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A group of courtiers looking to the left. In the early days of science fiction conventions, a few people wore costumes in the hallways, but not everyone saw them.  When lots of folks began wearing hall costumes, they started putting them on stage for everyone to see.  As the stage presentations developed, so did the costume competition known as the Masquerade.

Recent WorldCons have seen the Masquerade become a major event, rivaled only by the Hugo Award Ceremony.  All WorldCon members are welcome to participate in the Masquerade by producing and competing their Masquerade entry, or by joining the audience in the auditorium to watch the show.  The pictures of previous WorldCon award winners on this page will give you an idea of the costuming that you might see.  In 2006, Nippon 2007 presented a Japanese Wedding Gown to the Best of Show winner at the LACon IV Masquerade. TorCon3's scary Ice Wights moving through the dry ice mist

Masquerade Theater Map

Nippon 2007 continues the tradition of the Masquerade with a special touch - the blending of traditional Western Masquerade with the tradition of Japanese cosplay.  We're incorporating the best of both worlds to provide something special that will make an enjoyable event for everyone.

This blending includes:

  • Changing Rooms - a Japanese tradition that American conventions may want to adopt in the future.

  • Cloak Room - Another Japanese tradition that American conventions may want to adopt for commuting fans.

  • Costuming Considerations for Japan - Everyone wants to have a good time, and part of having that good time is to make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises.  Please read this information before you pack your bags for travel to Japan.

  • Photography - Yes, costumers generally like having their photo taken, but we still have a few rules plus some special areas that you'll want to know about.

  • Fan Photo - We are going to use both traditions, so everyone can take flash photographs of the contestants after they come off the stage.

  • Green Room - Where contestants get processed and wait to go on stage.

  • Hall Costumes/Cosplay - Come continue the tradition of wearing costumes in the halls.

  • Masquerade Rules - What every costumer who enters the Masquerade needs to know.

  • Theater Details - The other information that Masquerade contestants need to know, including a map of the theater.

  • Skill Classes - A way of dividing up contestants, so they are compared against people of equal skill.

  • Scheduled Time - This year's Masquerade and Masquerade technical rehearsal have a different schedule than most WorldCon Masquerades.  Everyone considering competing in Nippon 2007's Masquerade needs to read this.

  • Transport - If you need to ship something because it won't fit in your bag on the airplane, we have arranged for shipping. pair of 1890's ladies dressed to the nines, or maybe even tens

  • Weapons Policy - Important information that everyone needs to know - even if you do not compete in the Masquerade or wear a hall costume.

  • Where can I wear my costume?

  • Workmanship Judging - Judging that rewards people for the crafting that they do on their costume, costume accessory, and/or prop.

  • FAQ

A Masquerade is a competition of costumes that people have made themselves.  Be prepared to be astounded at the costumes and props that you'll see on stage.  The contestants have taken considerable time to put them together, and we're looking forward to an enjoyable show!

How to Participate

Dragon seated in a chair. To participate in the Nippon 2007 Masquerade, please:

  • Read all the other topics previously covered, so you do not get any rude surprises.  We would hate to have you stopped at Customs and not allowed into the country because of something you brought along that cannot be brought into Japan.

  • After reading all the information, please register online , so we may provide accurate translations so everyone may understand your costume information.

    Masquerade Registration Form

  • Please enter early, so an accurate translation of your entry can be made and provided for our audience members as well as the masters of ceremony.  If you do not know whether or not you will have your costume done in time, we remind you that it is easier to drop an entry rather than add one at the last minute.

Masquerade Half-Time - Kengishu Kamui Swordfighting

Kengishu Kamui Swordfighting After all the Masquerade entries have come across the stage and the judges leave to decide the award winners, we have a very special presentation - a Japanese Swordfighting exhibition by Kengishu Kamui.

The Kamui group has performed in London and the Kennedy Center in America, and arranged the sword fights in the movie "Kill Bill.  We look forward to a spectacular show.


