Japanese pop culture has been one of the country's most successful exports over the past several decades – even the government promotes cultural exchanges via its “Cool Japan” program which seeks to support cultural industries. One of the most unusual forms of Japanese cultural expression, however, is cosplay. No government support is required, as cosplayers voluntarily put significant time and effort into their hobby.
Being so into Japanese pop culture – anime, manga, video & computer games, movies and more – cosplayers around the world feel a deep connection with Japan and many have found themselves lacking an outlet to express their shock and sadness over the devastating Great Tohoku Kanto Earthquake.
Now Prayers From Cosplayers, a website set up shortly after the quake and tsunami struck, offers cosplayers a unique way to send their hopes and prayers to fellow hobbyists in Japan who may have been affected.
The website, which is available in 9 languages plus Chinese from both Mainland China and Taiwan, is easy to navigate and using it costs nothing.
Cosplayers who wish to participate simply dress up as they like, create a visual message, photograph themselves holding up said message, and upload the image to the site. As of press time, 373 cosplayers have sent messages of support.
Clicking on the thumbnail photos on the website's front page blows up each photo along with the cosplayer's chosen name or nickname, country, city, and a short message. You can review all of the photos, 10 pics per page if you like. There's also space reserved for banner ads from Prayers For Cosplayers' supporters and friends, such as Anime Alliance, Cosplay Brasil and Korea Comic Union.
While standard donations of funds and emergency supplies are always welcome in the aftermath of any natural disaster, expressions of support have a unique value all their own. When times are tough, it helps to know someone cares... and for cosplayers around the world, showing you care means showing your prayer. Now how cool is that?