Grape Japan

Profiles: Six Japanese Cosplayers To Watch [Photos and Interviews]

Based on the number of active registrants in the most popular cosplay sites and social networks, there are anywhere between 400,000 to 600,000 cosplayers in Japan today, accounting for about 0.5% of the entire Japanese population. It is increasingly common to see cosplayers on Japanese television. Cosplay culture has, to a certain extent, become more mainstream. At the same time, the profiles of popular Japanese cosplayers has diversified, some of them also being active as illustrators, models, or even as idols, musicians or DJs.

In this special feature, we will showcase six talented and charismatic Japanese women who consider cosplaying an important part of their creative lives. Fortunately for our readers, all of them are keenly interested in connecting with cosplayers as well as fans beyond Japanese borders.


Updates

  • 12/13/18: We regret to announce that Momoka is no longer featured in this article. As per an agreement she made with the doujin circle she was affiliated with at the time, her appearance here was limited to 18 months. If you are curious about her recent activities, please visit her Twitter account here.
  • 12/13/18: In Momoka's place, we have added Ruu Matsutani, whom we previously featured in our Cosplayers to Watch series.
  • 07/20/18: For more cosplayer photos and interviews, follow our ongoing series "Cosplayers to Watch"



(featured alphabetically)


Anzu


Profile

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cm_anzu


Photos


@cm_anzu / Photo: @kan_ta_rou

@cm_anzu / Photo: @sugasugamomiage

@cm_anzu / Photo: @katazawa_s


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    I’ve been cosplaying for about ten years now.

  • Why do you cosplay?

    As part of my activities as a fan of manga and anime, I cosplay because I want to express the characters and worlds of my favorite works.

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    I feel strongly attached to all of my cosplays, so they are all memorable to me, but the most memorable one was Mayu Sakuma from THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls. In contrast with the cosplays I had done before, I tried to also express the darker aspects of her personality. I experimented trying to find the right balance between her bright side and her gloomy side.

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    Yes, since I often choose characters that have no official cosplay outfits, I frequently make my own.

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    I haven’t done so out of a conscious effort, but I often cosplay protagonists or characters for whom I feel passionately about, characters I have been faithful to for a long time.

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I try to maintain a balance between the way the character is portrayed in the original work and my personal interpretation of the character. I try to find my own way to express the character without corrupting the original.

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    I haven’t yet participated in cosplay events abroad, but I would like to if I had the opportunity!

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    I do, and I interact with them on Twitter, World Cosplay and other social media networks.

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    I don’t participate in too many cosplay events so I’m not very knowledgeable about them. There are events outside of the big cities which aim to revitalize their local communities. They look like a lot of fun and the locations seem nice, so I’m interested in those.

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    I don’t have anything special to mention but I have received compliments about my facial expression.

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    I like ball-jointed dolls. In addition to cosplay outfits, I also like to make outfits for dolls representing characters from manga and anime.

  • What is your favorite food?

    I love seafood. I’m particularly fond of scallops and oysters!


Haru Tachibana


Profile



Photos


@hu_ton_

@hu_ton_

@hu_ton_


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    My first cosplay experience was at an event called Anime Japan in March, 2015.

  • Why do you cosplay?

    For one thing, it’s fun to be able to completely transform into my favorite characters. Also, since I’m normally active as an internet personality and model, cosplaying allows me to see how I look (in photos) so I can use it to refine my posing and makeup.

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    My cosplay of Rin Shibuya from THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls was the most popular on social media!

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    For outfits I really care about, I make them by myself from scratch!

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    I have almond-shaped eyes, so I tend to portray mature beautiful characters rather than cute ones. Since I’m tall, I also tend to portray tall characters.

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I do my best to make poses and expressions that match the character I’m cosplaying so that people almost believe the character is truly there!

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    I haven’t yet, but I would really like to participate in them in the future so that I can make friends with cosplayers outside of Japan!

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    I have fans outside of Japan who support me on Twitter, so I reply to them in English!

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    I recommend Comic Market. Many cosplayers attend, so you can make friends and socialize!

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    I think my almond-shaped eyes are a distinctive feature of mine. Also, since I’m tall, I’m confident in my legs!

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    I love online games and I’ve been playing Final Fantasy 14 for about two years! I’d like to become friends with more Final Fantasy fans!

  • What is your favorite food?

    I love ramen and crepes!


Luna Amemiya


Profile

143 cm / I cup / DOB: 1993/07/14

SNS:


Photos


@amemiyaluna

@amemiyaluna

@amemiyaluna


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    I have been cosplaying since I was 14. My first cosplay was Tsunayoshi Sawada from Reborn!

