In Japan, maybe more than anywhere else, clothing reveals social and professional belonging. From kindergarten to university, then in the world of business, the Japanese all wear the uniform or the suit corresponding to their function. In a society that constantly claims the unity of its social fabric and in which the appearance has such a symbolic value, the diversion of dress codes reveals defiant and subversive intentions.
Cosplay is a role-playing game that works on a principle of fun simulation supposed to arouse the admiration of the fans. The more a cosplayer’s costume and attitudes will be faithful to the original character, the more they will be the vectors of a celebrity or a power of attraction exerted on the community.
Despite their seeming superficiality, cosplayers question the central values of society and the social dynamics that play out. As a way of apprehending society and negotiating with its constraints, community members claim the right to play with the conveniences and prohibitions that are assigned to them on a daily basis. In this sense, the practice of Cosplay is reminiscent of the world of the carnival where a clear desire to emancipate from conventions and social norms is expressed.
Although Cosplay’s anchoring in socio-political issues is not very conscious, it is nonetheless tangible. Cosplayers make the deliberate choice of a life placed under the sign of the imaginary, breaking with social norms. The followers of the movement seem quite aware of the dichotomy between the real and the many fantastic worlds and if they prefer fiction over reality, it is because the values of the dominant society seem normative to them and that the space of the community makes it possible to invent new ones.