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Compete in the World Cosplay Summit USA Preliminary!

We are excited to announce that Naka-Kon 2020 will be a host convention for a World Cosplay Summit USA Preliminary!

In addition to our regularly scheduled mainstage cosplay contests, this year entrants will also have the opportunity to compete for a spot at the World Cosplay Summit USA Finals at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA.

Winners will receive two 4-day passes to Anime Expo with an automatic spot in the WCS USA Finals, round trip flight and hotel stay from Thursday July 2nd to Sunday July 5th. The WCS USA Finals will take place on Saturday, July 4th.

In consideration of this exciting addition to our contest, Naka-Kon Cosplay staff have increased the number of skit spots from 5 to 12, and will be extending the cosplay contest registration deadline to March 9 at 6:00 p.m CST. You can apply for WCS USA preliminary using the cosplay contest registration link: For those who have already applied and would like to edit your application accordingly, please email

To be best prepared, please be sure to read the following information carefully:

  • The WCS USA preliminary is for duos competing with craftsmanship AND performance. You must compete with a skit and be judged for craftsmanship. Unfortunately single person entries and entries with more than two people participating will not be eligible.
  • Your performance will need to adhere to the Naka-Kon cosplay contest rules. Your skit must also contain source material from Japanese media (anime, manga, video games or tokusatsu of Japanese origin) in order to be eligible.

Please note that there are some differences between rules required of entrants at Naka-Kon and entrants at WCS.

  • If you are selected as a preliminary round winner at Naka-Kon, you will be responsible for making any necessary edits and modifications to your costumes and/or performance to adhere to the rules at the World Cosplay Summit’s USA Finals at Anime Expo.
  • Example: You may compete with a gijinka/fan art cosplay skit if you wish at the Naka-Kon WCS USA Preliminary, however, unlicensed designs like gijinka/fan art would not be allowed at the WCS USA Finals at Anime Expo.
  • New this year for skit/ WCS USA Preliminary entries only: You may now submit video instead of just audio if you wish! All submissions must be in MP4 format. Please submit these files through the dropbox link in the application
  • The performance and costumes you compete with at Naka-Kon do not need to be the same performance and costumes you compete with at World Cosplay Summit USA Finals at Anime Expo. You are welcome to make adjustments or create a new performance and costumes.

Please carefully read the rules found here: and if you have any additional questions regarding the WCS USA Finals, please email If you have any questions about registration or logistics, please email

The WCS USA and Naka-Kon staff will be available to assist you with the implementation of these rules should you have any questions and look forward to seeing you on stage at the Naka-Kon 2020 Cosplay Contest.

Cosplay Contests and Exhibition Information

Naka-Kon is proud to yet again host several competitive and noncompetitive cosplay showcases! This is an opportunity for crafters and performers alike to showcase their cosplay talent on stage or through Hallway judging. These contests and exhibition support a wide variety of talent from various skill sets, so we encourage participants to register for the showcase opportunity that best suits their cosplay and performance needs. This year’s Cosplay Showcase opportunity categories are:

  • Main Stage Cosplay Contest
  • Main Stage Skit Contest
  • Exhibition Walk
  • Hallway Cosplay Contest

Please note that we have a limit of 55 entries for the Main Stage Contests, 15 entries for the Exhibition, and an as-time-permits cap on the Hallway Contest entrants. Please see General Rules, and Category Rules sections for more details. 

General Rules (for all entrants)

