Take a dive inside Taiwan’s vibrant cosplay scene with two ‘otokonoko’ cosplayers.
The News Lens
At cosplay events, it is very common to see people dressed as characters such as warriors, robots and female mages. However, in recent years, in addition to the standard anime characters, a subculture called “otokonoko,” in which males dress as cute female characters, has emerged, with some turning out to be even cuter female cosplayers. This has led to a popular sentiment: “They’re so cute, they must be a guy.”
For this article, The News Lens interviewed two “otokonoko” cosplayers, Yen-yen (炎炎) and Chih-chi (芷祈), about the current situation surrounding “otokonoko” within the Taiwanese cosplay scene.
What does ‘otokonoko’ represent?
When trying to understand the diverse culture of “otokonoko,” a good place to start is the definition of the Chinese term weiniang (偽娘), which can be interpreted as something close to “female impersonator.”
However, Yen-yen and Chih-chi, who often “crossplay” as otokonoko at cosplay events, have different views on the definition of the term. Yen-yen believes the Chinese term represents the desire of “wanting to wear women’s clothes and look feminine,” and that it does not really refer to gender identity or orientation. Yen-yen used himself as an example, as he identifies as a straight male both physically and psychologically. It’s just that cross-dressing is an interest of his. [FULL STORY]