Last weekend I witnessed a truly Asian phenomenon in the form of a Cosplay event in Hsinchu City. If you’re not aware of this, it’s a hobby that attracts anime (animation/cartoon) and manga (comic book) fans across Asia, especially in Tokyo’s Shibuya district where you’ll see strangely-dressed people – usually teens – nonchalantly hanging out in costume. In this case, it was a competition attended mostly by high school/college-aged teens.
Cosplay is short for “costume play,” and people who take part in it take some pride in usually making their costumes. In Asia, this also means that girls will tend to wear different colored wigs, expand their eyelids (through a somewhat painful-looking makeup procedure), wear very white makeup, and perhaps wear colored contact lenses.
I have to say that through this blog, I’ve tried to stay as objective as possible. I try to look at my subjects and not judge, and I won’t do that here. However, this event sort of creeped me out, for some reason. I’m not sure if it was the unfamiliarity with the subjects or the giant-eye contact lenses, but I saw it all as a little strange.
Oh, and two other Taiwan photographers have covered these events on their blogs. Check out the excellent images of Craig Ferguson and Neil Wade. The latter photographer’s entry has some insight on to how he felt a little… creepy… taking photos at an event in Taipei. Even in spite of these personal complaints, it was still a good experience.