  • All contest entrants must be registered attendees of Naka-Kon 2020.
  • All costumes must conform to the Naka-Kon dress code policy.
  • Anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 at all times. 
  • All costumes must be completed before your judging time block and/or stage walk. A cosplay repair station will be available and open to all attendees, but will be limited to cosplay contest contestants only on Saturday during green room and throughout the cosplay contest.
  • Repair stations are stocked and equipped to fix any last minute snafus (we’ve all been there!), but please don’t try to make your costume from scratch in the Green Room (please...please).
  • Contestants and Exhibition participants are allowed to have one handler/assistant with them for costume, mobility, and accessibility needs, and/or emotional support. All handlers must be checked in with cosplay staff or they will not be allowed backstage or with you during judging. If you need more than one handler, it must be cleared with the cosplay directors ahead of time (contact
  • Contestants and Exhibition participants may not use stage or judging time to make political, religious, or insulting statements or other demonstrations. If your skit/performance requires mildly insulting language, please be sure to let the cosplay directors know ahead of time. 
  • Contestants in any Main Stage or Hallway Contest may not enter a costume that previously won a category award from Naka-Kon or any other convention. If the award was minor, we will waive this rule. Please contact the cosplay directors ahead of time if you are uncertain if your cosplay qualifies. This rule is strictly enforced and violations may result in you being disqualified from this and future cosplay contests.
  • Main Stage cosplay contestants (and skit entrants opting for craftsmanship) must select a craftsmanship class. Select a class closest to your craftsmanship level, as indicated by the class descriptions below. When in doubt, ask the cosplay directors.
  • Current members of the Naka-Kon Staff (at-convention assistant level and above) are ineligible for awards, but are welcome to enter as exhibition!
  • Safety first!
    • YOU MUST WEAR SHOES AT ALL TIMES. This is not only a requirement of the hotel and convention center, but also a safety concern. We will excuse the inaccuracy in your costume, so please wear appropriate footwear that will sufficiently protect your feet!
    • No throwing objects on stage or into the audience.
    • No flames or smoke effects.
    • No projectiles.
    • No jumping off the stage.
    • No running up stairs or on stage.
    • Items may only be left on stage if entrants request Stage Ninja assistance on the contest registration form.
    • All props/shrapnel left on stage must be at least 3”x3” inches in size. We need to be able to see it to pick it up. That means, sadly, no glitter cannons.  
    • All props and weapons must conform to Naka-Kon’s props and weapons policy.
    • All costumes must comply with Naka-Kon’s dress code. Large costume pieces (e.g., wings, spikes, chains, etc.) must be removable to comply with the dress code.
    • Any groups or individual entrants who wish to do any sort of fight or dance choreography must rehearse on the stage prior to the show to ensure safety.
    • If you have any questions about the weapons policy or dress code policy, please contact
  • The cosplay directors reserve the right to disqualify anyone for any logical reason, including but not limited to: cheating, inappropriate behavior at the convention, and offensive cosplays.
  • Hallway cosplay costumes entered on Friday of the convention may not be worn for the Main Stage Cosplay Contest (in either craftsmanship, runway or skit).
  • Main Stage Cosplay Contest winners (whether craftsmanship, runway, or skit) may not enter the Sunday Hallway Cosplay Contest with their winning costumes.

Main Stage Cosplay Contest

The Main Stage Cosplay Contest provides an opportunity for participants to showcase cosplay craftsmanship and runway performances. All entrants will be judged on craftsmanship and runway performance, where craftsmanship is judged before the Main Stage performance, and runway will be judged as entrants walk the stage. Entrants in the skit category have the option of being judged on craftsmanship. A single entry into the cosplay Main Stage is 1-2 individuals. Entries of 1-2 people are welcome to enter as a skit; however, if there are more than 2 individuals in your entry, you are required to enter as a skit. Skits may not exceed 6 people.

If you are unable to compete for any reason, please notify the cosplay directors immediately so we can withdraw your entry and allow another entry into the contest. Those who do not notify the cosplay staff of their withdrawal may be banned from the cosplay contests for the next year.

