Reni Mimura: Japanese cosplay in New York
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Reni Mimura was born in Japan and since an early age dancing was a way of life for her. In Tokyo, and other big cities like Osaka, cosplay began to take off and this is where Reni Mimura found her niche or indeed “found herself.”
In 2008 Reni Mimura decided to relocate to New York in America and clearly the choice was a wise one because internationally the cosplay culture is finding a place within many nations.
The fusion of cosplay, animation, moe, and elements of the otaku culture, is fascinating many people and different performing artists will be focused on areas within these complimentary aspects of modern Japanese culture.
In a world where violence is often the norm through the images of the media and where certain music scenes are focused on power, strength, and masculine images; moe artists and cosplay is a million miles away and the gentle nature and dream world co-exists within this scene.
Reni Mimura certainly blends in with the “cute look” of “kawaii (cute) culture and given the power of animation in Japan then this fusion alongside cosplay appears to be natural. Not only this, it is abundantly clear that kawaii culture is marketable and it generates vast economic profits.
From the 1970s onwards the kawaii image became potent and Hello Kitty had a mass appeal in Japan. Seiko Matsuda was also instrumental in the image of “innocence of young girls” and the fashion it generated.
Reni Mimura therefore entered a world which had become fashionable in places like Akihabara in Tokyo and kawaii culture and market forces were also well known. Added to the images of animation, which expresses big eyes and other distinguishing features; then the way was clear for a talented individual like Reni Mimura to take this across to America and the international community.
Reni Mimura released her initial CD in 2006 and once she decided to relocate to America in 2008 then the picture became more global. Also, by being based in New York then the powerful forces of Tokyo and New York were bound to help such a talented individual who appears to have a clear direction and dream.
Her book, “Maid in NY” was a clever title because the maids of Akihabara in Tokyo are famous and the name New York sells because of the cultural power of this city.
Reni Mimura stated that “Sometimes I like to be a Japanese office lady by wearing a suite with my hair up. Wearing chequered pants with handcuffs and chains makes a girl with Rock style. Wearing a light pink dress with a frill makes Reni Lolita style. Every day I would like to be different. Cosplay is my life!”
Onstage it is clear that her fans appreciate her enormous energy and this applies to her dancing style, movement, natural interaction, and a voice to match all these fine qualities.
Reni Mimura also stated “Cosplay can transform you into a different personality. For example, if you are shy, it can help you speak to others more easily. We can have a lot of fun with it and make people happy at the same time. I think this is a very futuristic thing to do. It’s like a game!”
It is clear that this lady is taking aspects of Akihabara culture to New York and to a wider international audience. Her image is also good for Japan because Japan’s “soft power” and modern cultural is now spreading to regional nations like China and South Korea, and throughout the world.
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