Cosplay — the art of dressing up as characters from anime, manga, video games, TV shows, or any other media — has become a global phenomenon over the years.

Once dressed in their cosplay, cosplayers may attend conventions, take photos, enter competitions, perform theatrical routines or simply gather with other cosplayers while walking down the street.

World Cosplay Summit 2019 – Spain Team

Being a cosplayer requires money, time, and skill, and many cosplayers spend hours designing and creating their costumes. Some will buy a premade cosplay outfit online. This needs accurate research about the seller’s credibility as well as the quality of the costume they’re selling. 

Those making a cosplay from scratch will most likely spend anywhere from hours to months (or even years) researching, drafting, and sewing the actual costume and creating the props.

Why has Cosplay become so popular? 
One of the reasons why Cosplay is so popular is that the cosplayers themself are looking for a means to escape from everyday life. Dressing up as anime, manga, or video games characters enables them to express themselves. 

Providing Settings for a Community Formed by People Who Share the Same Interests

World Cosplay Summit 2019 - Meiji Mura
World Cosplay Summit 2019 – Meiji Mura Cosplay

From the United States to Europe and Asia, cosplay conventions and events are widely held worldwide. 

The World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is one of the biggest cosplay events in Japan. It is actually one of the biggest in the world. Every year the best cosplayers from more than 40 countries and regions gather in Nagoya to compete for the best cosplay in the world. 

During this 9-day event, not only Nagoya but also Aichi Prefecture and other regions of Japan such as Mie and Tokyo become places where creativity and art converge to praise Japanese anime, manga, and video games culture.

2021: We Can Start Again!! The First Ever Hybrid Edition of WCS

Although last year (2020) took place entirely online, this year allows for some physical events to take place as well. It goes without saying that everyone will adhere to measurements against the spread of COVID-19.

Located in the heart of Nagoya, you will find the main venue of the WCS: Oasis 21. It has become a famous photo spot for cosplayers from all over the world and looks stunning, both day and night (with illumination!). This year, photo shootings and stage events will take place right here.

Specialties of Nagoya food tour banner
Near Oasis 21 you can find the starting point of this amazingly delicious food tour!

The World Cosplay Championship will take place online. During this competition, the best cosplay performance team in the world in that year is decided. Previously, the finalists would go through regional and national preliminary rounds before participating in the actual finals in Nagoya to represent their country.

Just like last year, you can join the entire event from anywhere in the world by watching the live stream. Join from the comfort of your home on YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, Niconico, or Lopico. 

Don’t miss a single thing about the World Cosplay Summit 2021.
Nagoya is not boring will announce further updates and information on Instagram and Facebook. Are you eager to see what the WCS will be like this year? Check out the trailer below:

More Than 17 Years of Creating Unforgettable Moments and Creating Friendships Beyond Borders

World Cosplay Summit 2003 via World Cosplay Summit (WCS) YouTube channel

The first World Cosplay Summit was held in October 2003. It was a small event where several cosplayers from different countries (Germany, France, and Italy) were invited. This first event consisted of a talk and photo session and several other small events. 

With the World Expo of 2005 also held in Aichi Prefecture, the World Cosplay Summit changed its course and became what it is today. Stepping from being a mere costume event to becoming an international cosplay contest, with regional preliminaries in each respective country and a final championship held in Nagoya.

In 2005, the World Cosplay Summit also included its first cosplay parade through the famous commercial district of Osu (Nagoya).

Street Food Walking Tour of Osu tour banner
Besides admiring the cosplay masterpieces, you can indulge in traditional Japanese street food on this tour!

Because the World Cosplay Summit coincided with the World Expo in Aichi that year, the Japan Exhibition Association sponsored the event.

With the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) that became the official sponsors of the event in 2006, the event grew even bigger.

Every year the contest has gained more popularity. It went from 12 countries in 2008 to 20 countries in 2012 competing in the finals. That same year the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) also became an official sponsor of the event. 

In 2014, around 200,000 spectators attended the WCS, and in 2016, the number of competitors increased to 30 countries.  2017 was the year Nagoya was officially declared “The headquarters of cosplay.”

New Venues and Regulations During the WCS 2019

The World Cosplay Summit 2019 had new additions such as a new venue: World Cosplay Summit Tokyo, which hosted the opening ceremony.

This new venue witnessed qualifiers from 40 different countries and regions taking part in a series of shows and parades as well as the first preliminary round before heading to Nagoya to compete for the World Cosplay Championship title.

In the 2018 edition of the WCS, there were a total of 36 countries and regions. New countries joining included Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and South Africa. The 2019 edition continued growing with the participation of even more countries and regions like Austria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Once in Nagoya, the representatives of each country and region participated in different events such as Meiji Mura Cosplay, Party, and Photo Session at the Wedding Hall Bleu Leman, Central Park Underground Parade, and Osu Parade.

World Cosplay Summit 2019 – Japan team during the Party and Photo Session at the Wedding Hall Bleu Leman

The eighth day of the event comprised of the semifinals and the new cosplay contest called One Piece Grand Prix, based on the popular manga/anime “One Piece.”

World Cosplay Summit 2019 -_During the One Piece Grand Prix

And then the last day the Championship was held. This day was, without doubt, the culmination of a hard-fought 9 days competition, where the high-skilled cosplayers competed for first place. 

The Australian Team (@wcsaustralia) took first place with an amazing performance from the fantasy-themed video game “Monster Hunter World.”

Australia Team winners of the World Cosplay Summit 2019

The second and third places went to the USA Team (@worldcosplaysummitusa) performing the action game “Bloodborne,” and France Team (@wcsfrance) performing the Wii U best-selling video game “Hyrule Warriors.”

USA Team receiving the 2nd Place of the World Cosplay Summit 2019
France Team receiving the 3rd Place of the World Cosplay Summit 2019

The special awards went to: China Team winning the AirAsia Award performing the action-adventure video game “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.” Chile Team (@worldcosplaysummitCL) won the Futaba Award performing the role-playing video game “Chrono Trigger,” the USA Team won the Bioré Award, and Germany Team (@wcsgermany) claimed the Brother Award performing the animation film “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.”

World Cosplay Summit 2019 with all teams

A New Format: The Online World Cosplay Summit 2020

The World Cosplay Summit was supposed to start in Nagoya, on July 25 and continue until August 2, 2020. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the event’s organizers have announced that they would cancel the World Cosplay Summit for that year. They even published an official statement of the cancellation online.

However, while the physical event was canceled, the organizers announced an online event happening instead, a so-called “Stay Home Edition.” It took place on August 1st and 2nd, 2020, and was streamed worldwide.

This post has last been updated in July 2021
Although we strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please note that changes may occur nonetheless. Therefore, we recommend you confirm any relevant information such as event cancelations or changes, opening hours, or possible restrictions using a direct source. Please keep in mind that these sources might be in Japanese only.


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Web and Graphic designer living in Aichi Prefecture for more than 10 years. Trying to do the things that she loves and living the life with passion. She is also a travel-food lover and dance lover: her great passion.

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