Nanaha Tsukishiro, art dealer
Are you Alice from Wonderland?
NT: I’m Alice from Nagoya.
How many times have you exhibited at Geisai?
NT: This is my first time.
Why did you decide to participate this time?
NT: I feel at home here at Tokyo Big Sight. I’ve been cosplaying for about two years. I’ve been participating in a comics market that’s held here, too. I’ve been a character from a game called ‘Fate’, and I’ve also been Hatsune Miku. Some of the voice actors that I love most have even had live performances here, so you could say that Tokyo Big Sight is like a dreamland for me. When I heard that it was possible to perform in an art event, because Geisai is not just limited to anime, being held in this dreamland, I thought I’d like to give it a try.
Do you work in the art industry?
NT: I‘m an art dealer. My parents are art dealers, and I work with them.
So as an art dealer, how do you feel about what you have seen here today at Geisai #14?
NT: Not surprisingly, there are a lot of really unique works here. Now when it comes to the kind of work I’m doing, there is a tendency amongst Japanese people to view this kind of real Japanese otaku culture with the same negative bias. People from abroad, on the contrary, really love it. They get all excited and say things like, ‘Cool!’ and want to have their picture taken with me. It’s really gratifying. But I’ve actually had Japanese people tell me that I was disgusting. Needless to say, reactions like that make me sad, so I wanted to lessen that negative bias somehow. I decided that maybe if it was Alice or some other well-known, classic story, it would fit in a little easier with people’s world view, you know? Maybe uniting cosplay culture with a story that a lot of people are already familiar with would make things easier for people to understand. That said, I was still worried that people wouldn’t find me approachable. But you were kind enough to take a closer look, so I’m really happy that I decided to participate.
So do you cosplay while you’re working as an art dealer?
NT: From time to time. My father is all like, ‘how can you wear those kind of clothes to work?!?’, so there are definitely days when I wear a suit. But my mother says that it can actually be a selling point for our gallery, so there are also days when I cosplay at work.
Is there anywhere you always make it a point of getting to when you come to Tokyo?
NT: I definitely go to Akihabara every time I’m in town. I like the maid cafés, and maybe wouldn’t mind trying that kind of work myself sometime in the future. But these Tokyo maids are the real deal. They always give me a real jolt when I’m in their cafes. [Laughs]
More from Nanaha:
‘All it really takes is slipping into a costume, applying some make-up, and adjusting your wig. If you have an hour, then you’re good to go, no matter what kind of cosplay you’re talking about!’
‘You get your picture taken hundreds of times at these cosplay events, so I have gotten really, really good at posing!’
‘Tokyo is without a doubt the heart of art!’
Translated by E. Kavanagh