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Washimiya, the Kuki City neighborhood that is home to the "Lucky Star shrine," held its first cross-dressing cosplay beauty contest on Sunday. The new "Washinomiya Miss Con ~Ore no Aniki ga Konnani Kirei na Wake ga Nai~" (Washinomiya Miss Contest: My Brother Can't Be This Beautiful) competition was part of the local shrine's annual Hajisai festival. (The neighborhood is named "Washimiya" but the local shrine, the oldest in the Tokyo area, is named "Washinomiya.")
The 11 contestants, screened before the event from all those who applied, were judged on three criteria: "beauty," "performance," and "itasa" ("pain"). Emcee Hisanori Yoshida, an announcer on the Nippon Broadcasting System radio station and an occasional voice actor, served as the emcee before an audience of over 1,000.
The grand prize winner in the beauty category was "yahiro," who cosplayed as Sheryl Nome from the anime Macross Frontier. The grand prize winner in the itasa category was "Shun115," who cosplayed as Tsukasa Hiiragi from Lucky Star. (Otaku have been flocking to Washinomiya Shrine since the 2007 Lucky Star anime featured Tsukasa and her twin sister Kagami working at the shrine as miko or shrine maidens.) The Mainichi Shimbun paper's Mantan Web site posted photographs of the winners and the other contestants.
Attendance for the Hajisai Festival increased for the fourth year in a row to 72,000. In addition to hosting "pilgrimages" from Lucky Star fans, the shrine has also held two otaku matchmaking events and decorates its mikoshi (portable shrine for parades) with Lucky Star characters. The townspeople print a Monthly Saitamania feature in the local Saitama Shimbun paper, produced the Washimiya*Story (Washimiya*Monogatari) film about the local Lucky Star phenomenon, and sell official Lucky Star Worcestershire and Kimchi sauces.
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