[Cosplayer: Nishizuma] I don’t  win alone! To The Frontman Who Leads Cosplay in Japan



A Cosplayer Who’s A Man Among Men

Charm that even enamours members of the same sex… The term a “man among men” may have different meanings depending on who you are, even so I shall introduce this guy as a “man among men”.


Nishizuma is the 2021 Grand Prix Cosplayer of the Year in the Cherry Division (men’s/men’s cosplay). Now that you’ve climbed to the top, what’s the view like? What does the future hold for you? 


Satoru Gojo from Jujutsu Kaisen (Photography: cozy:/Twitter: @cozy1215


“You can call me the Grand Prix or you can call me the victor… But I don’t think that it can be called the ‘top’ really”


And that’s how my conversation with Nishizuma began. Well, the Grand Prix is a top in itself. Does that mean that this win is still not enough?


“Well I don’t mean it like that, but this victory has given me the opportunity to stand as the frontman for male cosplayers. Cosplay has become pretty mainstream, but there are still many parts of it that aren’t very understood for instance, communities of cosplayers that are predominantly female. Issues between the sexes can easily happen and so it’s fair to say they do arise when men enter those circles. This can often lead to a prejudice that may form against men who really enjoy cosplay due to people with ulterior motives.”



As the winner of the Grand Prix, Nishizuma’s words do hold some weight. I think remarks like these from a person in his position could make waves, but I think that this allows all of us to reflect on our own behaviour. 


“Of course, everyone has their own set of values but I want people to project a clean image. I want to make that my foundation.That’s the reason that, although after winning the Grand Prix I have had an increase in interviews and followers on SNS, I still humbly hold dear those who support me and encourage me.” 


This guy… He’s pretty serious. Why is it that he sees the Grand Prix men’s/men’s cosplay award as less of the pinnacle and more of a stepping stone for greater things? The reason is, his immense respect for females who do male cosplay.



It’s Epically Cooler Because They’re Women

“Male cosplayers rely heavily on the work of female cosplayers for things like makeup, sewing techniques and even pointers on photography. In many respects, the issue is that the community becomes a lot smaller if you only look at the males in it.”


Satoru Gojo from Jujutsu Kaisen (Photography: cozy:/Twitter: @cozy1215


I see… I think that it’s a talking point that we’re grateful for, but is that enough to be called respect?


“Well it’s more than that. First, I think female cosplayers playing males actually have more of a manly air of attraction to them than most males. Cosplay is essentially presented in 2D. Of course it depends on the work, but I find that women playing 2-dimensional males are the ideal form of 3-dimensional women. And so, I think the female expression of male characters is far superior. Moreover, you cannot hold a candle to the makeup artistry and the skin women possess.”


What Nishizuma is saying seems matter-of-fact. It makes sense that if you’re a female playing a male character who is popular among females, you’re not likely to overlook those important points to emphasise when dressing as that character. 


Sesshomaru from Inuyasha


“It’s just that it doesn’t further develop male cosplayers. I hope that someday both male and female cosplayers can come to learn something from male cosplayers as well, no that’s what I sincerely want moving forward!”


Instinctually I got the urge to say “I will follow you, brother!!” Nishizuma’s manliness and sense of cool doesn’t just come through in his words. He has a cool stature as well, standing at 185cm tall. However, that has caused problems for him.



What Challenges Come With Height?

“To be honest, sometimes I want to play short characters. My height actually posed such an issue that it made me almost want to give up on cosplaying in the past. But due to the recent influence of the coronavirus I have been spending a lot of time at home. Conversely, without the worry of the public gaze, I have started trying various cosplay; short characters and female characters included. It’s so fun!! Practicing things like being cute and poses that make my hips look smaller was new and exciting.” 


Sasara Narude from Hypnosis Mic


Ramuda Amemura from Hypnosis Mic


That’s a challenge that can only really be done at a time like this. I really want to learn more from Nishizuma. It seems like he’s in a great place right now. 



I Want To Develop Japanese Culture And Proudly Display It To The World

“Doujin culture exists around the world, but I believe that Japan is at the forefront. That being said, cosplayers overseas are amazing. As cosplayers from overseas come to Japan I see the quality of cosplay improve. On the other hand, I find that cosplay in Japan is less about the fun of it and more so about comparing the amount of likes you get on SNS and about the he-said-she-said. This is not a time for fighting!! We have to get out there more and more!! Of course it’s hard for us to actually “get out there” right now, though I think that if we don’t work together to advance Japanese culture, one day all that we worked for will be undone.”  


Sakata Gintoki from Gintama (Photographer: AK/ Twitter:@akakabeuti)


Does it have to be first place? Is second place not good enough? I heard something a long time ago that went, leading the world on the cutting edge, leads to the development of culture. And there is a reason for Nishizuma sentiment. 


Gin Ichimaru from Bleach (Photographer: TeRa/Twitter:@TeRa_CodeA)


“I don’t think that I could have won the Grand Prix by myself. I support all cosplayers and in addition to that I want to raise up Japanese cosplayers to create an environment that makes it easier for those who are inexperienced to start cosplaying. My goal is to encourage the development of cosplay. And I would be overjoyed if people at the 2022 Grand Prix could carry the baton.”


All in all, Nishizuma proclaims himself an anime otaku. He’s very interested in speaking to those who are involved in making anime, for example people who are involved with animation production as well as directors of sound and illustration.We are too! If you’re in these fields, please follow Nishizuma’s SNS. 


Muzan Kibutsuji from Demon Slayer (female cosplay)



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Shiro Sato

Having started an advertising production company in 2010 whose main business partner is a mail order company, he specialises in direct response advertising.


Rhiannon Charles

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