More About Costuming

A group of astronauts in some really well done hard shell space suits. If you would like to learn more about costuming, and pick up a few tips before starting your own costume, take a look at:

More Photographs

To see more photographs from previous WorldCons, Emerald City has some excellent images:


The following sections are from links in the main section above


Changing Rooms

Nippon 2007 is providing men's and women's changing rooms in the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center.  If you do not have a room at the Intercontinental or Pan Pacific, or your costume is too large or bulky to get dressed in and walk over to the Pacifico Yokohama conference space, you will want to change here.  Please do not change costumes in a bathroom stall and make it so that people who need to use the toilet are prevented from doing so.

Changing rooms are not secured areas, so please be responsible for your personal belongings.  If your belongings block emergency exit routes, they will be removed without notifying or obtaining the permission of the owner.  In the event of loss or theft of items from the changing rooms, the event organizers and staff, location hosts, and sponsors bear no responsibility.

You do not have to be a Masquerade contestant to use the Changing Rooms.  Hall costumers/cosplayers are also encouraged to use this room if they are commuting to Nippon 2007.

Note:  The Changing Room is not the Masquerade Green Room .  If you do not check in at the Masquerade Green Room, we will not know that you are here and ready to go on stage.  If you and your group do not check in by 13:00 (1 pm), your entry will be deleted from the Masquerade.


Cloak Room

A Cloak Room is available in the Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center, but attendees are advised to keep valuables with them.  Again, event organizers and staff, location hosts, and sponsors bear no responsibility for the loss of any items from the Cloak Room.  The Cloak Room will be next to the Changing Rooms in the Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center and run by the Nippon 2007 Committee.  A small fee may be charged (something like 100 Yen ($1 USD)) per item. 


General Costuming Considerations for Japan

The Japanese are more modest than people in other parts of the world, and do not seek to attract attention to themselves.  So, the American tradition of "freaking the mundanes" will not be well received here.  When outside the convention area , please consider covering up costumes that you wear that can cause unpleasant feelings, disrupt public order, or go against Japanese custom.  Keep anything that looks like a real weapon, such as a sword or gun, covered.  We do not want to have any misunderstandings because of this.

What the Japanese call Hall Cosplay, Americans call Hall Costuming.  This is the wearing of costumes in the hallways of the convention area and convention hotel.  The Masquerade is a more formal presentation of costumes.  Please keep in mind:

  • If a prop or part of your costume can actually hurt someone, it is not allowed.  Please refer to the Weapons Policy for more information.
  • When not on the Masquerade stage, please keep costumes resembling the uniforms of Japanese public officials (such as police, fire dept., JSDF etc.) covered with an overcoat to prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.
  • If you wear costumes that can cause unpleasant memories (such as post-1930s military uniforms), please keep them covered to avoid offending people's feelings outside of the convention center and hotel.
  • Please keep revealing costumes covered when not on the Masquerade stage.
  • When wearing revealing costumes, be sure to wear appropriate underwear.
  • Japan participates in the Washington Convention, which bans the importation or exportation of endangered plant and animal species.  You can not bring in the listed animals, their fur or skin, birds, or plants into Japan.  Please refer to   for banned items. 


Masquerade FAQ

What are all of these rooms for?

    More than anything, they are for your convenience.  The Changing Room is to change into your costume - whether hall or Masquerade if you are not staying in the convention hotel.  The Cloak Room is provided, so you don't have to lug heavy packages all over the convention site.  The Green Room is where you go to participate in the Masquerade.

Where can I wear my costume at Nippon 2007?

    For the purposes of Nippon 2007, the convention spaces where people can wear their Hall Cosplay and Hall Costumes include:
    • Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center
    • Attached InterContinental Grand Yokohama Hotel
    • The nearby Minato Mirai 21 shopping area. 
    We do not recommend wearing costumes away from this area.

Will I be able to take photographs of costumes and costumers at Nippon 2007?

    Yes, you will.  You'll be able to take available light photographs with some rules in the Masquerade theater and you'll be able to take flash photographs in the Fan Photo area(s).  You can also take photographs of costumers in the hallways.  We ask you to use courtesy when you want to take candid/impromptu photographs.

Why is the Masquerade on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday night?

  • While this is a holiday weekend for Americans, it is not for Japanese.  Most Japanese fans will not be able to make it to Nippon 2007 until Saturday.
  • Scheduling constraints.  Since most of the programming will be happening on Saturday and Sunday, rooms and times are constrained. 

How can I get my big costume piece to Japan?

