This article is a web original
Mark Christensen (Fukuoka)

Among the various arts and crafts, one of the most unique to arise in recent years is the hobby of cosplay. Sometimes associated with extreme fans, cosplay has instead become an intricate yet accessible hobby with major competitions, conventions, and organizations. “Costume play” allows people to express their creativity, with cosplayers around the world creating a dizzying variety of costumes, props, and characters at many levels. From home-sewing to advanced 3D printing, the potential of cosplay is seemingly limitless.

In late 2022, post pandemic, I began to research the local community on social media for information on events and costume creation. As I was looking through several fandoms, I realized that two of the remarkable costumes I’d seen were created by the same person. This creator, Nanasemeron, or “Seven Star Melon,” had a wealth of helpful knowledge including information on prop making, cosplay events, and even modeling.

Through her, I learned about the World Cosplay Summit, which I attended the next summer. I made some great contacts among the photographers there and was able to learn about other events around Japan, including some I had overlooked in my own area.

This spring, while covering one such event in Fukuoka, I unexpectedly stumbled upon Nanasemeron herself. Modeling the stylish Trish Una from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, I was immediately struck by the way she brought the character to life, not only in appearance, but also in poise and elegance. I found that she was also very kind, patiently working with amateur photographers like myself while also helping to organize cosplayers at the event.

After talking with her, she agreed to share some of her story as a model, cosplayer, and creator. 

When and how did you become interested in cosplay?

I remember being impressed by an event called Moe Sami that was held in my hometown in Yamaguchi Prefecture when I was in high school. I had not even heard of Comiket yet.

What difficulties did you face when you first started cosplaying?

For my first cosplay, I was Kikyo from Inuyasha at a school festival when I was a vocational student. My costume was just a ready-made one so it looked awkward. Another difficulty was that I didn’t know how to cut a wig, so I kept thinking, “My bangs are too long, they get in my eyes. . .” (laughs)
専門学生のときの文化祭で「犬夜叉」の「桔梗」をしたのが最初なのですが、衣装も既製品を着ただけの不格好な物だったのを覚えています。苦労といえば、ウィッグをカットするという事も分からなかったので「前髪長いなぁ、目に入るなぁ」と. . .(笑)

How did you learn the art of costume making? Or did you learn it after you started cosplaying?

I learned a lot from my partner in the World Cosplay Summit 2022, Moimoi. He is a very skilled teacher, and I picked up the techniques easily. After that, I studied the techniques I saw on various people’s social media accounts and incorporated them into my own style.

How did you get involved in the World Cosplay Summit and how did you feel about it?

I still remember being impressed by the 2016 Japanese representative skyR-san’s performance, and wanting to stand there performing like that myself someday. My inspiration for going to the World Cosplay Summit was my prop making teacher Momoi-san saying “Let’s go together!” His enthusiasm is amazing!

What kind of activities do you do as a cosplay ambassador/WCS Alumni?

I leveraged my photo modeling and prop making skills at the Nagoya Cosplay Summit and participated as a guest on talk shows at events in Japan. I also served as a judge for costumes and performances abroad. My daily life is a constant source of motivation! I am proud of my activities because they would not have been possible in a normal life. I pride myself on the fact that what I do now would seem impossible if I had chosen to live an ordinary life instead.

Do you have any future cosplay goals or dreams that you would like to achieve?

I don’t have any particularly big dreams, but I would like to become someone who can teach my prop making skills to others like I was taught. I also want to improve my acting skills and tackle WCS again!

You are a fashion model as well as a cosplayer. What is that and what do you do?

We prepare costumes, wigs, and props that match the host studio and location, and then a photographer takes pictures. Nowadays, there are more professional photographers taking photos of me than amateurs. A brand also asked me to model for a photoshoot after I posted a photo of their favorite anime collaboration brand’s clothes on my social media.

Do you have a favorite fashion style? What do you think about it?

I have always loved eccentric fashion that stands out from the rest! Recently, I have been into “glamb” clothes. It is a brand that collaborates with my favorite anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (JoJo). All their clothes are very stylish!

You recently made a TV appearance! Congratulations! And where can our readers catch you on TV?

I am not allowed to speak in depth about the TV appearance yet. . . perhaps if I see you on Sunday? (laughs)
テレビに関してはまだ深い内容を喋れないのです. . . 日曜日の朝見られるかな?(笑) 

Besides your own amazing work, are there any other cosplayers you would recommend to our readers?

There are many cosplayers I can recommend, but the first is Spice Girl. She is a cosplayer working in Fukuoka, and her style, expressions, and posing are outstanding! The second one is Zachio-san whom I respect for his prop making. His stand cosplay from JoJo is astonishing! The third is Harunero. She also makes costumes and props, and you can see that she works hard every day and is full of love for her work. Her charm makes people happy, so I hope many people will appreciate her work.

Do you have any message or advice you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you for following my social media and supporting me! I started cosplaying as a hobby, but many people follow what I am doing and interact with my photos, which brings me a lot of energy to keep doing this. I ask for your continued support as I keep on doing my best in prop and costume making, photography, and acting! There are a lot of photos of me looking cool and serious, but don’t worry, I’m not so big and scary! (laughs)

Photos provided by Nanasemeron.

Thank you again for taking the time to interview with us! We wish you and your friends good luck in your next cosplay endeavors!

Nasasemeron is a 2022 Japanese representative for the World Cosplay Summit. She creates cosplay items both for work and as a hobby. She also models cosplay and original costumes, judges cosplay competitions and conducts workshops in Japan and abroad. You can follow her work and travels on her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Nanase has also recently revealed that she plays a character in the new Shin Dogengers show coming out on July 14. You can learn more about it here!

Mark Christensen is a fifth-year Fukuoka ALT from Snohomish, Washington in the United States. An avid photographer, he has a passion for nature, culture, and cosplay. You can follow his photography on Instagram and Twitter.