If you passed through Shibuya yesterday evening or night you cannot have failed to notice that it was Halloween. A bustling and manifold place at any time of the year, on October 31st it burst into even more colorful life with a motley bunch of locals (Japanese and foreign) taking to the streets wearing an impressive variety of costumes.
Japan is of course the land of cosplay, so importing Halloween culture makes perfect sense and teenagers in particular seemed to rise to the occasion.
The reliable folk from Kai-You were out and about in the streets of Shibuya snapping this fun gallery of images.
Maid cafes in Akihabara have almost become a cliche of themselves, catering for the curious tourist as much as the genuine enthusiast. But cosplay restaurant subculture apparently still has some tricks up its sleeve.
Take the Iron Maid Cafe — we had to be careful not to write “Iron Maiden Cafe”! — which opens as a temporary pop-up in the Maid Kissa Tougenkyou from November 1st.
Iron Maid Cafe is nothing to do with a certain British heavy metal band or the notorious torture device. Instead it features maids who will iron your shirts for you, a sort of laundry service cum maid cafe.
The menu includes the usual drinks and snacks, plus you can even get measured up for a tailored shirt by a maid.
The pop-up is a promo for Original Stitch, the American online made-to-measure tailor clothing service run in Japan by insprout.
Ahead of the official opening, some lucky people tried out the ironing service at Iron Maid Cafe, though we’re pretty sure that regular patrons will have to remove their shirts first before the ironing can begin.
Having a maid of your choice iron your shirt for you will cost ¥800 (under $8), while getting a measurement from a maid as well as a handwritten message will set you back ¥1,000 (about $10). It seems you can’t sit there and watching the maids do your ironing, though. The shirts are ironed and returned to you in 3-5 days.
The Iron Maid Cafe is open November 1st to November 16th at Tougenkyou.
Halloween is about to be upon us again.
Japan is the land of cosplay so for the locals, dressing up needn’t be restricted to just October 31st. That said, these days there are lots of Halloween parties, zombie events and other such seasonal happenings.
But rather than resorting to the usual suspects at Don Quijote, how can you really stand out this Halloween?
To help you choose, JapanTrendShop is having a Halloween sale right now — offering 10% off any purchase. Just use the code “zombiejapan” to claim your discount.
We then started browsing the JapanTrendShop digital shelves and found heaps of products which, while not released originally as Halloween costumes, nonetheless can be utilized for that purpose if you are so inclined.
The beauty gadgets are of course, meant to help improve your skin and so on. But some of them are unusual-looking, to say the least, so something like the Facewaver Exercise Mask will really give you a special look on Halloween (and perhaps also fight against the effects of aging).
If you want to transform your lower half, the last few years have seen a fun “tattoo tights” street fashion trend in Japan. The cutest we’ve seen so far are these Cat Tights.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of deliberately humorous (and slightly cheeky) clothing items out there, such as this Mousou Mapping Bra T-Shirt. In the similar vein, there’s also the Shiridashi Butt Reveal Underwear, whose name we think says it all.
And this is before you even start looking at fundoshi loincloths for girls, yaeba snaggletooth fake teeth, or even “never-nude” JeanPants underwear (though they might be a bit cold at this time of year).
For those searching for that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu look or something for their head, try the Pop Candy Harajuku Fashion Cosplay Wig on for size.
Our prizes for best Japanese Halloween costume ideas, though, go to these two.
The Kuroko Kabuki Black Stagehand Costume replicates the look of the “invisible” people who change the scenery in Kabuki. The uninitiated might also mistake you for a ninja!
Finally, the Kabutte Kirimi-chan Costume is a heavy-looking blow-up headpiece inspired by a new Sanrio salmon fillet character.
Okay, we don’t know if this qualifies as a “trend”. It may only be one inventive person. But it got us thinking nonetheless: Is this cute or creepy?
The realm of Japanese kawaii has certainly spawned some manifestations that are hard to categorize or understand. And there is already a word for when the “cute” ventures into the grotesque — kimo-kawaii.
But “2.5D masks” — two and a half dimensional paper masks — might need an adjective all of their own.
The series of anime face masks have sprung up recently on Japanese social media, originating from a tumblr account that documents the creators adventures around Japan wearing the anime character face decorations.
The designer also includes details on how they are made — in funky animated gifs, natch — and downloadable files for those who want to make their own masks. Just don’t choose the mask model that’s called “Lolita”. (The other three choices are “Timidity”, “Cheerful” and “Grace”.)
The 2.5D Mask tumblr account began in September and showcases the female creator and her masks as she goes to various locations around Japan (typically incongruous ones). The anonymous designer’s Twitter account goes back further, though, at least to July, so this project has been developing over the summer.
