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Signup Ends: Wednesday, September 30th at 11:00 pm


Please Read The Rules Below Before Entering The Contest


The San Japan Cosplay Staff is thrilled to announce that our annual Cosplay Contest is moving online for 2020! We have redesigned our regular Mainstage Cosplay Contest to accept online entries that will showcase the creativity and hard work of our San Japan cosplay community.

Our Digital Cosplay Contest will be a video showcase of entries from our dedicated San Japan cosplayers. For the first time, we are asking you to record yourself in costume and submit a video as your contest entry. The judges, our Cosplay Staff, will be looking for both quality and creativity in the costumes and videos. We’ve even added a new category for cosplayers who like to pull from their closet. We’re so excited to see all of your fantastic entries!

Categories & Prizes

Participants in our Mainstage Cosplay Contest may know that normally, our contest is separated by class divisions. Competitive class divisions will be removed for the online contest. Instead, we are asking each cosplayer to volunteer whether they consider themselves a Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert-level cosplayer, which will inform how our entries are edited together purely for presentation purposes. Further, “Walk-On” and “Skit” categories have been removed for the digital contest. Your entry may either simply showcase your costume or tell a skit-type story, as long as it remains within the time limit.

The judging categories are as follows:

  • Best in Show: For the overall best combination of craftsmanship and presentation
  • Best Craftsmanship: For excellence in construction
  • Best Presentation: For excellence in video entry presentation and editing
  • Best Closet Cosplay: For thrifted or closet-sourced cosplay
  • Best in Theme: For horror-themed costumes
  • Staff Choice Award: Awarded by San Japan staff-wide poll to a deserving cosplayer not selected for another prize

Prizes are awarded to the first place and best two runners-up for Best in Show, Craftsmanship, Presentation, and Closet Cosplay. Best in Theme and Staff Choice are singular awards. Exact amounts for cash prizes are TBA.

Entry Rules

Entries shall be submitted in video form, of no longer than 00:60 (60 seconds) runtime. Acceptable formats include:

  • TikTok video
  • Instagram post
  • YouTube video

Please be sure that your entry is public or viewable to the staff when submitted. Please also include a method to download your video in .mp4 format, if this option is not available on the website where it is posted.

Entries should be cosplaying an identifiable character from available source material. San Japan does not allow “OCs” (Original Characters) in the cosplay contest. Fanart reinterpretations of characters, crossovers, genderbends, gijinka, or other interpretations of an identifiable character are allowed. There is no restriction as to the source (i.e., characters may be from any source material including Anime/Manga, JRPG/Video Game, Comic, Webcomic, TV/Film, etc.)

Entries may have any audio pertaining to the source material being cosplayed. Exception: You may submit a skit with original dialog as long as the runtime remains within 60 seconds. All audio must be PG-13—please use a clean track or mute/overtone any profanity. No references to drug use or explicit sex will be permitted. Submitting a video with audio backing is not required, however, an audio track will be chosen for you if none is provided.

Entries must be at least 50% constructed by the cosplayer. Wigs and shoes will count toward construction, however construction percentage is not detracted if you did not make your own wig or shoes. Props may be considered toward construction on a case-by-case basis, however if the entirety of the garment is not constructed and the only constructed piece is a prop, this does not count. NOTE: Closet Cosplay is exempted from construction requirements.

Entries must submit at least three (3) progress photos of your costume during the construction phase. These will be used to evaluate the above rule and ensure your costume meets the requirements. You may also submit full construction diaries, video diaries, or any other supporting material. NOTE: Closet Cosplay is exempted from progress photo requirements.

Entries may not have excessive flashing or strobing effects or “jump scares” included. For the comfort and accessibility of both staff and viewers of the eventual edited Digital Cosplay Show, please refrain from using rapid-flash effects or instances of “jump scares” (loud screaming, intrusive images) in your entries.

Entries cannot contain any nudity, drug use, profanity, or sexual content. San Japan is a family-friendly convention.

By submitting your entry to the 2020 San Japan Digital Cosplay Contest, you grant San Japan the limited right to view, edit, and distribute your entry for the purposes of judging, promotion, prize selection, and airing on digital properties. All entry videos, unless disqualified, will be made public in the San Japan Digital Cosplay Show. San Japan claims no ownership of the content of the entries.