The Doujin Life is an Expression of Love: Cosplayer Satsuki
Her Journey to Cosplay
Cosplayer Satsuki was introduced to us by Moimoi, but the first thing she said to me when we started our interview surprised me.
“I read the interview with Hanon! I took that photo, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it online!”
Oh! So she knows Hanon, too! It was my turn to be surprised. The cosplay world is so small.
But what I was most interested in is how Satsuki herself ended up going down the path of cosplay.
“When I was in high school I joined the drama club. I always liked manga and video games but I wasn’t totally immersed…kind of like an almost-otaku. But in the drama club one of the older students who did cosplay put me in a China dress, gave me a weapon, and took some pictures…and that’s when I became interested.”
Satsuki telling us about her first encounter with cosplay.
The Hurdles of Starting Out
After being awakened to the world of cosplay, Satsuki began to wear all sorts of costumes.
“Up til now I’ve done 30 different characters, based on anime like Sailor Moon and Attack on Titan. I really love getting together with my friends in cosplay and having a good time. I also do photography, but I enjoy that as a separate hobby.”
However, though it was fun at first to slip on a costume of her favorite character, she gradually became aware of a sense of feeling out of place.
“Since I’m half-Japanese half-Nigerian, my skin color is darker, so I could never match the skin color of light-skinned characters. I also feel like my figure and build are different from the Japanese. That really bothered me…”
Of course it would. You can’t change the color of your skin…and with so many Japanese characters starring in anime, it’s easy to feel a sense of otherness when trying to cosplay them.
Though she said her skin color bothered her before…
What Bothered Her Became a Weapon
“But once I thought about it, I realized that my skin color is a weapon. For example, I can do today’s cosplay, Revy from BLACK LAGOON, and get praised by everyone for it precisely because of my skin tone. And because I have a distinct face, I don’t need to put that much cosplay makeup on. People always remember me after they’ve met me! (laughs)”
I see! Since she turned her concerns into her strengths, she can really bring out the individuality of each character!
“Yes, being biracial is a part of me. You know how the interesting thing about making fan doujinshi is having to combine the original art style with your own? In the same way, I think I make expressing myself through cosplay more fun by aligning the character’s personality with my own skin tone and body. That’s why I love my skin now, and I even think it’s cool.”
Nico Robin from One Piece. Photo by IKURA (@came_19ra)
Alter Ego from Fate/Grand Order. Photo by Masaya (@Sheryl_Noooome)
Satsuki’s Doujin Life
Apparently, the cosplay photoshoots that Satsuki puts on get rave reviews from her fellow cosplayers!
“When you do a photoshoot together with a large number of people, there’s usually someone who’s in charge who would arrange the shoot and stuff. But they always seem to do a lot of arranging with me, and I always felt kind of weird about it. Besides, there weren’t any photoshoots for the kind of pictures I wanted to take either, so I just decided to do my own.”
Such initiative! Using your own abilities to make something you want to happen happen is definitely much faster and more freeing. But putting it into action is not as easy as it sounds.
“We don’t always do our shoots in studios. Sometimes we do it outside, and when we do we need to contact whoever owns the land, and sometimes we have to apply to use it. Plus you have to recruit other cosplayers…there’s really a lot to do.”
Chloe from Granblu Fantasy. Photo by Ryow (@Ryow181).
BB from Fate/Grand Order. Photo by Asagiri (@Earl_of_Pumpkin)
That workload makes me dizzy just thinking about it. Where does she get all the energy to do it all?
“Hmmm…I think it’s because I want to do something a little different. I mean, not that I want to do anything weird….Just…like one time I made my own champagne and gave it to everyone who participated. That’s something that people remember, and I want them to have good memories of the events I put on. Another time, we did a wedding photoshoot, but instead of doing it in a studio we rented a whole chapel.”
As it turns out, Satsuki’s unique photoshoot events are so popular that people from not just the city but from as far away as Hokkaido come to participate. But…with all that, how’s her wallet doing?
“Since I do this as a doujin, I’m not thinking about making money or anything. Usually I’m in the red (laughs). We’re borrowing things from the original works, and I mostly do it because I’m a fan, so I’d feel bad if I made any money. If I and the other participants all have a good time and make good memories, then I consider it a great success. We enjoy the things we like however we like, without breaking the law. That’s the doujin life, and an expression of love.”
Those words…such wise words that resonate with all of us! Satsuki is the true embodiment of a doujin. I hope she continues putting on events just for the love of it!
Satsuki’s original champagne!
Gravel from Arknights. Photo by Meiji (@Mage_Industry)
Having started an advertising production company in 2010 whose main business partner is a mail order company, he specialises in direct response advertising.