Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

The lines between Japanese cosplay and adult videos are becoming increasingly blurred. Porno actresses are doing cosplay. Cosplayers are doing blue movies. Japanese adult video studios churn out cosplay themed flicks.

Everybody's dressing up and taking off their clothes! But the lines weren't always blurred. Ask Ran Asakawa.

This article contains some NSFW imagery.

Now in her early 30s, Asakawa exploded on the scene at the turn of the century. The internet as we now know it was still in its infancy. There was no Kotaku, and the majority of gamers still read paper magazines. Now famous cosplayers like Ushijima Ii Niku had not started suiting up. It wasn't the dark ages, but the dawn of time.

Cosplay had yet to catch on like it has now. The word "cosplay" was familiar in Japan, but it meant different things to different people. The word's original meaning was similar to its current one, referring to fans that dress up like their favorite game or anime character. In the West, it wasn't well-known as late as 2003 when I wrote this short Wired Magazine article on cosplay.

During the 1990s, many Japanese prostitution establishments as well as love hotels began offering "cosplay". The term began to carry a slightly sexual connotation. Against this backdrop, Ran Asakawa began appearing in racy cosplay pics, dressed as Mai Shiranui from King of Fighters and Lulu from Final Fantasy X. Now-defunct website B-L-T published the photos, which were well head of their time.

The images do get graphic. Yet, the costumes are high quality. The composition and backgrounds are artfully done. Online, you can find well-done, moody cosplay photos. A decade ago, you couldn't really.

And if you've been online in the past years, looking at cosplay photos, you've probably come across Asakawa's somewhat iconic Mai Shiranui.

Asakawa retired from adult videos in 2004, saying before she hung up her heels that she was studying and not planning to make films forever.

Before she called it a day, she earned her place in the Guinness Book of World Records by appearing in 212 dirty movies in a single year. More than "just" that, she was a precursor for the next decade of Japanese cosplay—a percursor for now.


Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay

Thank this Japanese Porn Star for Edgy Cosplay