This December, the Tokyo Comic-Con kicks off. The event should be similar to its San Diego counterpart, attracting celebrity guests and hordes of cosplayers. However, at the Tokyo event, there’s a significant difference: Men cannot cosplay in women’s clothing.
Update - October 27 5:00am: The Tokyo Comic-Con has reversed its ban on male cosplayers dressing as female characters.
As Anime News Network points out, the official site clearly states such under the “regarding cosplay outfits” section, writing that is “prohibited” for men to wear female clothing (男性による女装は禁止です). The ban uses the Japanese word “jyosou” (女装), a word which is defined as “wearing female clothing” and which has the explicit nuance of referring to men wearing women’s clothing.
Japan has a long history of men dressing as women. Heck, kabuki theater does not have actresses and all the women are played by men...wearing female clothing. But as ANN explains, this sort of ban at otaku events is relatively common in Japan, because organizers worry about large numbers of men dressed as women showing up.
The Tokyo Comic-Con will feature appearances by Jeremy Renner, Matthew Lewis, and Stan Lee. As of right now, it will not feature male crossplay.
Update - October 27 5:00am cont’d: On the Tokyo Comic-Con’s official Facebook page, it states: “As a result of a committee conference, we’ve moved forward with removing the ban on (men) dressing as women (characters).” The statement added that to accompany this decision there will be issuing gender-specific color-coordinated cosplay registration badges that must be checked for entering the changing area and the restrooms. Cosplayers are asked to carry these registration cards with them at all times. [h/t @monasumi, Chiaki, and Anime Herald]
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