Main Stage Cosplay Rules

  • This is a Japanese culture convention, so cosplays should be based on licensed anime, manga, J-rock/J-pop, Japanese video games, etc. Characters/inspiration not of Japanese origin (e.g., The Avengers or Disney characters as you might find in Kingdom Hearts) do not meet this requirement. Fanart (original renderings of existing licensed characters) is fine; however, no original characters will be allowed. This rule does not apply if you are entering the Exhibition or in the Hallway Cosplay Contest.
  • No more than 5 entries are open for licensed non-Japanese origin characters. An example of this is Batman or Disney princesses. Licensed non-Japanese origin entries may enter any of the categories, but are not eligible for the Best in Show award.
  • Cosplays based on unlicensed characters may not enter the Main Stage Contest or Skit contest.
  • Surprise the audience, not the staff! Please speak to the cosplay directors if you have any unconventional plans outside of walking on and off the stage.
  • Stage time is limited to one minute per entry, unless you are entering a skit. Skits are allotted two minutes and thirty seconds maximum. Please be conscientious of your time! We will allow for no more than 40 additional seconds for taking your props backdrops materials on and off stage. 
  • There will be a mandatory meeting for all entrants in the Main Stage Cosplay Contest, Skit Contest and Exhibition on Saturday in Ballroom C--the Green Room. All members of your entry must attend to participate in the contest. Those not present at this meeting who haven’t cleared their absence with the cosplay directors in advance will be disqualified. Please notify the cosplay directors immediately if you need to withdraw your entry so we can give that slot to another cosplayer!
  • Runway music will be provided by Naka-Kon A/V staff for all Main Stage Contest and Exhibition entries unless otherwise arranged before the contest.
  • Your audio must also adhere to a PG rating. All music must be submitted via dropbox. The registration form will have a link to dropbox where you can upload your audio, or if you are unable to submit your audio at the same time as your application, the drop box link will be posted here on the website the day the application is opened.
    • Music files should be in .mp3 format, inability to present your audio in this format means we cannot promise it will play on our system. Audio on phones, websites (like YouTube), and other formats will not be accepted.
    • You must label your audio file with the name you would like to be announced on stage, e.g. Tomochan Cosplay
  • Contestants may not bring anyone other than designated handlers or guardians to the Green Room. Unauthorized individuals in the Green Room will be asked to leave.


All contestants will self-sort into class level. This ensures that each participant is judged fairly among those in their same skill level.

  • Beginner: Any contestant who has never won an award in any costume/cosplay contest, or has won 2 or fewer small cosplay awards (e.g., a judge’s choice award, or best beginner runner up). This is also a category you must enter if you are under the age of 14. At least 50% of your costume must be made by you.
  • Intermediate: Any contestant who has won two or fewer category awards in any costume/cosplay contest, or convention cosplay contest (e.g. Best Beginner, or Best Beginner craftsmanship), or three or more small cosplay awards (e.g. a judge’s choice award) At least 65% of your costume must be made by you.
  • Master: Any contestant who has won three or more category awards in any costume/cosplay contest, or convention cosplay contest, or someone who has income exceeding $10,000 per year from costuming, cosplay, sewing, prop construction, wig construction/styling, or any other costume/cosplay-related field. At least 75% of your costume must be made by you.

If you are entering the contest with other people, your class will be determined by the highest class achieved by members of your entry (e.g. if you are a Beginner and your partner is a Master, you must enter the Master category, etc.). If you aren’t sure what class you are in, please contact the cosplay directors.

Please note the cosplay directors reserve the right to move you to an appropriate class at any time without prior warning in the interest of the integrity of the contest.

Craftsmanship Requirements

Craftsmanship judging will occur ahead of the Main Stage Cosplay Contest through prejudging on Saturday of the contest. Your prejudging time is determined by your cosplay class via block scheduling. You will receive information about your judging time slot approximately one week before Naka-Kon. While cosplay contests do eat up quite a bit of your Saturday schedule, block scheduling allows contestants to enjoy the convention prior to to their judging, as well as take time to eat, hydrate, and rest before the Main Stage Contest. As much as we’d love to keep you to ourselves, we want you to spread your wings and enjoy the convention as much as possible!

Please show up to your designated time block and be prepared to explain how you made your costume. If you had a friend or family member make your cosplay for you, you can present the costume as their model, however, the award will be given to the creator of the costume, and we’ll leave it to you to divide up any awards you receive. Both the creator and the model must be registered attendees of Naka-Kon.

