The term CosPlay was created by a Japanese journalist, Nobuyuki Takahashi (信幸橋）while attending the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. Nobuyuki used this term to describe the grand costumes worn by fans in the magazine My Anime. Takahashi did not want to use the english term masquerade, as when translated into Japanese, the term would express an idea of aristocratic costumer.
2. Visual Kei:
Visual Kei was created by musicians, and based on a musical subculture (care-free, non-conforming). This style originated from J Rock which emerged in the 80’s, introduced by bands like X-Japan and Color. Looks can range from glam rock to punk/goth. This style did not gain momentum until the mid 1990’s. Usually this style includes wild haircuts and looks with a lot of makeup (both women and men). Accessories include: leg warmers, goggles, studded bracelets, etc. This style is usually found near the Harajuko (原寿子) district.
3. Sweet Lolita (甘ロリ）
One of the most famous Lolita styles, sweet Lolita is a more child-like fashion style. There is a heavy emphasis on looking cute and “girly”. Outfits usually include dresses that are often pastel colored with lots of ruffles, bows, and prints. Lolita fashion originated in the 70’s but did not expand until the 90’s with help from bands such as Princess Princess. This fashion style is often associated with feminism as young Japanese women in the 1970’s wished to distance themselves from societal expectations of school, work, and marriage, deciding to spend more time on something that made them happy, instead of spending time searching for a husband.
The Rockabilly fashion population is often older men and women who enjoy the 50’s “Grease” look. Men usually wear all black leather and the pompadour hairstyle. Women often wear polka dot dresses and ribbons in their hair. Imitation of the American Rockabilly culture became mainstream as Japanese music labels aimed to make their rock cover bands more profitable. Created in the 70’s and still thriving is the Tokyo Rockabilly Club. On Sundays this group re-enacts scenes from Grease at Yoyogi Park.
5. Mori Kei:
Mori Kei is a street style created in 2006 which translates to forest girl. This style is known for combining natural colors, layering, handmade items, and lace, intended to give the appearance of a woman living out in the woods. Early wearers of this fashion used thrifted and handmade pieces to create their look, however Mori Kei retailers now exist online. Elements of this style includes:cozy layers, soft fabrics that drape well, earthy and forest-like colors, and accessories (scarves, hats, gloves, and sturdy boots, etc). This style has become popular over the years.