Japan Spring: not just cherry blossoms, but cosplay time

With springtime in Tokyo comes cherry blossoms both real and fake — but warmer weather also brings out the cosplayers. Link to photos by Alexandra Roberts. (thanks, Chad Arsenault)

Reader comment: miah says,

This isn't cosplay, most of the people there are EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita). Cosplay is all about dressing up as Anime characters and I see no cosplay in those pics. Harajuku is a common area for teens to hang out in clothes they've designed themselves or thrown together from thrift shops. See Fruits for more info: and an introduction to Harajuku.

Reader comment: Mizer says,

Miah's comments are incorrect. Cosplay (kosuperu, in Japanese) is a portmanteaux of the English words "Costume" and "Play." It simply means the act of dressing up in costume, whether it be a costume of your own design, or an imitation of an anime character, rock star, tv celebrity, video game character, etc. True, a large number of cosplayers do choose to dress up as anime characters, but the term is not specifically limited to that one group (except in America, maybe, where cosplay is mainly popular among the anime and convention crowds).

The term "Elegant Goth Lolita," on the other hand, was coined by ex-Malice Mizer singer Mana to describe his clothing line, and the term is now used to describe a particular type of cosplayer. See Wikipedia for more info: Link.

Reader comment: Cherry Cherry agrees:

Yes, some of these are cosplay – the term cosplay refers to costuming of any genre – one is just as easily a Star Trek cosplayer as a Sailor Moon cosplayer. I believe at least a couple of the photos feature those cosplaying members of "Visual Kei" bands, though I'm not familiar enough with the scene to confirm or deny how many of them there actually are.

While most half-assed gaijin insist on designating anything with with a bit of lace on it as "EGL", the term refers only to clothing by the brand "Moi Meme Moite". A better blanket term is simply "Gothic & Lolita", covering both the goth/punk styles, and variety of Lolita sub-styles (indeed, it is a complicated fashion – and I stress fashion, it is /not/ cosplay). The layered and brightly colored girls are not Lolita, but Decora, yet another street fashion style.

Reader comment: Peter Payne says,

We happen to sell a lot of the harder to find magazines at J-List, including Gothic and Lolita Bible (the magazine that started the whole thing), Kera (which has helped the creation of "Punk Lolita," the next version to become popular), and other related items. This link is work safe.