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    90s Kids: The Cosplayer

    Dress-up enthusiast Fusu says life in a costume is tough but liberating.

    Bao Ming was 26 years old when he received his new name, “Fusu.” It was the year he joined 304, a Hangzhou-based “costume play” group whose members get together to dress up as their favorite characters from movies, television, video games, and comic books.

    Cosplay has become increasingly popular in China in recent years, and the stars of the cosplay scene have managed to turn their passion into a profession. As one of the country’s best-known cosplayers, Fusu is asked to participate in elaborate stage shows at comic conferences, such as ChinaJoy.

    For Fusu, the cosplay community has become more like a family. “If I had never entered the world of cosplay, I might be leading a traditional life back home instead, like many of the people I knew growing up,” he said. “However, because of cosplay, I have gained so many new and different friends and experiences.”

    Cosplay has also given Fusu greater self-confidence. “When I attended a cosplay show for the first time,” he said, “I was astonished to realize, as I walked onto the stage, that people knew my name — they even cheered and asked for my autograph. It’s the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.”