Entries will be able to win a variety of prizes, including a $100 Cash Prize and professional photoshoot valued at $140 for Best in Show!"
For years, the cosplay community of Utah has come together to share their talent through the Nihon Matsuri, and we are continuing that tradition with our Cosplay Contest! The goal of the contest is to explore Japanese culture through anime and other forms of entertainment popular in Japan, so we will continue our format of providing an introduction that explains a bit about the series and characters being represented on stage.
In addition to the thrill of participating in this one-of-a-kind contest, there are several prizes and awards you can receive for your craft, performance, and presence!
Thank you for considering our contest! Please read through our rules below, and fill out the form if you would like to compete.
1. As this festival is meant to celebrate and educate people about Japanese culture, all costume source material must be of Japanese origin. That means anime, manga, japanese video games, J-pop/rock, Takarazuka, Super Sentai, J-dramas, and Japanese Mythology are all acceptable. Any non-Japanese source (cartoons, comic books, TV shows, etc) will only be allowed if the source material or design is relevant to Japanese or Japanese-American culture in some way. If you are unsure whether your costume qualifies, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
2. All walk-ons must be rated PG, as this is a public festival being presented by the Japanese community of Utah and is open to be viewed by everyone, including children. It is our goal to keep the performances family friendly – if you have any questions about what this might mean, please e-mail and ask! We are happy to work with you.
3. Please try to keep your performance as accessible as possible, to make the show an enjoyable experience for everyone in attendance! Keep in mind that there will be people in the audience that might not know much about the source material or the character you are portraying.
4. This is a Walk-On only contest - this means no spoken dialogue in your audio. If you have any questions about whether your audio fits this criteria, please feel free to ask!
5. Please give us an accurate and detailed description of what you will do on stage, so there aren’t any surprises! If your plans change, be sure to let us know via email so that we can update our notes and prevent any disqualification.
6. Contestants that are 12 years or under must be accompanied by an adult.
7. If you bring it on the stage, you must be able to take it off with you when you are done. That means no feathers, confetti, glitter, etc. We share this stage with many other cultural performances, and we need it to remain as safe and clean as possible. As always, please reach out if you are unsure if your plans meet this criteria!
There will be no on-site sign-ups for this contest. All sign-ups will need to be completed via e-mail or our submission form, ahead of time.
Last Day for Sign-Ups: April 26th
Last Day for Audio: April 27th
Contestants may enter as an individual or as part of a group. Groups can contain no more than 6 contestants, unless specifically cleared by our contest admin. Entries of any age are welcome! However, any contestant under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
If you would like to compete, please fill out this Google form:
Please email us if you have any issues with the form, and we will work with you!
● MP3 format only
● File clearly labelled with Group or Contestant Name
● Track can be as short as you want it to be, but it CANNOT exceed 1 minute 30 seconds. (If you need an exception, contact us via email - we will handle these on a case by case basis.)
● Track must NOT have dialogue, as this is a Walk On contest. (If you have concerns about this, please contact us - we will tell you if your track is appropriate.)
● If you don’t send us an audio track, we will provide a generic one for you. It will not be personalized, and
you will not be able to hear it until the contest itself, so we highly suggest sending us in audio if you can.
Slots for Craftsmanship Judging will be 5 minutes long. If you have a large group and are worried about time, please email us and we will make arrangements with you.
The slots will run from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. (This ending time may change based on the time the contest is scheduled.) Judging slots will be opened for reservation on April 22nd.
There are THREE classes for craftsmanship in this contest: Beginner, Intermediate, and Masters.
Beginner: no more than 2 individual craftsmanship wins.
Intermediate: 3-5 individual craftsmanship wins, or any win in an Intermediate division.
Masters: more than 5 individual craftsmanship wins, or any win in a Masters division.
If you are unsure what class you qualify for, please feel free to ask! We will help place you.
Progress pictures are not required, but are recommended as a way to document your creation process for the judges. You can bring a physical copy for the judges to look through during your time slot, or you can provide a QR code to a digital copy that we can pull up on a tablet or phone.
Judging will be located at the festival - we will contact contestants with a more specific judging location when the festival gets closer.
Sign Up Info
Miss Relena is an unrepentant sewing machine serial killer. In total, she has made over 300 costumes for stage, cosplay, and competition. She has sewn professionally for several regional theater companies, including the Tony Award winning season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. She has also judged cosplay contests all over the United States, her favorites being Anime Expo, Anime Vegas, Animazement, and Anime Banzai. She has won cosplay awards from San Diego Comic Con, Tokyopop, Anime Los Angeles, and many more!
Pannon (The Pannonator's Pan-Tastic Cosplays) has been cosplaying since 2001. Over the past 22 years, she's refined her craft and competed all over the United States and abroad! Pannon has won over 60 awards nationwide and represented the US twice in international competitions. First in 2014 as part of the World Cosplay Summit, and again in 2017 for The Netherlands' C4 competition.
Though she still competes in the international circuit, Pannon has also judged for over 30 contests, returning as an Alumni Judge for the World Cosplay Summit, as well as several national cosplay contests. She has made everything from mascots for pro sports teams to red-carpet looks worn around the world. She loves sharing her knowledge and positivity with the cosplay community and runs a cosplay advice podcast together with her co-hosts (VFire and CrestSphinx), "Cosplay Stitch and Seam." https://www.cosplaystitchandseam.com/
Unroyalty Cosplay was the driving force behind bringing cosplay to the stage here at Nihonmatsuri, almost ten years ago. She returns each year to judge as our cultural expert, with an eye for traditional and historical Japanese fashion and techniques. She is an experienced seamstress with a wide breadth of expertise, having produced everything from professional mascot suits, evening gowns, and even PPE for firefighters. She loves seeing the talent and passion our cosplay community continues to bring to the festival, and watching our ambassadors of cosplay use their time on stage to spread education about Japanese history and culture.
Turtlebunnies Cosplay (Kame) has been running this contest for almost ten years, and loves fostering a sense of pride and community while educating festival-goers about Japanese culture through cosplay! She is determined to make the experience welcoming and positive for all involved, and uses her 10+ years of experience in the hobby to grow and improve the event each year.