Why youths are drawn to cosplay, subculture
Many cosplay and ACG events are being organized in China, making the subculture popular among some youths. ACG means anime, comics and games subculture, and cosplay means costume play, in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character, real or fictitious.
An outlet for youths to express virtual love
Cosplay participants often interact with each other to dress up as characters from animes, cartoons, comic books, films, TV programs and/or video games. Thanks to the rising number of cosplayers since the 1990s, a popular subculture has emerged in Japan and some other Asian, even Western, countries. The term "cosplay" was coined in Japan in 1984 at science fiction conventions, which began with the first World Science Fiction Convention in New York City in 1939.
Cosplay contests on university campuses in China started increasing around 2008 and 2009. Initially, the students dressed up as Japanese animation and comic-book characters. But with the development of the Chinese animation industry, an increasing number of cosplayers started dressing up as characters from Chinese cartoons, comic books and video games.
Juveniles who fancy cosplay are esoteric in nature and have their own sets of jokes, which "outsiders" rarely understand. Perhaps that’s why people are prejudiced against them. But cosplay allows such youths to dress up as characters they love, and express their love for fictitious characters.
Cosplayers are almost always young, most of them under 25-and as they grow older, they tend to give up the practice. So there’s no need for parents to overreact to cosplay. Instead, they should treat such youngsters as normal youths, but at the same time warn them to never cross the social and moral boundaries. Once a cosplayer who wore a costume made from a Japanese military flag was barred from taking part in the contest. The incident reflects the distortions within the cosplay "community", some of which cross the social and moral boundaries.
Besides, many companies, especially online game providers, hire cosplayers or organize cosplay competitions, in order to promote their new products. So regulators should strictly monitor such events to check if they also promoting inappropriate behaviors.
Industry expected to witness more success
The cosplay subculture is a kind of performing arts and is highly influenced by ACG derivative products. Usually, only zealous cosplay and ACG fans choose to participate in cosplay.