Taiwan has formally joined the World Cosplay Summit (WCS) this year, despite having hosted the event twice, with Taiwanese winners having the chance to vie for a global award in Tokyo in August.
Cosplay is a combined term for “costume play,” and has become a global craze in which people dress up as a character out of a comic book, manga, video game or anime, and are known as “cosers.”
Taiwan Cosplay Promotion Association director-general Chen Hung-ming (陳宏名) said the Japanese organizers waived the third year of review for Taiwan — after the nation’s two years as an observer member — fast-tracking its entry to the 20-strong club, Chen said.
To qualify, Chen said, Taiwan had held national contests, with the results assessed by experts as being at an international level, with performance criteria based on the resemblance of cosers to their original comic character in terms of overall looks and performance content.
The summit is an international event that was established in 2003 by TV Aichi, which wanted to promote Japanese pop culture through global exchanges. In 2012, the summit was formally incorporated as WCS Inc.
Mighty Media vice general manager Chin Chi-hua (金啟華) said the nation’s competitions are to take place on May 11 in Hsinchu County, possibly with a series of events — such as an outdoor anime carnival or an international cosers’ exchange — running alongside the competitions.
Applications to the contests closed on Thursday.
According to the Japanese World Cosplay Platform’s newest rankings table released on Sunday last week, four cosers in the top 10 were from Taiwan, further backing the nation’s claims to be an official member.
While No. 1 is Reika from Japan, second, fourth, seventh and eighth-placed Ninagawa Mika (八荒曜), Mon Meng (Mon 夢), Akatsuki Tsukasa (紅月司) and Neneko (肉感少女) respectively are from Taiwan — far outstripping the number of Japanese in the top 10.
When asked about Taiwan becoming an official member of the WCS, Tsukasa, who has been a judging panel member in international cosplay competitions, said she was very happy.
“It is rare for us to be able to share our experiences with foreigners who enjoy our hobbies. Such an event creates the feeling that we have no distance between us, no matter the size of the world, or what language we speak,” she said.
Editor-in-chief of magazine Dream & Cosplay, Tang Wei-chun (唐維駿), said that Taiwan’s qualification was heartening.
“This is great affirmation of Taiwanese cosers,” he said, adding that the cosplay phenomenon was first picked up in Taiwan by college and high-school students, but is now finding a broader following with children in elementary school.
“Children with parents who are cosers are bound to get hooked,” Tang added.