  • Craftsmanship Contest entrants are assigned a time slot based on their class. All judging will take place on Saturday before the contest.
  • Judging will take place at the craftsmanship judging table in Ballroom C. Please come through the doors to the front of the room to check in. You will be called up to meet with the judges.
  • Each entrant will have 5 minutes with the judges to discuss how the costume was made and answer any questions the judges may have. Be prepared for judges to look closely at your work such as seams, paint job, wig styling and detailing. NOTE: Judging is minimally invasive, however we know some contestants may feel uncomfortable with the judges touching them/ their costume. Please let the cosplay directors know if this is the case so we can make accommodations. A trusted handler may be brought in to judging to flip seams, or additional reference pictures may need to be added to the progress book so the judges can see the interior parts of the costume.
  • Be sure to tell the judges about things you’d like to highlight on your costume. Likewise, please tell the judges about any elements on your costume you did not make.
  • All members of your entry must be present for the full length of the judging session.
  • Entrants who are not present at their judging time slot will be disqualified from the Main Stage Contest. Entrants are encouraged to show up for judging 5 minutes before their scheduled time.
  • You must bring printed character reference photos for judging as well as at least 3 progress photos. Front and back reference photos are highly encouraged! Your progress books will be returned to you after the contest in Ballroom C, so to make this process easier, please label your books.
  • Reference and progress photos must be printed and bound in some way (binder clips, staples, glue, safety pins…) No photos from your phone/tablet/computer will be accepted.

Runway Performance

The runway requirements are fairly straightforward: contestants will be able to walk the runway and pose at several points marked on the stage. Feel free to make your stage presentation/entrance creative so long as it fits in with all cosplay and Naka-Kon rules/guidelines. This is an opportunity to show off your ability to pose as your character would, and enchant the audience with your walk on the stage. Keep in mind that this is a judged portion of the cosplay contest, so you will have up to 1 minute to hit the audience and judges with the ol’ razzle dazzle!

  • You may provide your own music for your performance in .mp3 or .wav format. Music submission methods are currently being evaluated, and when the method is solidified, these rules will be updated.
  • Runway time is limited to 1 minute. If you need more time than that, you must enter as a skit.
  • Runway tech rehearsal is mandatory if you plan to use your own audio. You will be assigned a time slot for tech rehearsal sometime on Saturday morning. This will be given to you with your confirmation email.

Skit Contest

Do you need more time than a minute to showcase your talent on the stage? Do you have more than two people for your entry? Look no further than the Skit Contest! Skits usually contain some element of pre-recorded dialogue and/or music, where individuals act out a particular scene on stage. This is also the category for you if you have more than 2 members in your entry. Should you choose to enter the Craftsmanship Contest as well with your skit, you will be judged based on the member of your skit group with the highest class (e.g., if your skit group is made up of 3 Beginners and a Master, your craftsmanship judging will be judged at Master level). If you do not enter in the craftsmanship category, you will not be eligible for Best in Show.

Skit Contest Rules

  • All skits must adhere to the General Contest Rules and applicable Main Stage Contest rules listed above.
  • Skits are limited to 6 people.
  • Skits are limited to two minutes and thirty seconds in length. All content/dialogue must adhere to a PG rating.
  • No Karaoke or dance-only performances. You are welcome to perform Karaoke during the Karaoke contest.
  • If you wish to be judged on craftsmanship for your skit, you are also subject to craftwork requirements listed above.


Just want to walk the runway and show off your costume? Are you a Naka-Kon staff member or guest and just want to show the audience your moves? Is this your first time on stage and you just want to try it out before you enter a cosplay contest? This is the category for you! Exhibition entrants will walk the stage during our halftime show. There are no prizes associated with this category, nor is there a class assignment. It’s just a stress-free, fun way to show off your costume.

  • Entrants must be registered convention attendees for Naka-Kon 2020.
  • Exhibition entries may not exceed 6 people.
  • Each Exhibition entrants will have 30 seconds on stage with pre-selected music by the Naka-Kon A/V staff.
  • If you are under the age of 14, you must be accompanied by an adult who is also a registered attendee of Naka-Kon.
  • Exhibition sign ups will be online during the cosplay contest registration period. Any left over slots will be available at-con on Friday from 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Hallway Cosplay Contest

Do you like to cosplay, but hate large crowds? Are you an avid cosplayer who has too many costumes for just one event? Is your favorite costume from a show/game/other media that didn’t originate in Japan? Then the Hallway Cosplay Contest is for you! Come to the Hallway Cosplay area during the convention, fill out a short form, talk to the judges for a few minutes, and be on your way. No pre-registration required.

