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Why Was Cosplay Created? (Answered)

If you’ve been to Japan you must have seen people donning costumes for their favorite characters from Anime, Manga, or a video game.

Even at the Marvel movie premiers, you’d see people dressing up as their favorite superheroes like Captain America or Spiderman.

This kind of art performance is known as cosplaywhich is short for costume play.

Violet Evergarden Cosplay
Nowadays, thousands upon thousands of people dress up and take on characters in cosplay, which is all the rage.

Cosplay is not something new, many people dismiss it as a means of just having fun but it is more than that.

Cosplay dates back to early 1908 when an Ohio couple Mr. and Mrs. William Fell showed up at a masquerade ball dressed up as Martian characters: Mr. Skygack and Miss Dillpickles, from a comic first published in Chicago Day book. 

Sounds interesting? Well, there is more to the story. Keep reading to know why cosplay was created.

What exactly is cosplay?

Cosplay is often regarded as a sort of performance art. Individuals often dress in costumes and accessories to resemble their favorite comic book or anime character.

Many individuals also dress up like characters from their favorite TV shows, video games, and so forth.

It is the act of selecting a fictitious character and then dressing up like that figure. Cosplayers are those who do it as a pastime or enjoy doing it regularly. Nevertheless, cosplay is more than simply dressing up as your favorite character; you must also behave like them, mimicking their mannerisms, speech patterns, and other characteristics.

Who is the inventor of cosplay?

Myrtle Rebecca Douglas Smith, commonly known as Morojo in science fiction history, was a huge lover of science fiction and created the first-ever Cosplay in California.

People generally attribute the origins of Cosplay and the phrase to Japan. The phrase was coined in Japan in 1984, but the activity itself was not entirely Japanese. Since the 15th century, masquerade balls and costume celebrations have been organized. It was not in Japan that the first time someone dressed up in costumes occurred.

What is the purpose of Cosplay?

Cosplay is all the rage these days, with thousands upon thousands of individuals dressing up and getting into character. The outfits range from simply themed to extremely complex costumes.

Cosplay was essentially created to be an enormous fandom that pays tribute to their favorite characters by roleplaying them.

When dressed in costume, cosplayers frequently try to emulate the effect, mannerisms, and body language of the characters they depict.

As many others have said, it’s an amazing experience to enter into a character and bring that persona to life.

What is the purpose of Cosplay?

As an outsider, you might find it difficult to understand the reason behind cosplay and why cosplayers spend so much money, time, and effort on it if it is just for fun. Here are some major reasons why people cosplay. 

Social Interaction

Cosplayers on Day 1 of New York Comic Con at the Javits Center, 2022
People may compliment you on the work you put into your costume or they may ask for suggestions on how to make your makeup or props look better.

An introvert who finds it difficult to find people in his interest group can find socializing a challenge.

Let’s suppose you have a tough work environment and no one really matches your vibes and areas of interest that could make social interactions a burden and awkward as well. 

Many people do cosplays because of the harmony between the cosplayer community. You can dress up for fun and find people with similar areas of interest like creativity, Anime, movies, video games, etc. 

You can find people praising you for the effort you put into your costume as well as people who would like to take advice on props or makeup for improvement.

The cosplayers are usually non-judgy people so you can comfortably speak around them. 

Cosplaying is an excellent method to meet new people. You can be in the same fandom, or it’s a terrific icebreaker to meet someone new.

For example, if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, it’s a lot of fun and fantastic to meet someone else who is also a fan of the series.

Meeting new people is vital for cosplayers, and it is perhaps the most significant reason why people cosplay.

Good Way To Relieve Stress

If you feel burned out after a tough week at work or college cosplay can be a good way to relieve this stress.

Some might see it as a form of escapism from real-world problems as you don your favorite costume and makeup and act or model like your favorite character.

This could be a harmless way to have fun take some pictures and meet your fellows who share the same hobby. 

Cosplay As A Creative Hobby

Cosplayers are extremely imaginative individuals who frequently go to great efforts to make their outfits as authentic as possible. 

There goes a lot of work into making a costume and then actually cosplaying with it, you have to find the relevant hairstyle or the wig, the matching patterns for fabric, and the correct type of fabric.

Not only that, many characters have colored eyes which requires a cosplayer to find colored contacts and then accessories related to them. 

You might be shocked at how much fun it is to let your creative side run wild. Even if you don’t think your creative or sewing skills are very good, you may still make an interesting costume – and your talents will quickly grow.

Boosting Confidence

Cosplay is a good way to boost confidence. It is much more than just a creative outlet. It can assist introverts in breaking out of their shells and help young people find their tribe.

People will approach you, whether you’re an expert cosplayer or a newcomer, and ask about your outfit and inspiration, trade anecdotes about favorite characters and series, and even want to take your picture.

People are lifted up in the convention and cosplay communities, making each participant feel special.

How did Cosplay originate?

Shallow Focus Photo of Stormtrooper
Star Trek is responsible for cosplay on the American side of the equation.

Cosplay did not emerge in Japan by itself. However, several aspects of cosplay existed before its official birthplace in the 1980s.

Other components emerged in fan cultures in the United States, which eventually blended with the Japanese to become cosplay as we know it today. 

Cosplay owes thanks to Star Trek on the American side of the equation. The budget television show about explorers who boldly venture where no one has gone before generated interest in science fiction in the 1960s.

At science fiction gatherings, the earliest cosplayers dressed up as Star Trek crew members and aliens. At these gatherings, comic book heroes like Batman and Robin blended with science fiction, providing a venue for fans to dress up outside of Halloween.

In 1984, American science fiction and shojo fashion collided to form cosplay.

In 1984, American science fiction and shojo fashion collided to form cosplay. When Takahashi Nobuyuki, the creator of Studio Hard, attended the sci-fi WorldCon in Los Angeles, he was intrigued by the outfits of Trekkies.

When he returned to Japan, he wrote about the costumes and the masquerade during the convention. He encouraged his Japanese fans to dress up for Anime and Manga conventions in his articles. 

He developed the term Kosupure, or costume-play, for these events because the Japanese word for masquerade denotes “an aristocratic costume ball,” which was vastly different from the WorldCon costume competitions he witnessed.

As a result, western science fiction costume contests fused with manga fashion styles to form cosplay as we know it today.

What was the first ever cosplay?

Historians believe cosplay began in Japan in the 1970s when college students dressed up as their favorite Manga and Anime characters during science fiction gatherings.

The term cosplay was coined in a June 1983 article in My Anime magazine by Nobuyuki Takahashi.

The first world cosplay summit took place in 2003 at the Rose Court Hotel in Japan, with 5 Cosplayers from Germany, France, and Italy invited.

Cosplay outfits can range from simple themed clothing to elaborate themed costumes.

It differs from Halloween costumes in that the objective is to emulate a certain character rather than to reflect the culture and symbolism of a holiday event. Here are some recent Cosplay conventions held all around the world:

KumoriconPortland, Oregon, USA
London Anime + Gaming ConventionLondon, UK
OtafestCalgary, Canada
Japan ExpoParis, France
ComiketTokyo, Japan
Different cosplay conventions are held around the world.


  • Cosplay is a creative way to express yourself.
  • The history of cosplay dates back to the times when masquerade balls were a thing and people would wear masks to hide their identities.
  • Cosplay has a major role in strengthening the Anime community. 
  • Cosplay was created to express love for a particular character or movie or series. 

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