Hibari-sensei’s Guide to Cosplay: the lingo

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my guide to cosplay, and I want to finish it before I embark on a related project. Therefore, I’m following up my taxonomy with a post on the terms you’ll hear from both Japanese and non-Japanese cosplayers.

アニメ顔 (Anime Gao) – means “anime face”; a performance art that involves portraying an anime character through a costume with a mask and a skin-tight bodysuit called zentai; while this seems like cosplay, it differs because cosplay portrays the anime character as though he/she were a real-life person*
Rabbit as Bridget (An American Tail), Kimei Nishimura, mechataku as Sonya, and medosuke at A-kon 21

カメコ (Cameko) – short for カメラ小僧 (“camera kozo”, camera youngster); a term for cosplay photographer, mostly used in Japan; sometimes has a negative connotation of obsessiveness and perversion

Closet Cosplay – a costume made up of items the cosplayer already owns

コミケット (Comiket) – short for “comic market”; a comic book fair and a popular venue for cosplay in Asia; can also refer to the largest comic book fair, located in Tokyo

Con – short for “convention”; an event for fans of a particular entertainment genre and a popular venue for cosplay outside of Asia

コスプレ (Cosplay) – a portmanteau of “costume play”; the recreational act of dressing up as a character or celebrity outside a particular holiday

Crossplay – to dress up as a character/celebrity of the opposite sex; an individual may be crossplaying without crossdressing in the case of characters and celebrities who wear the clothes of the opposite sex
Sendai Comiket1
禅 (Zen) as Yuyuko Saigyouji (Tohou Project) at Sendai Comiket 175

Disguise Pajamas – full-body pajamas with a hood based on an animal or a cartoon character

Doller – an anime gao performer

Ghetto Cosplay – a closet cosplay that requires minimal time and money and is a close approximation to the actual outfit

着ぐるみ (Kigurumi) – full bodysuit cosplay; can specifically refer to animegao or disguise pajamas

レイヤー (Layer) – the Japanese term for cosplayer

ゼンタイ (Zentai) – short for 全身タイツ (“zenshin tights”; full-body tights); a skin-tight garment that covers the entire body, used by dollers to mimic cell-shading

*For more information on kigurumi and animegao, please go to Kigurumi FAQ.

Listening to: “Poppin’ love cocktail” live by Kumi Koda feat. Teeda

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1 Comment

  1. Hibari-sensei’s Guide to Cosplay: Japan vs. America « Gaijin Teacher Otaku

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