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Tsurumiryokuchi Expo ’90 Commemorative Park in Osaka is catching on as a weekend hangout for “cosplay” (costume play) fans who like to dress as characters from anime, manga and video games.

In early November, about 60 cosplay fans gathered to take photos in the 120-hectare park in Tsurumi Ward, which hosted the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition and maintains gardens from about 50 countries.

In the Japanese garden, one fan dressed as a ninja from the popular manga “Naruto,” while another dressed as a character from “Attack on Titan.”

A 28-year-old “cosplayer” from nearby Kobe said she had been to the park many times.

“It is so liberating,” she said. “There are many buildings and gardens that make my costume stand out, and I can really get into the character.”

Cosplay fans started appearing in the park on weekends about four years ago, and this apparently spread by word of mouth, attracting more and more fans, the Tsurumi Ward office said.

But the office is starting to receive complaints from other park visitors about “cosplayers occupying the toilets” to put on their makeup in front of the mirrors or “changing their clothes outside.”

To deal with the situation, the park and ward decided in April to establish admission dates for cosplayers and ask them to take a 10-minute orientation session on park manners before using it.

In the orientation session, held once a month, cosplayers are told not to damage any trees or flowers and to avoid wearing costumes that are too revealing. Afterward, they are allowed to change clothes in a designated spot and leave their belongings there for a fee of ¥500.

These actions have apparently helped cosplay fans as well, since they previously had trouble finding places to change clothes and store their luggage, which is often large.

The orientation also gives beginners a chance to get to know the veterans and learn how to dress or apply makeup for certain characters.

Since April, there have been fewer complaints, according to the park.

Takanobu Kanzawa, a 35-year-old assistant professor at Takarazuka University’s art and design department, conducts studies on subcultures and organizes the orientation class.

“I hope that this orientation helps improve manners among cosplayers and many people will recognize cosplay as a new culture,” Kanzawa said.

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