  • Friday Hallway contest is on Friday  from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Cosplay Contest Registration/Check-in tables inside Ballroom C.
  • Sunday Hallway Cosplay contest judging is on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Both Friday and Sunday Hallway Cosplay winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremonies. If you win a prize and cannot attend the Closing Ceremonies, Naka-Kon will mail you your award.

Hallway Cosplay Judging Rules and Criteria

  • Costumes can be from any source in the world; entries are not limited to characters/concepts from Japan. Hallway is a less strict version of the Main Stage Contest.
  • The Hallway Cosplay contest is craftsmanship focused. At least 30% of the cosplay should be constructed by you. 
  • Entrants should bring printed photos of their costumes’ sources. If you need to pull the images up on your smartphone, these will be accepted.
  • Entrants may enter alone or in a group. Groups count as a single entry. Group size cannot exceed 5 people. 
  • Cosplayers may enter multiple costumes, but not the same costume multiple times. Entrants may only enter one costume per day (i.e., one on Friday and one on Sunday).
  • Friday Hallway contest is from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Cosplay Contest Registration/Check-in tables inside Ballroom C. 
  • Sunday Hallway Cosplay contest judging will be from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • Both Friday and Sunday Hallway Cosplay winners will be announced at the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday. If you win a prize and cannot attend the Closing Ceremonies, Naka-Kon will mail you your award.


Everyone entering a Main Stage Cosplay Contest or the Hallway Cosplay Contest is eligible for one of the many awesome prizes! The award categories are as follows:

Main Stage Cosplay Awards

  • Judge's Choice Awards - Awards given out by judges based on their personal impressions of the cosplay
  • Best Beginner - Best overall in the beginner class for runway and craftsmanship
    • Best Beginner Craftsmanship - Best craftsmanship in the Beginner class
    • Best Beginner Runway - Best runway performance in the Beginner class
  • Best Intermediate - Best overall in the Intermediate class for runway and craftsmanship
    • Best Intermediate Craftsmanship - Best craftsmanship in the Intermediate class
    • Best Intermediate Runway - Best runway performance in the Intermediate class
  • Best Master - Best overall in the Master class for runway and craftsmanship
    • Best Master Craftsmanship - Best craftsmanship in the Master class
    • Best Master Runway - Best runway performance in the Master class
  • Best Skit
  • Best in Show - The highest award of the cosplay contest for anyone. All entries are eligible to win this award except for non-Japanese source entries, non-craftsmanship skits, and exhibition entries.

Hallway Cosplay Awards

  • Best Beginner - Friday
  • Best Beginner - Sunday
  • Best Intermediate - Friday
  • Best Intermediate - Sunday
  • Best Master - Friday
  • Best Master - Sunday
  • Best in show - Best overall of both Friday and Sunday entrants
  • Judge’s choice awards

Important Times

Online Registration: Online Registration will be open February 5 at 6:00 p.m. CST until March 5 at 6:00 p.m. CST. If we fill up before this date, registration will close earlier, so please make sure to register as soon as possible. Contestants will receive confirmation of their acceptance into the contest within one week of registering. Emails indicating craftsmanship judging time slot will be sent no later than one week before Naka-Kon.

Any spots not filled, as well as our limited number of on-site slots (15), will be available during on-site registration. You do not need to be in costume for registration/check in. Come in, check in/register, then be on your way to enjoy the convention!

At-Con Registration and Check in

  • Check-in for the Main Stage Cosplay Contests and Exhibition is on Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Ballroom C. This is where you will confirm your participation in the Main Stage Contests or Exhibition if you pre-registered.
  • On-site registration for the Main Stage Cosplay Contests and Exhibition is on Friday from 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in Ballroom C.

Main Stage Cosplay Contest Craftsmanship judging times: You will be assigned a judging time block no later than one week before the convention via email, within the larger block of time designated for your class level. Please show up to your judging time at least 5 minutes early!

