Fashioning the Embodied Liminal/Liminoid Self : An Examination of the Dualities of Cosplay Phenomenon in East Asia

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-92
Number of pages28
Journal / PublicationAsia Pacific Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


This paper will examine reasons for the rapidly developing cosplay phenomenon in East Asia by focusing on the cosplayer’s experience of the ritualized, embodied performance aspects of this contemporary play activity and its use or creation of liminal spaces and liminality to facilitate and accommodate it. Also, the paper will suggest that cosplay is a manifestation of the participatory need to fashion and inhabit new personal and social territories through the use of the fashioned body, aided by crafted artifacts, and undertaken in bounded play spaces. These practices enable the cosplayer to inhabit and occupy liminal zones, thereby transcending the pressures of their ordinary, everyday existence. This form of individual sense-making and collective agency is based on lived experience and situated practice, where the human body represents multiple discursive possibilities. This article intends to shed light on the motivations behind this type of spectacular dressing up or fashioned practice by offering an empirically based explanation of why given communities of practice spend their time and money on these sartorial behaviors. This article further hopes to advance knowledge about the reasons for dressing up in general, and for cosplay in particular.

Research Area(s)

  • Cosplay, liminality, dressing up, costume play, subcultures, performance