Cosplay has become mainstream in part to the help of Japanese cosplayers as the name "cosplay" was originally establed in Japan. In the 80s and 90s, the term cosplay became so big in Japan that it spread throughout the rest of the world and has now become a huge industry today.
But that all may change in Japan.
According to other major news outlets such as Kotaku, the Japanese government is weighing on amending new copyright laws so creators (such as large gaming companies, television production teams, etc.) can request fees from professional cosplayers in order for them to cosplay as their characters. Japanese translater and writer Matt Alt first pointed out the news on Twitter, which has been getting mixed responses.
Japanese gov't weighs amending copyright law so creators can request fees from professional cosplayers. (And it's a real issue: the most successful can make upwards of USD$500K/year.) I believe this is the first attempt on the part of a national government to address cosplay? https://t.co/G9m0FJTmB3— Matt Alt (@Matt_Alt) January 24, 2021
Enako, one of the most popular cosplayers in Japan, spoke about the proposed law on her Twitter. She wrote that she always gets permission from major companies to wear a cosplay based on their cosplays.
She also explained that whenever she goes on television or appears at commercial public events, she appears in original cosplays so that she doesn't have to worry about cosplaying copyrighted materials.
ちなみに、何度かお伝えさせて頂いてはおりますが…— えなこ (@enako_cos) January 24, 2021
Enako is a Cool Japan ambassador and makes an average of $90,000 a month with her cosplays. That would be over a million dollars per year, which is certainly a large amount of money for a single cosplayer.
She did continue also reply to her original Tweet by saying she hasn't been told about the proposed law personally, but that she hopes it will not be regulated for non-profit cosplayers.
If the proposed law passes, this could certainly be a change for many cosplayers in the industry. Who knows if other countries will follow Japan if it does get passed and what it'll mean for professional cosplayers in the future.
As of February 1st, the Japanese government has now stepped forward to explain more of the law in detail.