  • Why do you cosplay?

    I cosplay because it’s fun to be able to turn into a different person and because there are people who enjoy it when I do so!

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    Rei Ayanami is one of my favorite characters. I’ve cosplayed her so many times that my outfit gets threadbare! I’ve had four plugsuits so far.

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    I have made my own outfit before, but I mainly buy pre-made outfits, then make minor adjustments to them.

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    Probably the only thing they have in common is they are female. Whether they’re tall, laidback and mature or childish and energetic, if they’re characters I’ve taken a liking to, then I want to cosplay them!

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I try to make the persona of the character I’m cosplaying come through in my posing. I also pay a lot of attention to my choice of wig and color contact lenses. Even though they may have hairstyles and eye colors that doesn’t exist in the real world, I try to give three-dimensional expression to the characters as they are drawn in the original works!

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    Yes, I have. My first time in Europe was on May 30th at Etna Comics in Italy. Most recently, I participated in Fancy Frontier in Taiwan on July 29th.

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    I have been to Taiwan several times and experienced events in Hong Kong and (as I just mentioned) Italy as well. Some of my fans come to Japan to see me too, which makes me happy! However, I can hardly speak any language other than Japanese, so I communicate through body language and eye contact. Sorry, I promise to study more! I’m so happy that there are people who become my fans even though we can’t speak the same language! Thank you!

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    That would be Comic Market. I also recommend another event which happens at the same time, called COSHOLIC! I wear more sexy outfits there which I couldn’t wear at Comic Market!

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    My chest! At the age of ten, I was already an F cup, and I had quite a complex about it. When I started cosplaying, I did only male characters, and I thought of my chest as a nuisance since I wanted to make it flat. But now, I think of it as an identity trait unique to me, so I make the most of it.

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    Manga! Not only do I read them when I’m on the move, I even cut down on my sleep if I have to in order to put aside three or four hours a day, so I can read them! These days, I mostly read downloaded versions.

  • What is your favorite food?

    Sweet things! I especially like fruits and dairy products. I love chocolate! As for meals, I like yakiniku (grilled meat) and sushi!


Mamu


Profile

Twitter:https://twitter.com/mamu12mamu


Photos


@mamu12mamu

@mamu12mamu

@mamu12mamu


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    I think I have been a cosplayer for about three years now.

  • Why do you cosplay?

    At first, I thought it would be fun to express the world of manga and anime, so I entered this field as a photographer. But then, since the cosplayers I shot always seemed to be enjoying themselves, I began to get interested and I ended up cosplaying myself. The way I see it, after learning photo editing, I was able to do many more things, and cosplay is the medium I settled on since it allowed me to express my favorite part of a manga or anime.

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    I have been cosplaying Tsubasa Hanekawa from the Monogatari series from the beginning, so I am particularly attached to her character. Many people I meet for the first time tell me that they know me for my Hanekawa cosplay, which makes me happy. I think Hanekawa was the first time I realized that by cosplaying a character, my feelings for her grow deeper.

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    When I have time or if I get the impression from the outfit’s shape that I’d be able to make it, I’ll do it. But I’m clumsy with my hands, so it doesn’t come out too neatly. I have more fun when I’m making props or weapons.

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    I’m very attracted to strong women, so the characters I cosplay are often brave and bold women. I’m particularly drawn to women who are not simply physically strong in battle but who are also mentally strong and have a cool way of thinking.

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I think cosplaying is first and foremost about enjoying yourself. That’s the most important thing for me.

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    No, I haven’t.

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    I sometimes get messages from outside of Japan on social media. I use machine translation tools to translate so I’m probably not replying very well to their messages, but it makes me very happy.

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    Large events are most fun because you have more opportunities to interact with various people. I think events like Comic Market, Tokyo Game Show, Wonder Festival and Tonaride Cosplay Exposition are places where you go and socialize with friends rather than places you only go for cosplay photo shoots.

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    My eyes are the only feature I am fond of.

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    I enjoy watching movies. Old movies, new movies, it doesn’t matter. I watch two to three a week. Not too many of my friends are movie buffs like me, so it makes me happy when I make a new friend who likes movies.

  • What is your favorite food?

    I eat nothing but ice cream. I went to Spain by myself recently and I ended up hardly eating any proper meals and just hitting all the ice cream shops I could find!


