October 27, 2016


Tokyo Comic-Con Reverses Ban of Men Cosplaying as Women

Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Update (Oct. 27): Tokoo Comic-Con has reversed its "crossplay" ban and will allow men to dress up as female characters. In a statement (translated by the Anime Herald), the cancellation was announced, but the convention added that it will issue gender-specific registration cards that attendees will need to confirm at bathrooms and changing rooms.

While the ban was a step in the right direction, we are hoping there are no issues if someone identifies with a gender different than what they were assigned at birth. Read on for the initial report.

Original Story (Oct. 26): Despite a well-done, gender-bending cosplay being one of the most awesome parts of any Comic-Con, the very first Tokyo iteration of the nerd Mecca is leaving men out of the fun.

Fans have noticed that Tokyo Comic-Con has specifically banned males cosplaying as female characters—a.k.a. crossplay—with the ban listed as an official guideline alongside other restrictions like no real military costumes, excessive exposure or transparent costumes. Also notably, the ban does apply to women who want to crossplay as male characters.

The flagship San Diego Comic-Con does not have any equivalent ban at its convention.

The ban is a bit surprising giving Japan's history and seeming comfortability with men dressing as woman. The country's kabuki theater does not use women at all and is a top Japanese entertainment sight for foreigners.

The very first Tokyo Comic-Con will be held from Dec. 3-4 and so far features appearances by Jeremy Renner, Matthew Lewis, and Stan Lee. Watch cosplayers at the New York iteration of Comic Con explain their preparation process below: