A brief history of cosplay, explained in 5 historical conventions

Originally published at: A brief history of cosplay, explained in 5 historical conventions | Boing Boing


Have to listen in a bit. Does it go over where the term came from? I don’t think I heard it until mid 2000s.

I didn’t get to a lot of cons as a kid, but being part of Star Fleet I did goto some Star Trek conventions locally. People were in uniforms there. I spent too much money on comics and stuff to buy me a proper uniform, but I do have a communicator badge around here some where.


There’s an accompanying article that covers it, if you prefer reading:

To answer your specific question:

L.A.con II, August 30th - September 3rd, 1984

By the 1980s, costuming at conventions was a pretty regular occurrence: fans would dress up at the annual masquerade or elsewhere. In 1984, a Japanese fan named Nobuyuki Takahashi, ended up attending that year’s WorldCon, LA.Con II in California. He was a fan writer who was there to write about the con for his fellow fans back home, and ended up writing about the masquerade for a local fanzine called My Anime.

As he tried to describe it, he had to figure out the right way to translate the activity that he witnessed. He eventually ended up calling it “Cosplay” — a mashup of “Costume Play". Japanese fans took to the activity enthusiastically, and it’s remained a activity and even vocation there ever since.


Thanks. I was wondering that myself.


In other words, with Japanese linguistic roots, it’s definitely “cosplay,” and not “cozplay.”

What’s the name of the event in 1891, and what sci-fi novel was it based on? He glosses over both those things pretty fast

The Coming Race.
Haven’t read it but I have heard a radio series based on it.

Um, mainstream people have been dressing up as characters by wearing costumes for … a long time

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