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New Cosplay Copyright Law In Japan Clarified By Government

The Japanese government has stepped forward to explain the new cosplay copyright law.
Shinji Inoue, minister in charge of Cool Japan strategy, with cosplayer Enako in December 2020. (Photo Courtesy Kyodo News)
Shinji Inoue, minister in charge of Cool Japan strategy, with cosplayer Enako in December 2020. (Photo Courtesy Kyodo News)

Last week, the entire cosplay community was in a frenzy after hearing that Japan was planning on imposing copyright laws on cosplayers. Now, the Japanese government has stepped forward to address concerns from cosplayers about the new proposed law.

According to Kyodo News and The Japan Times, the government does not want to impose strict copyright laws on everyday cosplayers. Shinji Inoue, the minister who oversees the strategy called Cool Japan to promote creative-based industries in Japan and overseas, explained his thoughts on the new law.

"To further promote cosplay culture, it is important to have an environment in which people can feel safe and enjoy themselves," Inoue had explained to the Japan Times.

The copyright law would charge cosplayers to pay a copyright fee if they are being paid to wear a costume of a character, such as making an appearance at an event. The government has expressed that they are not planning on putting stricter regulations on the law because they fear that the law would drive people away from cosplay. The law instead would contain specific examples for when a cosplayer would need to pay a copyright fee (i.e.: being paid to appear as a character for an event or on television).

Shinji Inoue, minister in charge of Cool Japan strategy, with cosplayer Enako in December 2020. (Photo Courtesy Kyodo News)
Cosplayers at Anime Festival Asia 2019 in Singapore.

Japanese cosplayer Enako, who had spoken about the law on her Twitter over a week ago, has been appointed the government's Cool Japan ambassador to work with lawmakers on the new copyright proposal. According to the Japan Times, the government has also been listening to requests by both creators and cosplayers.

Cosplay is a major part of Japanese culture, as it has conventions, events, and even dedicated stores specifically for cosplay in Tokyo. With many cosplayers in Japan receiving international fame and essentially becoming actors and models within the industry, it is no wonder that Japan wants to have a framework for creators and cosplayers.

The government plans to review the commercial copyright laws regarding fair use by the end of Japan's fiscal year in March. Hopefully by then cosplayers will understand the full extent of the new copyright regulations and will allow cosplayers to continue dressing up as characters they love.

About the Author

Kelsey Endter avatar

Kelsey Endter

Editor-in-chief

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.

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