As the fashion catches on across the island, experts have said that it could help‘s young people break out of the strictures forced on them by the traditional Chinese pressure to conform.
Since “cosplay” first hit Taiwan little over a decade ago, its enthusiasts have been dressing up like their favourite manga characters and gathering at cafes, parks and manga expos across the island.
In Taiwan, role-playing dates back to around 1995 but has been gaining in popularity in recent years largely thanks to the Internet, said Mio Chang, supervising editor of bi-monthly cosplay magazine “Cosmore”.
“Cosers admire the ‘manga’ or ‘anime’ characters and want to imitate them. It is a passion for them to recreate the looks, the costumes and props,” said Chang, herself a coser for many years.
I don’t normally post about this sort of thing, except that while I was living in Taipei I just happened to stumble across one of the very events described in the article.
At a recent expo at National Taiwan University’s stadium, cosers were seen portraying a wide variety of roles from princesses to maids, space warriors, martial arts masters and even Death.
When I was studying at NTNU and considering switching to the program at National Taiwan University, I was riding my bike around, checking out the area one day, and just happened to ride through the campus right into the middle of a massive cosplay convention, which was taking place in and around the main gymnasium/hall building. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, but it was a highly amusing thing to run across at random.
And of course, the topic of Taiwanese cosplay is always a good opportunity to post this amazing photograph of former Taiwan president Lee Teng Hui, dressed as high school principal from a Japanese manga. As his wikipedia entry says on the topic:
The cosplay was centered on Heihachi Edajima (江田島平八 Edajima Heihachi), a hawkish principal of a boarding school in the Japanese manga Sakigake!! Otokojuku (魁!!男塾) (Shonen Jump). The ; this was used as an advertisement on his personal website and “school” (輝！李塾) beginning in late 2004. This manga comic was a comedy centered on a fictitious reform school for contemporary boys, modelled under the Imperial Japanese Army.