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OtapediaHatsune Miku and Cosplay

Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure) refers to the act of dressing up as a character, usually from a manga, comic books, anime, cartoons, games, television series, or movies. It is a portmanteau of the words costume play. Participants, called cosplayers, often cosplay at fan events and has seen rapid growth in popularity worldwide since the 1990s.

Origins of Modern Cosplay

Dressing up during festivals has been part of Japanese culture ever since the Edo period. In Kyoto, popular Geisha would dress up as historical or fictional characters and parade around town. Cosplay of popular pop culture characters as we know it today is thought to have origins in the mid-1960s, possibly stemming from American science fiction culture which was likely influenced by the American Halloween custom of dressing up. Indeed, the term was first coined in 1984, when the founder of Studio Hard Nobuyuki Takahashi attended the 42nd Worldcon in Los Angeles. He was impressed by those in attendance dressing as their favorite characters and reported on it in a magazine, coining the term cosplay in the process.

Cosplay and Hatsune Miku

As pop culture icons, Vocaloid, in particular, Hatsune Miku, costumes are sold commercially in Japan. This, combined with the fact that Vocaloid has a wide, international fan base, means that they are popular characters to cosplay as, and are commonly seen at anime and cosplay fan conventions. Officially licensed costumes cost up to $200 USD depending on location while the wig can cost up to $30 USD. It is for this reason that many cosplayers tend to hand-craft the outfits themselves.
Crypton Future Media has announced on many occasions that arriving at venues in full cosplay attire is prohibited and attendees may be outright refused entry into the event despite having a valid ticket. Attendees are instead requested to change in the dressing rooms provided by the venue.

Cosplayers will go to events where other fans are able to photograph them though, in recent years, cosplayers are known to do all the photography themselves, away from events, and post the photos to their own social media accounts. One such cosplayer is Taiwanese Amaranth who surged in popularity when she cosplayed as Miku in 2006. On websites like Reddit, amateur cosplayers will show photos of themselves in the hopes of gaining more exposure from other fans. Although mostly every major cosplayer has at least cosplayed as Miku once before, it wasn't until 2017, when Saya Scarlet appeared on the Japanese program "What Did You Come to Japan to Do?" (You wa nani shi ni nippon e?) that the Miku cosplay fanbase reached its climax.

Saya Scarlet

In a segment that was recorded during the same time that Magical Mirai 2017 happened, a camera crew for the program "What Did You Come to Japan to Do?" approached Saya Scarlet while at the airport. In the segment, Saya, a Russian-born cosplayer, shows difficulty with understanding the questions in both Japanese and English and replies only in the simplest of English. She mentions that she is here for the Hatsune Miku Magical Miral 2017 concert and that she is a big fan, being the administrator of the largest Russian Hatsune Miku fan club. She says that she hopes to take photos and videos to help raise Hatsune Miku's profile in her native Russia, where she hoped to organize a Miku concert one day. Despite neither speaking nor understanding Japanese, she managed to sing Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru live for the crew and also showed them her YouTube channel, where she performs as Miku and sings covers of famous songs.
The segment aired in October and caused Japanese Netizens to fall in love with her. Many fans said that "She's the perfect Hatsune Miku!" while others thought her nervousness and giggling demeanor were very cute. Clips of the segment appeared all over the Internet with many reaching over 1 million views within days of initial broadcast.
The broadcast brought her to the public eye and she received over 100,000 followers on Twitter and over 150,000 subscribers on YouTube almost overnight. In the following months and years, she would be sponsored to appear at Hatsune Miku events worldwide and has appeared on Japanese television multiple times to promote cosplaying and her love for Hatsune Miku.
She has proven to be such a positive role-model for the cosplaying community that she has been dubbed by some to be the unofficial Hatsune Miku cosplaying ambassador.

Cosplay - Wikipedia
List of cosplayers - Wikipedia
Saya Scarlet - Twitter
Magical Mirai Terms for Cosplay
Japanese Twitter goes crazy for cute Russian Hatsune Miku cosplayer - Soranews24

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