heres a little history on kigurumi by kigurumi leigh.
WHAT IS KIG?
While most of you might already know what Kigurumi is, I’ve been asked to write a bit on what Kigurumi is for those curious. I’ll be gathering information from both friends, Wikipedia and the internet for this, but also drawing on my experience with kigurumi, after all, reading about it only teaches you half what you need to know.
Well first of all, it’s best to separate the different kinds of Kigurumi. In Japan, Kigurumi is basically costumed mascots, and thus includes things like theme park costumes, fur suits as well as the Kigurumi we know. In the west, Kigurumi is used for two things mainly. Both for the Kigurumi we know, and for the hooded Pajama clothing which have been growing in popularity with co players recently. In general, our kind of Kigurumi is known as Animegao.
Animegao started off in Japan, where it is widely used in anime stage shows, main examples being Sailor Moon and Digimon. Fans of this style also started taking up kigurumi both as a hobby, and a lifestyle. It is generally more accepted there, and as such its popularity grew to the numbers it is today, which can see anything around 30 performers turning up to events.
The next place to get Kigurumi fever on a big scale was America, starting off with a few performers who got their masks from Japanese makers. However, the most known of these performers was Yuri, who made Kigurumi more known. Most Western kigurumi performers nowadays can trace the start of their kigurumi life to Yuri’s site, which served as both inspiration and a good example that the west could do kigurumi as well as Japan.
From there, more mask makers started to appear, and with the increase in makers, the number of performers increased too with more options. It was only a matter of time before kigurumi crossed over the sea once more to Europe. It started off small, and the first known site for European kig performers being Kigurumi.co.uk, a site ran by Loopy, one of the first UK kigurumi performers, with side sites for both Monochrome, a kigurumi performer from Finland with her own selfmade mask, and my first gallery.
From there, more performers slowly appeared around Europe, including Plastic sister. In this last year however, the number of kigurumi performers in Europe has increased rapidly, with kigurumi from both outside the UK, like Caugun, Ayame and Hikarinaka. Inside the UK, Europe got its first public kigurumi mask maker in Alice, who despite only starting early in the year making masks, has shown a great increase in skill.
Most recently, there was the biggest meet up of Euro kig performers so far at J-con 2009, a meet that would help plan both upcoming and future kigurumi letups in Europe, as well as this very site. As for the future of Kigurumi, with kigurumi performers also trying their hand at mask making, and kigurumi becoming more and more known in the public eye, although we are at no level as Japan at the moment, we are surely on the right track to become as accepted. The future of Kigurumi definitely seems bright.