The World Cosplay Summit 2021 successfully took place last weekend, August 7th and 8th in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, as well as online.

Although most of the attention during the summit was on the high quality of the cosplay and the enthusiastic participation of the cosplayers, some of the focus was on reducing marine litter, thanks to the ongoing Cosplay de Umigomi Zero project (umigomi 海ごみ being the Japanese word for marine litter).

The Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Executive Committee, in collaboration with the Nippon Foundation, announced the first project of the "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone" focusing on beaches in Nagoya Prefecture's Chita Peninsula. The project will be implemented from September 2021 in collaboration with 5 cities and 5 towns in the peninsula, after which it will be expanded nationwide. It is also being conducted as part of Nippon Foundation's "Ocean and Japan Project - CHANGE FOR THE BLUE," a project to combat marine litter.

About the "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone" Project

Approximately 80% of marine litter reaches the seas drifted away by rivers from the continents and their cities. Once litter reaches the seas, it is difficult to collect. According to the "Aichi Prefecture Regional Plan for the Promotion of Coastal Debris Control" (2015), much marine litter has been confirmed drifting ashore in Chita Peninsula.

For cosplayers who often clean up the locations they use for their own photoshoots, this project will create an opportunity for them to reduce marine litter in a casual and fun way while opening up facilities near the sea, beaches, and various other local facilities for them to expand their range of activities. By posting photos on social networking services of the beaches and towns they have finished cleaning, they can broadly promote the charms of these areas and hopefully contribute to regional revitalization.

Outline of "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone" and future initiatives

At the declaration ceremony, Chairman Oguri of WCS, Managing Director Unno of the Nippon Foundation, representatives of five cities and five towns (Handa City, Tokoname City, Tokai City, Obu City, Chita City, Agui Town, Higashiura Town, Minamichita Town, Mihama Town, Taketoyo Town), and Aichi Prefecture Governor Ōmura took the stage.

In addition to declaring the start of the Cosplay Liberated Zone, the project's outline and upcoming cleaning events were announced. They called for cooperation in the campaign to reduce marine litter in collaboration with local governments and organizations.

Managing Director Unno gave a quiz on marine litter!

Mr. Unno, who appeared in cosplay, explained ocean-related issues through a quiz, which elicited some surprised reactions from the audience. Using a picture of the Chita Peninsula coast, he also introduced the fact that, although Chita Peninsula is surrounded by a bay which makes it difficult for garbage from other countries to wash ashore, a lot of litter from Japan washes out to the sea.

Examples of marine litter problems

  • About 8 million tons of garbage flow into the sea every year around the world.
  • In terms of weight, it is predicted that the total weight of garbage will exceed the total weight of living fish by 2050.
  • Plastic waste, which is the most common type of marine litter, does not completely decompose and remains in the ocean almost indefinitely; a plastic shopping bag lasts 20 years, a plastic bottle 450 years, and fishing tools and netting lasts 600 years.

English translations added by grape Japan.

Details of the "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone" project

Mr. Unno announced that three initiatives will be carried out from September in the "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone" project.

Initiative 1: Cleanup activities in conjunction with cosplay events

Cosplay photography + cleanup events will be held in each city and town.

On the day of the event, in addition to securing tongs, garbage bags, and a place to dispose of garbage, there will be "special panels" for taking pictures. For children, top-notch cosplayers will do their makeup and dress them up so that they can become their favorite characters.

First event: "Cosplay de Umigmo Zero Liberated Zone at Rinku Beach"

  • Date and time: September 5, 2021 (Sun.) 10:00 - 19:00
  • Place: Rinku Beach, Tokoname, Aichi Pref.
  • Participation fee: Free
  • Special event page
  • (The event will be held at the same time as "Cosmall 2021 Summer in AEONMALL Tokoname")

Initiative 2: Installation of special trash cans for collected litter

Following the successful model implemented on Yoron Island, Kagoshima in 2017, which won a Nippon Foundation Award in 2019, a "Hiroibako" 拾い箱 collection box will be set up along with tongs, garbage bags, and special panels to pick up litter on beaches and other places.

Hiroibako 1: 1010 Square

  • Location: Nanyo no Chichi 南洋の父 in 1010 (Tenten) Square (56-2 Okuda Amano, Mihama-cho, Chita-gun, Aichi Prefecture)
  • Installation period: Saturday, September 18, 2021 (World Cleanup Day) - about 3 months (tentative)

Initiative 3: Special website

A special website has been launched with information on the schedule of upcoming events, locations of Hiroibako, images of cosplayers who participated in the activities, and information on beaches and facilities where cosplay can be enjoyed.

Also, photos posted on SNS with the hashtag #umigomi_cos will be introduced in a gallery.

Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone official website

Appearances by idol units Chita Musume and BMK

Local voice actress idol unit Chita Musume (知多娘。) and Nagoya-based boy idol unit BMK joined the various representatives on stage during the ceremony to declare Chita Peninsula as a cosplay liberated zone!

After the ceremony, cosplayers got to work cleaning up!

After the event, representatives from the World Cosplay Summit, Nippon Foundation Executive Director Unno, Chita Musume, BMK, and about 50 cosplayers picked up trash around the venue.

Comments from representatives of each organization

Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation

"If marine litter continues to increase at this rate, it may have an even greater negative impact. The Nippon Foundation cares about the ocean. We would like to encourage cosplayers to enjoy taking photos in clean oceans and beaches. Therefore, after consulting with WCS, we decided to implement this project, "Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone."

We hope that Chita Peninsula will become a mecca for cosplay photography on beaches and coastal towns. Please give us your support!"

Hideaki Ōmura, Governor of Aichi Prefecture

"Aichi Prefecture was designated as an SDGs Future City two years ago, and last year we made a "Zero Plastic Waste Declaration."

I would like to ask many cosplayers to have fun on the coast of Chita Peninsula and pick up trash so that we can spread the movement of clean oceans from Chita Peninsula to the entire country. Thank you very much for your cooperation."

Tokumaru Oguri, Chairman, World Cosplay Summit

"The 'Cosplay de Umigomi Zero Liberated Zone' is an initiative to create opportunities for cosplayers to reduce marine litter while having fun in a casual manner, and also to enjoy taking cosplay photos at facilities near the sea, beaches, and various other local areas. As the first step, we will welcome cosplayers to the Chita Peninsula as a cosplay liberated zone.

To all cosplayers! Please stand up now and help us clean up the sea and towns of Chita Peninsula while having fun!"

By - grape Japan editorial staff.