National

Japan's cosplay culture proving a hit in typically conservative India

Kyodo

Cosplay culture is gaining popularity in conservative India, where the Japanese hobby has drawn comparisons with a Hindu festival tradition.

Comic Con India, a cosplay and pop culture event, has been held since 2011 in major cities and proven to be a hit, especially among the country’s wealthy class.

When going to cosplay events, Kowkab Naim, 30, dons a costume like one in the popular Japanese comic book series “Bleach,” the tale of a high school student possessed by death who fights against evil spirits with his friends.

Naim, a business owner in New Delhi who became interested in anime around five years ago, said cosplay is similar to the Indian tradition of dressing up like the Hindu god Shiva during religious festivals.

Cosplay has begun attracting a growing number of women in India, despite — or possibly because of — the conservative nature of Indian society.

Saumya Singh, a 27-year-old graduate student, enjoys transforming herself into Naruto, the eponymous hero of the popular Japanese manga.

“Indian women are asked to be docile, but we can act boldly when wearing costumes,” she said.

India is a particularly convenient place to join in the fantasy fun because of there are so many highly skilled tailors throughout the country who can produce complicated attire at low cost.

Dai Nippon Printing Co., which has a base near New Delhi, teamed up with Fantasista Inc., a computer graphics studio based in Niigata Prefecture, to open a website for anime and manga fans. It also organized a cosplay event in Bengaluru in March in partnership with the Japanese Consulate in the city.

Fantasista President Hiroki Kurihara says he wants to launch a digital comic book series in which Japanese artists depict the various Hindu gods.