"Cosplay": Imaginative self and performing identity

Osmud Rahman, Wing Sun Liu, Brittany Hei Man Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the emerging cosplay subculture in Hong Kong. A quasi-ethnographic approach including participation, observation, photography, and in-depth interviews was employed to understand the underlying motives and experiences of those engaged in cosplay activities. Authenticity, affective attachment, the extended self, and the negotiation of boundaries are also discussed in this article. From this study, it is evident that cosplay can give participants pleasurable experiences, meaningful memories, self-gratification, and personal fulfillment. Through this participatory activity, cosplayers can momentarily escape from reality and enter into their imaginative world. It is a form of role/identity-transformation from an "ordinary person" to a "super hero," from a "game player" to a "performer, " and from "adulthood" to "childhood.".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-341
Number of pages25
JournalFashion Theory - Journal of Dress Body and Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • Authenticity
  • Cosplay
  • Ethnography
  • Fantasy
  • Identity
  • Imaginative self
  • Subculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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