2024 The World Cosplay Summit is Back in Session!

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 attend conventions to take photos, enter competitions, or perform theatrical routines. The World Cosplay Summit is a perfect occasion to do all of this at the same time. It’s the world’s biggest cosplay event, and it celebrates its 21st anniversary this year in Nagoya!

WCS 20219 Spain Team
World Cosplay Summit 2019 – Team Spain

The Art and Dedication Behind Cosplay

Being a cosplayer requires money, time, and skills. Many cosplayers spend hours designing and creating their costumes, while some buy premade cosplay outfits online. However, the latter requires accurate research into the seller’s credibility and the quality of the costume they’re selling.

Those making their own cosplay outfits from scratch may spend anywhere from hours to months (or even years) researching, drafting, sewing the actual costume, and creating the props.

One reason cosplay is so popular is that cosplayers are looking for a means to escape from everyday life. Dressing up as anime, manga, or video game characters enables them to express themselves more freely.

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 held worldwide.

The World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is one of Japan’s biggest cosplay events and is actually the world’s largest cosplay festival. For this reason, every year the best cosplayers from more than 40 countries gather in Nagoya to compete for the title of “Best Cosplay Performance Team in the World”.

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

Over 20 Years of History: The Journey of World Cosplay Summit

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

The World Cosplay Summit began in October 2003 as a small event with five cosplayers from Germany, France, and Italy, featuring a panel discussion, photo session, and mixer event with Japanese cosplayers.

In 2004, the USA joined, and eight cosplayers participated in the first Nagoya event, which included a mixer and the first cosplay parade in Osu with around 100 participants.

In 2005, with the World Expo in Aichi Prefecture, the Summit evolved into an international event, thanks to sponsorship from the Japan Exhibition Association. That year saw the first World Cosplay Championship, with 40 participants from seven countries, and Italy winning the inaugural title.

Cosplayers from all across the world join the WCS

Support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) in 2006 helped the Summit grow. The championship moved to Oasis 21 that year.

Preliminary rounds were introduced in 2007, with 12 countries participating. By 2012, 20 countries competed, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) became a sponsor.

In 2014, 200,000 spectators attended, and by 2016, competitors from 30 countries participated. In 2017, Nagoya was officially declared “The Headquarters of Cosplay.”

The 2018 Summit included 36 countries and regions, with new participants from Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and South Africa. The 2019 edition expanded further with Austria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Trinidad and Tobago joining.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the WCS online in 2020, with no championship but live streams connecting the community. A hybrid event was held in 2021, with small local events and an online competition.

From 2023, the World Cosplay Summit returned to a full in-person schedule, continuing to be as exciting as ever!

Celebrating Cosplay: A Look at the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya

The WCS 2024 Starts With a Red Carpet Ceremony

The opening day of the World Cosplay Summit begins with a Red Carpet Ceremony at Oasis 21, the main location of the event.

Cosplayers in front of the iconic Oasis 21

From 19:00 on Friday, August 2nd, representative players from each country and region who will participate in the “World Cosplay Championship Stage Division,” along with past representatives (WCS Alumni), will walk the red carpet as an opening act. They will be accompanied by live music performed by more than 100 students from the Department of Art Studies, Faculty of Arts, Nagoya University of the Arts.

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

The Ultimate Cosplay Challenge: WCS 2024 Edition

The main event of the WCS is the Championship, where the best teams from around the world compete to win the title! This year, the Championship Stage Division is back on a real live stage. During this yearly competition, the Best Cosplay Performance Team in the World is decided. The finalists had to go through regional and national preliminary rounds before participating in the actual finals at Nagoya’s Aichi Arts Center to represent their country.

The WCS stage championship in 2019

In 2024, the Championship – Stage Division will be held on Saturday, August 3rd from 16:00 to 20:30. Tickets to see the event are on sale on the official website, along with a complete list of this year’s national Cosplay representatives.

Just like in the previous two years, 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, Twitch, Niconico, Lopico, or Facebook Live. 

Join the Colorful Cosplay Parade in the Shopping Streets of Osu

Another highlight of the WCS 2024 is the Osu Cosplay Parade, held on Sunday, August 4th, from 11:00 to around 13:15 in the Osu Shopping Streets, starting with the backdrop of the Osu Kannon Temple.

Osu Cosplay Parade in 2019, image via World Cosplay Summit 2022

Finalists from all 38 countries, as well as WCS alumni, will participate in this parade, and anyone is welcome to take pictures and join in the fun!

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

Don’t Miss a Thing About the World Cosplay Summit 2024

Nagoya is not boring will announce further updates and information on Instagram and Facebook.

Are you also eager to see what the World Cosplay Summit will be like this year? Check out the trailer below:

World Cosplay Summit (ワールドコスプレ)
Date: 2nd to 4th of August 2024
Time: 2nd (Fri) 18:00-21:00, 3rd (Sat) 11:00-21:00, 4th (Sun) 11:00-21:00
Location: Oasis 21 / Aichi Arts Center (Grand Hall) / Hisaya-Odori Park / Hisaya-Odori Garden Flarie /Osu Shopping Street

This post was last updated in June 2024
Although we strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please note that changes may occur nonetheless. 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 only available in Japanese.

Did you enjoy this article?

Which country do you think will become the winners of WCS 2024? We are looking forward to hearing from you in the comments!

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About the author

Sumo, Sake, and Japan Crafts Expert in JapanImmerse yourself in the heart of Japanese culture with me, I am, a Spanish entrepreneur living over 16 years in Japan. My extensive experience has made me not just a guide, but a cultural bridge, connecting travelers to the authentic spirit of Japan.From the electrifying arenas of sumo wrestling to the delicate world of sake brewing and the timeless elegance of Japanese crafts, my journey is a tapestry of rich cultural encounters. I am passionate about sharing these unique experiences, offering a glimpse into Japan's soul through its traditions and hidden gems.Join me, and together let's explore the depth and beauty of Japan. Whether you're a sumo enthusiast, a sake aficionado, or a lover of artisanal crafts, I am here to guide you through an unforgettable cultural adventure.Discover the Essence of Japan with me.

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