Tech rehearsal: If you wish to use your own audio, or want to practice your stage walk ahead of time, please show up to tech rehearsal. Your tech time will be given to you with your judging time slot. This will be in Ballroom C. You don’t need to be in costume, but you may want to bring anything bulky/tricky so you can adjust your presentation if needed. Tech rehearsal is required for anyone using their own audio. Please note that rehearsal may run concurrent with your judging time block--this is okay! The cosplay directors will ensure that there is time for both. We may run your audio before or after your judging time.

Green Room: All contestants and Exhibition entries must show up to Ballroom C. This is so we can get you lined up and ready for the show.

Main Stage Cosplay Contest and Exhibition Show flow:  After all contestants walk, there will be a half-time show while our judges deliberate, at which point the Exhibition will begin. After the halftime show, awards will be given out.

Hallway Cosplay Contest Times:
Entrants will be judged on their cosplays from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. This location is inside Ballroom C at the Hallway Cosplay Contest registration table.


To register for the Main Stage Contests or Exhibition, please do so online (see link below). Online Registration will close on March 5, 2020 at 6:00 p.m, or after the number of available slots fill. Slots will go fast, so be sure to pre-register as soon as possible. We will have a limited number of slots open on-site on Friday. Online pre-registered cosplayers may check in from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. and any remaining slots will be open from 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. If you are unable to pre-register, and can’t make it to on-site registration, fear not! You can still enter the Hallway Cosplay Contest!

Sign up here

  • Pre-registration: Available for the first 40 entries for the Main Stage Cosplay Contests, and the first 10 entries for the Exhibition.
  • At-convention registration: The remaining 15 slots for the Main Stage Cosplay Contest and the remaining 5 slots for the Exhibition will be available at the convention at the Cosplay Registration/Check-in table in Ballroom C on Friday (see times above). Any regular and non-Japanese costume slots not filled during the online pre-registration period, or vacant spots due to last minute dropouts will also be given out on-site. That is why it is IMPERATIVE that if you find you cannot compete, you let the cosplay directors know immediately.
  • If you are using your own audio, please submit the audio to the drop box. Your music must be labeled with the stage name you submitted in the official sign up form, e.g.: Tomochan Cosplay.

Cosplay Etiquette

In General: Cosplay is not consent. This means:

  • Do not touch a cosplayer, their costume, or their props without permission.
  • Do not take photos of a cosplayer without asking permission and allowing them to pose first.
  • Do not use the zoom feature to highlight only aspects of a cosplayer without their consent. If you would like them to do a specific pose or do a closeup of a certain aspect, ask them!
  • Do not make any lewd or suggestive comments to a cosplayer because of what they are wearing. Unwanted criticism/critique or comments directed at cosplayers may be treated as harassment. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Criticizing someone because of their race, gender, body, etc.
    • Making snide remarks about skill level.
    • “I/someone else could do that better” statements.
    • Unwelcomed critiques of their cosplay. Unless a cosplayer specifically asks for feedback about how to do something better, do not give it.
    • In short: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Etiquette for Photographers:

  • Please do not use flash or auto-focus assist lights during the cosplay contest! It makes it difficult for cosplayers to see when they are walking across the stage.
  • Do not ask to take photos with only one cosplayer out of a group from the same series/clearly in a group cosplay. Take a picture of the group, and if you’d like an individual shot of your favorite character, ask later.
  • Please be mindful of your equipment that may block walkways, entryways, or other general traffic.
  • Only official Naka-Kon photographers and press will be allowed in the Green Room.

Etiquette For Cosplayers:

  • Be fully aware when in a large costume or in a costume with protruding elements (like wings, tails, etc.). If you cannot see well, make sure you have a friend help make sure your pathways are clear.
  • If asked for a photo, move out of the flow of traffic, against a wall, or to a less common area.
  • If you are wearing extensive makeup or body paint, seal it properly. You don’t want to be in a situation where you cause damage to something (e.g., the pool, hotel or convention center decorations, etc.).
  • Do not use being “in character” as an excuse to be a jerk, make lewd or suggestive comments, or physically or verbally bother someone. The harassment policy still applies to you, regardless of who you are dressed as.
  • You may not, under any circumstances, Black/Brownface, or wear any costumes that are offensive or disrespectful to any group of existing, living cultures and people. This includes darkening your skin to match that of an existing race, wearing Nazi regalia, etc.
  • Do not use accessible stalls or other designated accessibility areas to change or store props unless you would otherwise need that space. Doing so can result in the removal of your prop, or removal from the cosplay contest.
  • If you are not a cosplay handler or cosplayer in the contest, please do not hang out in the Green Room.
  • There may be photographers in the green room. You are welcome to politely refuse photography if you do not wish to be photographed.
  • Please remember that Green Room is a collective space with a lot of nervous energy. When in the Green Room, please be mindful of your noise level, how much space you are taking up, as well as the content of your conversations.


