Ever wondered how those crazily clad cosplayers promote themselves to each other? Well according to Nikkei’s Trendy just like most professionals in Japan they use business cards, though perhaps not the most traditional kind.
Image via cosplay.exblog
Business card exchange in Japan (meishi koukan ) is the most important method of professional self-introduction in Japan. Forgetting or running out of cards in more formal settings can lead to embarrassment, as others are unable to judge your status in the group. This is why we always tell clients visiting Japan for business or networking to “bring plenty of cards!”, which in their mind usually translates into 20 when it should be 50+.
Image via uniearth.jp
However, when these cosplayers exchange business cards they are promoting their fantasy persona, a character from an alternative reality who they try to embody through fashion, make up and lifestyle. The cards feature their character name, photo, and contact address rather than company and job title.
Image via A-one
Of course cosplayers wont just have one costume that they don, or character role that they play, which could certainly lead to a lot of printing and perhaps confusion.
Offering to solve this dilemma is a cosplay business card service called Proof, owned by printing company Choei, which allows customers the chance to order multiple sets of business cards for each character at a low cost (100 cards at 2,625 Yen- US$26).
A major feature of these customised cosplay business cards is of course the unique character or costume photo, which when printed resembles the design of a trading card rather than a proper business card.
C-Studio was set up to offer cosplayers a special location in which to take these cosplay glamour shots; featuring several photo studios each with their own themed decor such as Gothic, Luxury Bar, ‘Cute-room’, Sci Fi etc.
Customers can also rent props for free to enhance their fantasy experience and add further mystery to their characters.
As it is often difficult to find the right location to take fantasy themed cosplay photos without attracting attention and being bothered by the public many cosplayers are willing to pay the steep 8,000 yen (US$80) per hour rental fee to use the studio.
The extent to which fans of manga, anime and cosplay indulge in these alternative reality and fantasy lifestyles seems to be continuing to go one step further. With these cosplay business cards, the false persona of these fantasy characters now has a real world presence and allows them to take on bigger personalities and responsibilities.