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Japanese Gov't Hosts World Cosplay Summit Finalists

posted on 2008-07-31 04:14 EDT
International winners attend press event; names of contest judges announced

The Japanese Foreign Ministry held a press conference on Wednesday to promote the 2008 World Cosplay Summit (WCS) that will be held in Nagoya, Japan on August 3–4. Senior Vice Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera was the host, and the winning teams from the United States, France, and Brazil were invited to take part in their costumes. According to Onodera, the foreign ministry and the Japanese government as a whole view animation as an "important diplomatic tool" that can be used to promote Japan to the world. He also commented: "I don't know what manga characters you're dressed as. But I'm sure my kids and young staff of the foreign ministry would like pictures taken with you."

Separately, the WCS organizers began releasing the names of the celebrity judges who will pick the winner of this year's competition. The first two are voice actress and singer Rica Matsumoto, and classic manga creator Yumiko Igarashi. Matsumoto is known best for her roles as Futaba in the You're Under Arrest franchise and Satoshi in the Pokémon television series and movies. She is also the Japanese voice of Megara in the Kingdom Hearts II videogame, and of Kelly Taylor in the Japanese dub of Beverly Hills 90210. Igarashi made her mark as the artist of the Candy Candy manga, which was published from 1975 to 1979. Another veteran voice actor, Tohru Furuya (Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Mask and Mobile Suit Gundam's Amuro Ray) will be a guest announcer during the contest, along with actress and singer Natsuki Kato, who is a big anime and manga fan.

Earlier this month, the last two competitors for the finals of the summit were selected at the China Joy Cosplay Carnival in Shanghai. Chin Zhao and Li Zhang, who won with costumes from the Sengoku Basara videogame, will join 13 other teams for the August 3 international championship round.

The competitions that selected the national finalists for the WCS started in last September. One two-person team was named to represent each of the participating countries, with the exception of Japan. As the host of the contest, Japan was allowed to field two teams.

The winners of the country competitions, in order from earliest to most recent, were:

  • Germany - September 8, 2007
    Annie Fischinger, Katharina Wehrmann (Sailor Moon)
  • Thailand - September 23
    Julaluk Lohanawakul, Jittaporn Distaprom (Xenosaga)
  • Italy - October 7
    Nadia Baiardi, Martina Arnaldi (Five Star Stories)
  • Denmark - November 3
    Liuwina Haeklund, Lisa Hvidberg (Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE)
  • Spain - November 3
    Maria Perez Tomas, Nicolas Cabrerizo Garcia (Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE)
  • U.S. - December 7
    Sonnya Paz, Renee Gloger (Magic Knight Rayearth)
  • Mexico - February 4, 2008
    Tersa Garcia Hernandez, Ingrid Alin Nava (Digimon)
  • Japan (Tokyo Round) - May 18
    Tokyo - Naoki Shigure, Kikiwan (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
  • Korea - June 1
    Sun-min Kong, Kyoung-min Kong (Vision of Escaflowne)
  • Brazil - June 21
    Jessica Moreira Rocha Campos, Gabriel Miemietz Braz (Burst Angel)
  • France - July 6
    Laura Salviani, Cecile Auclair (Clover)
  • Singapore - July 6
    Gore I Hwa, Gerald Tham (Sailor Moon)
  • Japan (Osaka Round) - July 13
    Yui, Mino (Code Geass)
  • China - July 17
    Chin Zhao, Li Zhang (Sengoku Basara)
Source: Associated Press, Agence France-Press

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