    Nippon 2007 has arranged for shipping of items.

Am I limited in the kinds of costumes that I can wear at Nippon 2007?

    We would like everyone to think about some Japanese cultural considerations that most would probably not think of at an American convention.

What are Skill Classes for? Why are they important?

    Skill Classes were developed as a way to encourage and protect new costumers by making sure that they were not compared against costumers who had won numerous awards.

What are Workmanship Awards about? Why should I bother with it?

    The costuming community believes that "excellence deserves reward," and this is another way to reward excellence in crafting a costume, prop, and/or costume accessory.  If you have done something that you are especially proud of your costume, prop, and/or accessory please present it for Workmanship Judging.  While not required, it is nice to have someone notice your hard work.

I've never competed at a WorldCon before.  What should I expect?

    You will have a great time, and you'll get support from the Masquerade Green Room staff.

What are the biggest things to remember when competing in the Masquerade?

  • Get adequate sleep the night before.  Without adequate sleep, your timing will be off, and you are more likely to have problems with your costume.
  • Eat real food with protein before competing.
  • Take care of any medications that you need to take before coming to the Masquerade Green Room.
  • Make sure that you bring any documents that you need for judging if you are doing a re-creation entry.
  • Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself!  You will see some wonderful costumes and maybe make a new friend or two.


Green Room

This is a room in the Pacifico Conference Center where Masquerade participants wait to get processed and go on stage.  In the Green Room:
  • You need to be checked in by 13:00 (1 pm).
    If you cannot be in the Green Room by 13:00, you must make special arrangements with the Masquerade Director directly.
  • Judging Photo
    This typically Polaroid photograph is used to remind the judges of all the entries, so they can discuss who to give awards to accurately.  A reference photograph, it does not have to include all the members of a large group, but everyone in a group is encouraged to get their photo taken.  This photo will be returned to contestants who want them at the Masquerade Postmortem.
  • Workmanship
    Workmanship judging happens in the Green Room.  This is where you, as the contestant, get to show how you constructed your costume and/or prop.  It is another opportunity to win an award and receive recognition for your work.  Any documentation turned in for Workmanship Judging will be returned at the Masquerade Postmortem.
  • Professional Photography/Recorder
    This is the high-quality photographer who takes every entry's photograph before they go onto the Masquerade stage.  These photographs will become the official record of the Nippon 2007 Masquerade, and photographs are sold to contestants, audience members, and anyone else who would like to purchase a copy.  Purchase information will be available at Nippon 2007.
  • Den Parents
    These are the women and men (aka "den mommy," "den mom," and "den daddy") who help, get processed, and reassure contestants before they go onto the WorldCon Masquerade stage.  Den parents make sure that all of their contestants have been photographed, gone to workmanship judging if they want it, and help with the last-minute items that need to be taken care of.  They help their contestants get into their costume, help fix a last-minute tear, and make the contestant's life much easier.  Den parents will also help escort their contestants to the stage entrance, hold contestant glasses, and then return the glasses when the contestants come off the stage.  If needed, they will escort their contestants to the Fan Photography area.
  • Guests staying at the InterContinental or Pan Pacific hotels may change in their rooms and come directly to the Masquerade Green Room.
  • All other Masquerade participants need to use the provided Changing Rooms. 

When traveling between your hotel room, the Masquerade Green Room, and Changing Rooms, you must make sure that your costume, costume parts or components, and props do not cause problems for the people around you. 


Hall Costumes/Cosplay

Hall costumes/cosplay are worn in the hallways of the convention space and hotel and do not require you to go on stage.  We want to see most everyone wearing costumes at Nippon 2007, and this is the perfect opportunity for most everyone to see your costume up close.

Roswell alien waving hello. To encourage having costumes in the hallways, a Worldcon tradition of awarding ribbons for hall costumes has developed.  No formal judging of hall costumes happens.  It is a matter of one of our judges seeing you, admiring the work that you did, and then giving you the ribbon.

We will frequently ask you for your name and the name of your costume, so we can share that information with other Nippon 2007 attendees in the daily newsletter. 

Don't forget that Changing Rooms are going to be available. 


