Using cosplay images without crediting the photographer is not cool. It’s a lot worse, though, when a European news program steals some cosplay footage, edits it then falls into the ol’ “all Asians look the same” trap.
This story ran recently on Spain’s Telecinco 5. It’s about Tokyo’s fashion culture, and seems to be little more than a combination of a “Haha Japan is weird” story and an advertisement for a new book called Tokyo Adorned, which looks at “Tokyo’s fashion tribes”.
What you’ll probably notice, though, is that half the footage shows people in cosplay. That footage was not shot by Telecinco; instead, it was used without permission from a video made by Thai cosplay videographer NaThalang. Here’s the original clip:
Note that this footage was used for a story on Tokyo fashion, even though it was actually from a cosplay convention held in Bangkok last year.
Cosplay is an artform/pastime that’s exploding in popularity, but it resonates mostly with young people who spend a lot of time on the internet. Older folks might not “get it”, or even be aware of it. That’s to be expected, and that’s fine. So the fact they seemingly confuse cosplayers with Tokyo street fashion, both of which are elaborate and colourful ways to dress, might be understandable!
But these aren’t “older folks”. It’s a TV news program. Grabbing some guy’s footage off YouTube – where the description, written in English, clearly says Japan Festa in Bangkok 2013 in giant bold text (Bangkok is spelled Bangkok in Spanish just like it is in English) – is pretty sloppy. Not to mention disrespectful to both NaThalang, whose work got lifted, and the cosplayers that get labelled as Japanese just because, you know, they’re Asian and that’s close enough.