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Japan: Harajuku Cosplay

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Harajuku Cosplay | Japan | Asia

[Visited: December 2009]

It had been for many years that I heard I should go to Harajuku, but for several reasons, I ended up not going to Tokyo for a long time. When I finally did, and realized I would be there on Sunday, it was obvious I would go to see the famous cosplay girls. Cosplay is a contraction of the words costume and play, and it basically means dressing up like a cartoon, music, movie, or other character. Even before reaching my destination, I saw several girls in bizarre clothes on the subway, which got me into the mood for Harajuku even more. After crossing two streets, I arrived at Jingu Bridge, under which the Yamanote Line runs. This is also the way to enter Yoyogi Park. From the overpass, I had a good view on the activities below.

Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese goth girls parading on Jingu Bridge in Harajuku

For a while, I stayed right here on this strategic spot: I could see many people flocking to the bridge - not just girls in extreme costumes, but also many ordinary people about to become their audience. I followed suit, and soon found myself walking in between teenage girls dressed up with very heavy make-up, with blonde hair, with long coloured nails, with costumes making them look like angels, fairy-tale princesses, but also Gothic Lolitas, girls with masks, dressed up like manga (Japanese cartoon) or video game characters that I could not recognize, and much more. They proudly posed for the many onlookers like me, and patiently waited for their pictures to be taken.

Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Dressed up in black and with typical hairdo: Japanese rockabillies in Yoyogi Park

After looking at the amazing creations on Jingu Bridge, I ventured into Yoyogi Park, where I found a group of rockabillies dressed up in black leather and with daring hairdos, lingering at the entrance of the park, where later on they would turn up the music and put on a performance. Further inside the park, the action seemed over - people having a pic-nic or playing a game on this sunny Sunday afternoon. Coming back to Jingu Bridge, even more girls had arrived to show off, and I decided to stay longer. Yes, there were a few men dressing up in exotic clothes, but they were few and by far outnumbered by girls. With their coloured hair and lenses, they sometimes looked very Western and very little Japanese. The Harajuku girls had not disappointed me - and I decided to come back again next time I am in Tokyo on a Sunday.

Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Hat and mask concealing the true identity of this Japanese man - or woman?
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese girl dressed up for the occasion
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese guy trying to capture attention
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese girl dressed up in pink posing on Jingu Bridge
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese cosplay girl posing on Jingu Bridge
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Japanese cosplay girl dressed up in blue and white, with blonde hairs
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Yellow-green costume
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Rockabilly with typical hairdo
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Dressed up like a sweet character
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Dressed in black: goth girls posing on Jingu Bridge
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Girls dressed in black and pink at a pedestrian crossing near Jingu Bridge
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Rockabilly in mirror at the entrance of Yoyogi park
Picture of Harajuku Cosplay (Japan): Jingu Bridge is the epicentre of cosplay in the Harajuku area

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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