Masquerade Rules

The Masquerade is where costumes are formally presented in the auditorium.  The Masquerade Director may reject, disqualify, or eliminate anyone from competition on the basis of bad taste, danger to self and/or others, inappropriate behavior or content, excessive purchased items, or any violation of the rules.

The Masquerade Director has the final say in all things, including determining the class placement of all contestants.  These decisions may not be appealed.

  1. No full or partial nudity on stage.
  2. Commercial and rented costumes may not be entered.
  3. No materials or effects that will leave a mess on stage or another contestant are allowed.
  4. No pyrotechnics or any other type of open flame is allowed.
  5. Nothing may be brought on stage that might endanger entrants, audience, judges, or crew.
  6. Minors may not perform martial arts or other combat simulations.
  7. Minors' parents must sign a permission form.
  8. No microphones may be used by contestants.
  9. Each contestant may only appear once on stage.  You may enter multiple costumes as long as each costume appears on different bodies.
  10. Competing costumes must not be worn around the convention prior to the Masquerade.  Hall costumes worn before the Masquerade are ineligible to compete in the Masquerade but may be shown out of competition, as an Exhibition Entry.
  11. Costumes entered in previous WorldCon Masquerades may enter, but major award winners (Best in Show or Best in Class), are asked to enter as Exhibition Entries.
  12. Maximum time allowed on stage:
    • 1-3 people:  1 minute
    • 4-6 people:  2 minutes
    • 7 or more:  3 minutes
    If you would like more time, consult with the Masquerade Director beforehand.
  13. Contestants must show up no later than 13:00 check-in time for the Masquerade.
  14. Contestants agree to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for non-profit purposes.  This includes allowing your photos or video recorded images to be used to promote subsequent Worldcon Masquerades, and to be displayed on the Nippon 2007 web site after the convention.
  15. Music/Sound:  If you are using music or sound effects with your presentation, it can be on mini-disc, audiocassette, or compact disk.
    • We recommend that you bring two copies of your music:  one to give to us, and one to keep for rehearsing and as a back-up.
    • Your tapes/disks need to be labeled with your real name and costume name.
    • Your tape/disks need to be submitted to us no later than Saturday noon.  If you cannot arrive until later that day, send your music to us in advance, so we have it.
    • Providing Music on Cassettes:
      • Do not bring commercial tapes with music other than what you want to play on it.  Only the music for your presentation can be on the tape.
      • Your music should be the first thing on the tape.
      • Label cassettes "Play This Side," and on the other side, "Wrong Side."
    • Providing Music on CDs:
      • If you are "burning" your own CD-R, test it on various CD players to assure it is compatible!  There is a possibility that our equipment won't be able to read your CD-R discs depending on the equipment you burn the CD-R and the quality of CD-R disks.
      • Do not use CD-RW discs, to avoid possible compatibility problems.
      • To increase the chances of your CD being readable, please be sure to use a high-quality CD-R media at low speed (1x or 2x) when you burn your CD-R.
      • You can provide CD-R that include .wav or MP3 data.  When you provide MP3 data, please use high-bitrate (at least 256k/second recommended) to compress MP3 files so that we can prevent degradation of the sound quality. 
    • NO microphones are available for contestants!  Any needed speech must be on your recording, or supplied as text for the Master of Ceremonies to read. 


Theater Details

Facts about the Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center theater, where the Masquerade will be held:
  • We have a Detailed Layout Map of the theater's stage, green rooms, entrances, and costume clearances.  It is a large .gif image, with clickable red hot spots that will bring up annotated photos of that area.
  • The stage is 8 x 15 meters, approximately 26 x 49 feet.
  • Professional lighting is suspended more than 5 meters/16 feet above the stage.  The stage has curtained wings, so entrants can wait out of sight of the audience.  Some additional space on the stage level will be available to store large pieces.
  • No plans currently exist for any equipment to be on the Masquerade stage.  A podium will be on the traditional stage right.
  • The Pacifico Yokohama theater can be blacked out (as opposed to having the lights only dimmed).
  • The main green room is 80 square meters/860 square feet.  A second green room will be provided if the entrant numbers require it.  This room is farther away and requires navigating stairs to get to the stage.


Photography Rules

Taking photographs at science fiction conventions is a strong tradition, and most everyone enjoys sharing and seeing photographs.  Nippon 2007 has some special considerations that everyone will need to understand.

