Self-identification in Malaysian cosplay

  • Eriko Yamato RMIT International University, Saigon South Campus, Vietnam
Keywords: Costume play, Ethnicity, Fan conventions, Interviews, Japanese popular culture


To examine cosplay (costume play) as performed by non-Japanese cosplayers, video interviews were conducted at five Japanese popular culture conventions in Malaysia. Analysis of descriptions made by 158 cosplayers reveals cosplay to function as a medium for the process of self-identification. Cosplay enables Malaysians to explore individual rather than collective identities and to experience fluidity and dilemma in self-identification as they translate fictional characters into their physical world. Although ethnicity seems not to prevail in their cosplay, it appears not to have totally vanished.