Time will tell if this kicks off beyond a minor subculture into a real meme. People are encouraged to download, print and make their own 2.5D masks, and then share them online using the hashtag #2_5dmask. Could this start a revolution?
Japan has always had a thing for papercraft and 2.5D Mask says making the mask only requires a regular household printer and some basic tools. It also taps into the love for dressing up (cosplay) and is like a paper kigurumi costume, only because it’s just a mask, it kind of looks a bit spooky. It’s like the girl’s body has been taken over by an anime invader.
Perfect for Halloween?
Batman no longer lives in Gotham. He’s fighting crime in Japan!
Japanese social media has been abuzz with some amazing images of Batman driving in his Batpod along the highways in the Tokyo area.
Okay, it’s not quite as good as it sounds. This “Batman” was spotted by motorists on the roads of Chiba, the prefecture next to Tokyo.
Some images of “Chi-battoman” (Chibatman), as he’s been dubbed, was snapped on Sunday afternoon and the images went viral on Twitter.
Other pictures soon followed.
All right, it’s not exactly Christopher Nolan but you’d still be impressed if you saw this Caped Crusader drive past you on the expressway.
We’d not sure how legal this Batpod is. At least at one point the driver attracted the attention of the police.
Of course, cosplay (costume play) on the mean streets of Japan is nothing new.
And if you want to drive around the city like you’re playing Mario Kart for real, you should check out Akiba Cart in Akihabara. It rents out go-karts that can be driven legally on regular roads. Not surprisingly, it attracts plenty of fun video game cosplay.
Japanese people like to dress up. Various commentators like to point to social phenomenon like cosplay (literally, “costume play”) as examples of how people seek escape in role-playing and dressing-up. This can be seen in all walks of life, from the sex industry to the unfortunate folk roped into dressing up as mascots at sports games, malls and almost any major public event across the land.
And so when we saw the Animal Face Pack, we weren’t in the least bit surprised. A face pack that turns you into a tiger? Why of course!
These are not just costume pieces and you won’t find them in Don Quijote. They are genuine face packs and we don’t wish to lessen their quality by drawing an analogy to cosplay, though it is tempting to ponder how much influence cosplay has on the Japanese cosmetics industry..
The Animal Face Pack has been created by Isshin Do Honpo, who previously brought the world the Kabuki Face Pack, the mask that improves your skin and turns you into a performer on the traditional Japanese stage.
The Animal Face Pack is similar, a brilliant and visually-arrested concept that takes a face pack, makes it more interesting and in the process turns you into an animal. The creatures in question here are a panda and tiger (it’s a set of two). But this hasn’t been done by halves, the makers have gone to Ueno Zoo, Japan’s most famous zoological garden, and found two popular residents to base their face packs on.
The results then are replicas of the faces of actual Ueno Zoo animals, Sumatran tiger Kunde and giant pandas Ri Ri and Shin Shin. But again, it’s not just a gimmick — the face packs contain water, glycerine, BG hyaluronan, hydrolysis collagen, water-soluble collagen, and vitamin C — and the intention is sincere, since part of sales are being donated to the animals’ upkeep at Ueno and also to protecting pandas and tigers in the wild.
Charity. Cosplay. And cosmetics. You can’t argue with that combination!
Cosplayers from all over the globe will gather in the Aichi city in central Japan known more for its automotive industry than its contributions to subcultures, dressed as beloved characters from anime, manga and video games.
Participants are expected from twenty countries, including Germany, Spain, America, China, Indonesia and Brazil, competing to see who is the champion cosplayer.
One team of two cosplayers will represent each country, and each cosplayer brings three costumes — one for the parade, one for the championship, and one for media appearances.
It is also interesting to check out the detailed rules and regulations. For example: “Dojinshi and unique characters from live actor movies based on anime or manga are not permitted. (i.e. Dragon Ball Evolution etc.)”
Each day brings different red carpet events and stage shows, where the cosplayers will parade and show off their efforts. The results will be livestreamed via Nico Nico Douga and tickets start from as little as 700 yen.
The previous summit — where the grand champion was Japanese — drew around 18,000 spectators, and the event is organized by TV Aichi and other local organizations, with the support of several Japanese central government ministries.
Please note that images are official photos from the 2012 summit.
Kawasaki Halloween 2012 happened yesterday (Sunday, October 28), the annual Halloween-themed cosplay extravaganza in the Kanagawa city just outside Tokyo.
With some 3,500 people appearing in costume and another 10,000 regular spectators, this is the biggest event of its kind in Japan, featuring zombies, anime characters and a host of other ghoulish personalities.
The long-established seasonal party (this is the sixteenth one) happens in front of Kawasaki Station and this year also introduced a new event, a flash mob to the music of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Flash mobs are actually becoming quite popular in Tokyo now. There are currently regular flash mobs dance events happening every weekend in Ikebukuro until the end of November.