Special Rules

    Photography for business/commercial purposes without the permission or agreement of the Nippon 2007 Committee is strictly prohibited.  All recording devices used for such purposes will be confiscated and all recorded media taken shall be destroyed without the permission of the owner.  Further, the photographer and any assistants shall be reported to the police and prosecuted.

    Photography of an adult/pornographic nature, and eliciting of such photography is strictly prohibited.  Further, the use of pictures taken at Nippon 2007 on adult Internet sites, regardless of whether it is for profit or not, is also prohibited.  The District Court of Yokohama shall be the exclusive court of jurisdiction for all disputes regarding these matters. Photographing Hall Costumes/Cosplay Costumes

    You must get any costumer's permission before taking their picture.  Even if there is a language barrier, please be sure that the person or people that you want to photograph understand that you want to take their photograph, and that they agree.

Photographing In the Masquerade Theater

  • All photographers must use available light.
  • Absolutely NO flash photography!  Many of the contestants have limited vision, and a flash could blind them.  Violation of this rule will get you ONE warning.  The second violation will get you removed from the Masquerade theater.
  • All photographs are for personal use only.  The contestants agree to this use when they enter the Masquerade.
  • Photographers must neither block the view of nor endanger the other audience members. 

Find out about our Fan Photo Area !


Fan Photography Area

This is where people can take flash photographs of the contestants after they come off the Masquerade stage.  We hope to have two fan photo areas:
  • Formal Fan Photo
    A photographic backdrop, possibly lights, and seats will be provided for the photographers.  This allows for more formal poses to be done.  If you would like to be in the Formal Fan Photo Area, please send an e-mail to  to let us know that you want to be in this area.
  • Informal Fan Photo
    A room or area that contestants will walk into, and then photographers will take photographs.  This allows informal and candid photographs to be taken, and contestants can cosplay their characters for photographers.  Photography fans in this area will have to be careful not to harm some of the fragile Masquerade costumes.  This room or area will be on a first-come-first-served basis, and depending on the space available, we may need to restrict the number of people who can participate in this room/area. 


Masquerade Skill Classes

Skill Classes were developed as a way to give everyone an opportunity to compete against people of equal skill.  Many felt that it was not fair for someone competing for the first time to be compared with someone who had won numerous awards.

"International competitions" as applied to the rules, mean Worldcons and Costume-cons.  If you have received awards at international competitions, you must compete in the stated classes that follow.

Note:  A competitor may always choose to compete in a higher class than that which the Masquerade Director has placed him or her.  However, he or she may not choose to compete in a lower class.  If you have doubts about what class level you should enter as, please ask the Masquerade Director.

  • Junior/Youth
    This is for children up to age 13 who make their own costumes with minimal help from their parents.  Children over the age of 13 are encouraged to enter as a Novice.  A child wearing a costume designed and built entirely by an adult/parent should either be entered in the adult's skill class or entered as an Exhibition Entry.
  • Novice
    For the first-time costumer, or a contestant who has not won any major awards such as "Best in Show" or "Best Novice" at an international competition.  Minor awards may be counted towards placement at the discretion of the costumer.  Awards won at regional competitions may be counted towards division placement at the discretion of the costumer and the Masquerade Director.  People who may not enter as a Novice include:
    • Professional costumers.  This is someone who earns more than 50 percent of their income from crafting or creating costumes for hire, or sewing costumes for customers.
    • A contestant who has competed and won in any division other than Novice at an international competition.
    • A contestant who has won "Best in Show" or "Best Novice" at an international competition.
    • A contestant who has won numerous major awards in the Novice category at international competitions is encouraged to enter in the Journeyman division. 
  • Journeyman
    The costumer who has won some awards and received recognition, such as "Best Novice" at an international convention, needs to compete as a Journeyman.  People who may not enter as a Journeyman include:
    • Professional costumers.  This is someone who earns more than 50 percent of their income from crafting or creating costumes for hire, or sewing costumes for customers.
    • A contestant who has competed and won in the Master division at an international competition.
    • A contestant who has won "Best in Show" or "Best Journeyman" at an international competition.
    • A contestant who has won more than three major awards in the Journeyman division in international competition.
    • Awards won at regional competitions may be counted towards placement at the discretion of the costumer and the Masquerade Director.
    • Minor awards may be counted towards placement at the discretion of the costumer. 
  • Master
    This is an open class that anyone may enter and has no limitations.
  • Exhibition
    For showing a costume to the audience, but not submitting it for judging.  The judges will leave the room to judge the other contestants before the exhibition entries come on stage.  Rerun and Hall costumes may be entered as Exhibition Entries.  The Masquerade Director reserves the right to limit the number of Exhibition Entries. 


