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Japan's New Copyright Law Proposal May Bring Changes For Cosplay

Japanese cosplayers like Enako may be in for a rude awakening with their proposed copyright laws.

Enako Cosplay
Photo Courtesy Enako Cosplay

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.

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.

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.

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About the Author
Kelsey Endter avatar

Kelsey Endter


Kelsey started her cosplay adventure at a small convention outside Sacramento in 2011. Since then, she has been featured on major websites such as IMDb and Variety Magazine, and worked with companies like Besame Cosmetics featuring Disney & Marvel makeup products. Her passion for cosplay and love of the community brought her to join Cosplay Central as Editor-in-Chief in 2020. In her spare time she’s usually seen playing with her dog and scouting the next best photoshoot location for her cosplays.