Monico


Profile

Monico enjoys a hybrid existence as a cosplayer, DJ and musical artist. Starting out as a back DJ for Oresama, Monico branched out as a solo artist in 2016. In July 2017, she joined the mysterious music collective Kindan No Tasūketsu, and in August, she released her 3rd photo book and CD "New World," with art design by graphic designer GraphersRock and music by pop maestro Tomggg and speedcore creator Kobaryo. Monico continues to expand her DJ activities, with a focus on bass music encompassing anime songs and more. Monico fever has crossed the border and is now spreading to Asia and Europe!



Photos


@monico_PC

@monico_PC

@monico_PC


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    For about three years.

  • Why do you cosplay?

    One reason is I love anime and the other reason is I love cute girls. I think cosplaying is the only way you can experience the joy of completely transforming into your favorite character.

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    Cosplaying Mumei from Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress left a strong impression on me. I made everything from the costume to the armor and weapons by hand, taking a long time, so it was very memorable. She’s innocent but at the same time very strong, and I re-watched the anime many times to research her cosplay.

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    Yes, I do! When I’m busy, I also have them order made. Depending on the situation, I change what I do to prepare for my cosplay enjoyment.

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    I love characters who are strong yet cute.

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I try my best to make facial expressions most suited to the character I’m portraying.

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    I participated in Fancy Frontier in Taiwan and Anime Messe in Berlin.

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    Yes, I have a few who come visit me every year at Comic Market. They have kindly learned Japanese, which is really helpful. I also sometimes speak to them in my limited English!

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    I recommend Comic Market. So many characters from famous anime to minor works, even gag cosplays, all gathering for a single event – it only happens on such a scale at Comiket!

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    My smile.

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    I like to sing.

  • What is your favorite food?

    Donuts.

Ruu Matsutani


Profile


Photos


@mocka0315

@mocka0315

@mocka0315


Interview


  • Since when have you been cosplaying?

    Although I’ve been cosplaying since my college days, I started cosplaying seriously when I came back from a short-term work stay in Florida. That was two and a half years ago.

  • Why do you cosplay?

    Basically, I cosplay because I love anime and I love becoming characters from my favorite anime. I work hard on the costume, get all the accessories I need and choose the photo studio. No matter how many times I do it, reading people’s reactions to my photos is the happiest moment for me! Also, my experience living in Florida changed my awareness of myself as a photographic subject. Through my interactions with entertainers at Disney World, I began to feel that I wanted to shine just like they do.

  • Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

    The wedding dress costume of Super Sonico from Nitroplus. I made the costume in only one week after the figure was announced, so it has a special place in my memories.

  • Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

    I make almost all my costumes by hand. I don’t have any special knowledge in costume design, but I enjoy figuring things out for myself and making costumes that way.

  • Do all the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

    I’d like to be able to become any character. I want to challenge myself to become any character imaginable, so I cosplay all kinds of characters. That said, most of my cosplays are of large-chested characters with pink hair. I also cosplay many “Lolita” characters.

  • Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

    I do my best to get as close as possible to the original so that people who see me cosplaying the character will get a sense for how much I like her.

  • Have you participated in events outside of Japan?

    I participated in MegaCon Orlando a few times. It made me happy to see Americans’ eyes light up at the sight of anime goods. I could also feel a sense of freedom in the cosplay I saw there. I was impressed to see so many wonderful costume arrangements and interpretations.

  • Do you have any non-Japanese fans? If so, how do you interact with them?

    I don’t think I have too many non-Japanese fans yet, so from now on, I’d like to use English more often in my activities.

  • Please tell us if you have any cosplay events you recommend in Japan.

    I think Comic Market is worth going to at least once. The scale is just incredible! I think you’ll be able to meet many amazing cosplayers there.

  • What do you think is your most attractive feature?

    I would have to say my limitless positive energy! I’m very expressive and I’m full of smiles!

  • Do you have hobbies apart from cosplaying?

    Actually, I have quite a few hobbies. But my favorite is Disney. I also like to exercise and play musical instruments.

  • What is your favorite food?

    I love spicy food! When I was in the US, I would put sriracha sauce on just about everything. Also, even though I can’t hold my liquor, I love the kind of snacks that are served with alcohol. On the other hand, I don’t really like bread or sponge cake.



(Update: 07/20/18) For more cosplayer photos and interviews, follow our ongoing series "Cosplayers to Watch"


By - Ben K.

Source:
@monico_PC / @ruu_cos / @mamu12mamu / @amemiyaluna / @hu_ton_ / @cm_anzu / (C) 2.5D Production / (C) Yamaha Music Entertainment Holdings, Inc. / (C) Bandcamp / (C) Tomggg / (C) Tumblr / (C) Kobaryo / @kan_ta_rou / @sugasugamomiage / @katazawa_s
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