Masquerade Scheduled Times

Because this is not a holiday weekend in Japan, the Masquerade rehearsal and show times are going to be different from what American fans are used to.  Please note these times:
  • Masquerade Rehearsal   Saturday, Sept 1st from 09:00 to 13:00 (9 am to 1 pm)
  • Masquerade Checkin (for contestants)   Sunday, Sept 2nd at 13:00 (1 pm)
  • Masquerade Show   Sunday, Sept 2nd starting at 15:00 (3 pm)

Please be aware that the Masquerade Green Room is not the Changing Room.  If you go only to the Changing Room, you will not be checked in for the Masquerade. 


Nippon 2007 Transport

If you have items that are too large or too heavy to fit in your suitcase, or you want to ship something else, we have arranged transport through:

Yamato Transport USA, Inc.
1205 Hamilton Court
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 324-9666

Yamato Transport will have a shipping desk in Hall A, near the Art Show.


Weapons Policy

Nippon 2007 WorldCon welcomes costumers, and we want to make sure everyone has an enjoyable time.  Because we are concerned about everyone's safety and enjoyment, we have the following Weapons Policy.  All members/attendees of Nippon 2007 must follow the Weapons Policy.

Keep this rule in mind:  If a weapon or piece of armor can actually cut or harm someone, the weapon/armor is not allowed anywhere on the convention site.

Items/weapons whose possession is prohibited by Japanese law and/or considered to be dangerous will be confiscated and not returned to you, and you could possibly be arrested if you try to bring them into the country.

Prohibited weapons include:

  • Guns:  hand guns, rifles, machine guns, cannons, shot guns, and other guns which have the capability to shoot projectiles/bullets.
  • Knives/Swords:  sword, spear, or pole sword whose blade is longer than 15 centimeters (6 inches), daggers, and switchblades with actual edges to them.
  • Bows:  bows, bowguns, blowguns, and slingshots which have the capability to shoot arrows, stones, or other projectiles.
  • Even prop weapons which mimic actual weapons may be confiscated.  Consult with the Masquerade Director if you have any questions. 

When walking around the convention site with costume weapons:

  • All weapons must be holstered or sheathed, so they do not seem threatening.
  • All weapons must be secured, so that no one can unexpectedly remove a weapon from its holster or sheath.  Only the owner of the weapon should be able to remove it for photographic purposes.


Where can I wear my costume at Nippon 2007?

For the purposes of Nippon 2007, the convention spaces where people can wear their Hall Cosplay and Hall Costumes includes:
  • Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center
  • Attached InterContinental Grand Yokohama Hotel
  • The nearby Minato Mirai 21 shopping area.
We do not recommend wearing costumes away from this area. 


Workmanship Judging

If you are particularly proud of something that you did on your costume or prop, you are encouraged to enter it for Workmanship judging.  This is the judging of how well a costume or prop is constructed by contestants.  Nothing purchased, or made by a professional costumer or prop maker may be entered for Workmanship judging.

Within each skill class, we have two categories:

  • Original.  This is an original idea by the costumer.  No source documentation is needed, but the judges appreciate a brief (no more than two paragraphs) explanation of your idea if it's needed.
  • Re-creation.  This is the costumer's interpretation of someone else's idea.  The source can be text from a book, artwork from manga, from a television show, or a movie.  To allow for accurate judging, a copy or image of the costume must be provided.  Sources can include:
    • A copy of the book page highlighting the description of the costume with the book title and author indicated on the page.
    • A copy of the cover art, if it is your source, is allowed.
    • A copy of the manga artwork page or pages.  Please do not bring the whole manga.
    • A still or stills from a television show or movie showing as many views of the costume as possible.