Camera Kozo" or "Camera Boy". The cameko give prints of their photos to the players as gifts. Tensions between players and cameko have increased due to perceived stalker-like behaviour among some obsessive males who push female cosplayers to exchange personal email addresses or do private photo sessions. One result of this has been a tightening of restrictions on photography at events such as Comiket.

While Cosplay arguably originated in Japan, one should not be confused with the idea that Cosplay is considered typical behavior in Japan. While some do attend Cosplay functions that are held in districts such as Akihabara, most Japanese people find Cosplay to be rather silly. In addition, because Cosplay in Japan has adapted such a negative sexual connotation, many Japanese have come to feel that Cosplay is reprehensible. In addition, North Americans who Cosplay typically refer to themselves as "otaku", which is essentially the Japanese word for "geek", but wrongfully use this word in an attempt to embody themselves in a sociological group that they can be proud of. To contrast, in Japan actual otaku refuse to admit that they are otaku because the idea of otaku it is not looked at as a group of people who are engaging in activity that may seem "just a little different". In fact, being an otaku in Japan entails standing on one of the bottom rungs of the Japanese social ladder.
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Gundam Costume

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This Gundam Strike Freedom Cosplay is awesome.



So what is Cosplay anyway?
Cosplay, short for "costume play", is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu, and video games, and, less commonly, Japanese live action television shows, fantasy movies, Japanese pop music bands, Visual Kei, fantasy music stories (such as stories by the band Sound Horizon), and novels. However, in some circles, "cosplay" has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.

In Japan, "cosplay" as a hobby is usually an end unto itself. Like-minded people gather to see others' costumes, show off their own elaborate handmade creations, take lots of pictures, and possibly participate in best costume contests.

The most specific anecdote about the origin of the word "cosplay" was that Nov Takahashi (from a Japanese studio called Studio Hard) coined the term "cosplay" as a contraction of the English-language words "costume play" while she was attending the 1984 Los Angeles Science Fiction Worldcon. He was so impressed by the hall and masquerade costuming there that he reported about it frequently in Japanese science fiction magazines. This point is debatable, however, as the word fits in with a common Japanese method of abbreviation: combining the first two syllables of one word with the first two syllables of a second word (or, more precisely, the first two moras of each). Other examples of this include Pokémon and puroresu.
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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Latest costume-play offerings in Japan.

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School boy cafes, maid casinos as the latest costume-play offerings in Japan.

School girls have a well-documented following, but what about the boys? It turns out that school boys are building up a following of their own: since opening last fall, the school boy themed café, Edelstein, has been filled to capacity every weekend and has seen repeat customers visit upwards of 40 times in just a few short months.

[link]

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