The origins of the word "cosplay"


Hero Costume Operation. I think “cosplay” is dated, even old-fashioned. From here on out, it’s Hero Costume Operation. (Or hirokosu if you’re Japanese.)

Thought that was obvious, but I’m probably forgetting my cognitive biases (took a year of Japanese in college as part of a linguistics minor; know about enough to ask where the bathroom is but I remember a few bits of trivia).

There are lots of examples of Japanese portmanteaus like that; probably the next-most-well-known to us westerners would be Pokemon (Pocket Monsters).

They refer to American Football as “Amefuto”.

While the word contraction bit was obvious to me as a resident of Japan, the thing which always seemed odd to me is the “play” part since プレイ is otherwise really only used in sexual situations.

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I hate it!

I have always been something of an amateur lexicologist, and have strongly disliked the tendency to change the names of faddish things by making acronyms or portmanteau of them. I do like the phenomenon of what people call cosplay (ick, I finally typed it!), but think it is a word which never needed to exist, and sounds ridiculous.

I’ve always wondered about that too, and I’m kind of disappointed the article didn’t touch on it.

Japan would give you conniption fits then. The latest one is スマホ (sumaho) for “smart phone”. Yes they do have a existing way to phoneticize “fo” asフォ but somehow it gets a shift to “ho” in this case…

I’m actually unsurprised the article didn’t touch it. Kotaku may not be fully family friendly but there are areas they won’t go.

Was this ironic? Sex is about as family friendly as it gets!


As my father always used to say: “How do you think the family got there?”


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