Cosplay in Hsinchu

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.





Filed under taiwan2010

7 responses to “Cosplay in Hsinchu

  1. It is quite interesting experiencing something different for the first time. I find it odd as well that people would go so far as to dress in costume, but then again, I look at my own life and see the oddities.

    I am glad you were able to capture these photos despite your creeped out feelings. Thanks again, for bringing Taiwan a little bit closer.

    • It was a little strange, I’d have to say. I think this has always been one part of Asian culture that to me reinforces some odd/negative stereotypes about women especially – and I had to just observe it as an outsider. I was glad I did, but it wasn’t without mixed feelings.

  2. I can’t get over how *into it* they get over there. Nothing like that here in South China… wish I’d ben there!

    • I’d like to see it in Taipei, actually… there’s a big convention at National Taiwan University that draws many more people than this “little” event did. Of course, more than that, I’d like to see it happening more randomly in Tokyo as well.

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  4. Cjz

    Have you not seen an american cosplay event? Maybe I’ve been to one too many comic-cons

    • Honestly, can’t say I have. I wanted to make it a point to see a cosplay event in Taiwan, and was happy I did – though not understanding ANY of this was a bad thing.

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