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Discover Nagoya’s Cosplay Culture – The World Cosplay Summit Competition

Every year since 2003, Nagoya hosts the World Cosplay Summit Competition. Cosplay is short for "Costume Play." It's a global phenomenon which has been rising in popularity since the 1980s. Cosplayers dress up as their favorite anime (Japanese animation) and video game characters for fun, photos and even sometimes competitions.


At Nagoya, Cosplayers from twenty-two countries compete for the first place prize of a trophy, and an invitation to return to Japan for future events, and the acclaim reputation that comes with winning a world-wide competition. Each of the twenty-two competing countries is represented by a team of two Cosplayers. The current competing countries are as follows: United Kingdom, France, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, U.S.A, Mexico and Brazil. The teams are critiqued by a panel of judges for their costumes, and a two to three minute short skit which they perform. Costumes must be made by the competitors themselves. Skits can be any genre but props must be able to fit into a check-in suitcase.

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The World Cosplay Summit is held on a weekend in July. The competition itself is about two hours long, and has a short intermission. Outside of the competition, events are held all weekend long. There is a parade that marches throughout the streets of Osu Shopping District, live musical performances, a karaoke contest and cosplay. The parade is held on Saturday and is made up of the competitors from the twenty-two countries, their spokespersons and more than a thousand cosplayers. The competitors make costumes specifically for the parade event.


Live musical performances are held on both days and focus on new, upcoming artists and bands. The karaoke contest is held on Sunday before the main Cosplay Summit Competition Event. The karaoke contest contestants come are from all over the world and will sing in Japanese using the LIVDAM karaoke grading system. The system grades contestants pitch and vocals.


Cosplay is open for anyone. People of all shapes and sizes dress as their favorite anime and video game characters, as photographers try to get the best pictures. Photographers and cosplayers swarm the surrounding venues from Saturday morning to the closing ceremony Sunday night.

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Even though the weekend events are free, the main World Cosplay Summit Competition is not. The price ranges from 1,500YEN to 3,000YEN depending on the seats and what package is chosen. Some packages may include things such as front-row seating, stickers, magazines, t-shirts, pins, etc. The main competition is held inside the Oasis 21 building, a building offering many stages for various shows. There is no photography of any sort allowed inside the main competition, but videos will be available online at a later date for people to view. This year, the competition will be held in the same place: Osu and Oasis 21 in Nagoya. 

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