  • Accuracy: This term is in reference to how closely your costume and/or stage presence matches your character and/or reference images in terms of color, choices and overall character essence. If you deviated from the reference, is the deviation sensible? Areas NOT considered for accuracy include: race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between the cosplayer and the character.
  • Altered (vs. Made) Cosplay: Altered items are elements of your cosplay that have been purchased or fabricated by someone other than the contestant and modified in some way, such as repainted, or embellished. This is not the same as elements of your costume that have been made, or fabricated by the contestant. Please note altered costumes will generally score lower on craftsmanship than made costumes in the cosplay contest.
  • Category Award: This is an award that has won a first place class or area award at Naka-Kon or other conventions, such as Best Beginner, Best Intermediate Craftsmanship, Best Master Runway, etc. This does not include a Judge’s Choice award or a runner up award.
  • Class: Your rank within a contest based on the number of awards you have received: Beginner, Intermediate and Masters. Each contest and convention has different ways of determining this, so please make sure you read the information carefully.
  • Entry: Participant(s) registered in any of the cosplay contests. May include more than one person.
  • Exhibition: This is a non-judged stage presentation open to individuals who want to walk the stage and show off for the audience!
  • Fanart: Cosplays that have characterization rooted in existing licensed characters, but have been reworked artistically. This includes reworks of licensed characters and licensed character interpretations (e.g., Pokemon gijinka, your interpretation of a licensed podcast character etc.) Fanart also includes mashups of licensed characters (e.g., Kingdom Hearts style Sailor Moon).
  • Green Room: Pre-show meeting place in Ballroom C. This is usually an hour before your actual stage walk. This is an opportunity to make sure everyone is present, organized and ready to go.
  • Main Stage Cosplay Contests: These are the judged elements of the Saturday cosplay contest that takes place on stage. At Naka-Kon, the Main Stage Contest areas are: Craftsmanship, Runway, and Skit, with awards in each category.
  • Minor Award: Awards that are not category specific nor first place awards in those categories. Examples would include a Judge’s Choice award, a runner up award, best prop award, etc.
  • Offensive Cosplays: “Offense” is a somewhat subjective term, but we are functioning with the following definition: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface) as well as costumes that replicate historic or current international or national tragedies. The goal is to make sure our attendees feel safe, included, and appreciated, so cosplays should reflect this intent.
  • Original Characters: Characters that are not licensed characters. For the Main Stage Contests, you may only enter characters that are from licensed materials. Original Characters are allowed in the Exhibition or the Hallway Cosplay Contest.
  • PG Rating: No nudity or coarse language. Simulated violence and thematic situations are okay.
  • Progress and Reference photos: Progress photos are images that document the elements of your costume that you made and highlight anything particularly interesting/difficult about your costume. Reference images are images of the character you are personifying. These images bust be presented in a hard copy form (i.e. “Progress book) and bound in some way (e.g. in a binder, a folder, stapled together etc.) No digital copies or photos on your phone allowed.
  • Sandbagging:  Sandbagging has two meanings in the cosplay community, and both may disqualify you from the contest and bar you from competing in the Contest at Naka-Kon in future years:
    • Intentionally placing your costume in a skill class lower than yours to increase your chances of an “easy win.” For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate class at the discretion of the judges and cosplay directors without prior notice.
    • Re-entering a cosplay for which you have already won a category award.
  • Script: A script is a general description of your stage blocking and complete dialogue. No specific format is required, but we do need to have a good idea of what it is that you will be doing/what your recorded dialogue will project to the audience.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the cosplay directors at