Cosplay is made up of the words "costume" and "play". As the name hints, it is a form of art where two creative disciplines meet. Practitioners of cosplay, so-called cosplayers, dress up in a costume and act as a specific character from typically works of fiction, e.g. anime, manga, movies, cartoons, video games, etc.
Some cosplayer's primary focus is to make beautiful costumes, while others use all their time and energy to immerse themselves in a character and act it out. As to when you would call someone a cosplayer is very subjective and dependent on culture among other things. For example, many people in Japan would use the word cosplay for just wearing a headband with attached cat ears. In the West there is a slightly different view, because not everyone believes that e.g. people dressed up for Halloween should be called cosplayers, while others share the same view as in Japan. In some circles it is expected that you make your own costume and enter competitions before being refered to as a cosplayer. People who are highly motivated in the cosplay community typically have a very passionate view on this matter. It is however important to emphasize that there are no "right" or "wrong" kinds of cosplay, just different level of interests and extent of commitment to this creative hobby.
Cosplay is one of the elements from the Japanese popular culture that participants J-Popcon have embraced and grown. Since 2000, when J-Popcon first opened its doors, the number of cosplayers grown steadily. There was an explosion in the amount of beautiful costumes and impressive performances around 2007, when J-Popcon became the host of the Danish qualificaiton round for the first major international cosplay competition; World Cosplay Summit. Since then, J-Popcon has been able to expand and add more international qualifications to the cosplayshow. After 2012 it was clear that one show simply too crammed to mash all the categories into. At J-Popcon 2013 we expanded to having two cosplay shows in addition to the long line of panels and workshops held each year during the festival.
As the only host of multiple international qualification rounds in Denmark and a hub for Danish cosplay enthusiasts, J-Popcon also invites a small number of guests profiles each year, each known internationally for their expertise and skills in cosplay. In addition to panels and workshops, they act as judges for our international qualification rounds. The reason for this is to achieve a diverse panel of judges, who can cover all assessment criteria and ensure fair competition. This way we make sure that the winners are ready and able to perform well on the international stage.