COSPLAY IN CHINA: POPULAR CULTURE AND YOUTH COMMUNITY
Abstract: In China, cosplay, which is originated for Japan’s costume play, has not simply played as another role of pop culture, but it has represented its unprecedented influence among those youngsters to the public with the form of cosplayers’ association. By raising the questions that “why it is so popular” and “why youngsters devote themselves to this cultural activity”, the research is to contribute to studies on youth culture in China. Based on observation of a typical cosplayers’ association in Hangzhou, the following issues will be examined. Why cosplay is the particular pop culture that draw young people’s attention? How and why youngsters gather together and form such organizations as “Cosplayers’ association”? Based on the character of the central topic, the main approach of this research focuses on qualitative methods, particularly case study and focus group. The intensive interviews and participant observations are the main source of the primary data, while phone interviews and
online interviews are the accessorial proof. The result of this research shows the factbthat both their interests and social pressure driven the young generation into the culture of cosplay while cosplay gives them a way of expressing their desire and choice of life. And with people who share the same interests, the awareness of
self-identity is raised, thus the interest-driven gathering becomes a structural organization, cosplayers’ association. In a profit-dominated society with heavy regulations such as current China, a youth culture like this, eventually gathers more and more people and becomes their last shelter from this cruel world.
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