Welcome Cosplayer!

Interested in competing with the best of the best costumers at Kawaii Kon? You’ve come to the right place!

Cosplay Contest Rules


Entry Requirements

  • Entrants must have a badge for the day of the convention that the Contest will be held on
    • Characters being cosplayed must have been created and illustrated by a 3rd party. Original characters are not allowed, unless created by a notable artist that is not yourself.
    • To enter the competition, your Cosplay must fall into one of these two categories:
      1. Majority of your costume was created by you. This may include reworking and modifying ready-made parts (such as boots, wigs, and gloves) as part of your costume.
      2. Your costume was assembled from at least 3 different sources of pre-made pieces, and you must have created at least one aspect or piece.
  •  Nudity or the showing of nipples, regardless of gender, is not allowed. This is a family friendly show, so if you are in doubt, please put some fabric on it.
  • Full costumes entered in previous Kawaii Kon cosplay-related contests cannot be entered in this contest; however use of parts from previous cosplays is allowed if the new costume is different and unique from the original donor costume.
  • Live Animals, Flash Power, Fireworks, Lasers, Electrical Flashes, Smoke Machines, and / or Aerosol Cans such as Paint, Hair Dye and/or Silly String are strictly forbidden.
  • All Props / Weapons must be inspected by KK’s Public Safety Department and conform to Kawaii Kon’s Prop Policy.
  • Bicycles, Rollerblades, Skateboards, Healies, Rip Sticks, or anything that may be deemed a vehicle of transportation is not permitted at the Hawaii Convention Center nor in our contest
    • Note: The only exception to this rule is for people with disabilities who utilize mobility devices.
  • All participants under 16 require a parent or guardian at prejudging and check-in at the Contest (see more info below). Requests for exemptions or modifications of this rule must be made at least 7 days prior to prejudging; please contact us for consideration at events@kawaiikon.com.
  • Participants must select a category to compete in from the following; if unsure which category you fit in, please contact us and we can guide you:
    • Youth Category – aged 14 and below, and has never won any cosplay-related award at any show
    • Novice Category – 15 years or older, and never won any cosplay-related award at any show
    • Journeyman Category – any age, has won 1-2 previous cosplay awards at any show
    • Masters Category – any age, has won 3+ cosplay awards at any show
  • Only one costume entry is eligible per person unless entered as a group from the same series.
  • Group entries are allowed but are considered as 1 entrant, are judged together, and will receive only one prize if they win any category.
  • The showcase is limited to the first 60 entrants, so please submit your online entry forms early as entries will be on a first come, first served basis. You are considered an ‘official’ entrant once you receive a confirmation email with your prejudging timeslot.

Reference Material

  • Reference material is required for entry. Please bring any and all reference material with you at the time of judging, the more material you bring, the better.
  • Reference images should prominently show the character and any salient details your cosplay work is based on and will be used during judging.
  • Your entry form must include at least one digital submission: the bigger, the better. We will be projecting a reference image while contestants walk across the stage, so make sure your image is as large and crisp as possible. Please don’t alter the aspect ratio or stretch your image.
  • No matter how popular your character or series may be, do not assume the judges will be familiar with any particular series or character – always bring reference material with you for judging.
  • For prejudging, please also bring any additional reference material you feel is required to inform the judges on the character you are cosplaying or details you would like to relay to them. Reference material can be from any source, either digital / online, color prints, or in printed materials such as books or magazines.
  • Contestants failing to provide any reference materials are subject to disqualification at the discretion of the judges.



  • Contestants must adhere to all Kawaii Kon Code of Conduct rules at all times. This applies to costumes, props / weapons, contestants, parents / guardians, and performances.
  • Contestants are expected to observe the follwing additions:
    • All contestants must be respectful and careful of each other, their costumes and their props at all times. Willful damage of costumes and/or props as well as inappropriate behavior towards other contestants will not be tolerated.
    • The Kawaii Kon Cosplay Contest is a family-oriented event. If it is not appropriate for a PG-13 rating, do not wear it, and/or do not perform it.
    • All Props and Weapons must follow the Kawaii Kon Props Policy, and while on stage, they may be unsheathed for display, but must not be swung around.
    • You are not allowed to act in a manner that may cause risk to yourself and/or any other person.
    • Contestants are prohibited from jumping or running off stage.
  • Any infraction of our rules of conduct are grounds for disqualification from the Cosplay Contest, removal from the event, forfeiture of badge, and expulsion from the convention center.



  • Once your online submission has been received, you will receive your judging time one week before the convention.
  • Please show up 15 minutes before your time slot and check-in with a staff member to allow for early judging flexibility. If you do not arrive on time without notifying the staff, you forfeit your slot.
    • Note: If time allows, you may be able to be waitlisted and still considered. However, this is not guaranteed and should not be relied upon.
  • During your time slot, the judges of the contest will ask you to provide reference materials and ask specific questions about the process and appearance of your costume.


Walk-On Entries

  • If you would like to participate as a walk-on entry (be on stage, but not be judged or considered for an award) you can fill out a walk-on form that is available during the prejudging event.
  • Signups for walk-ons are on a first come, first served, and as time permits basis: there is no guarantee that you will be able to participate.
  • All walk-ons are expected to follow the same Conduct Rules as stated above and must be available for both rehearsal and the Cosplay Showcase to participate.


Cosplay Showcase

  • The Cosplay Contest will have a mandatory rehearsal that occurs directly before the Cosplay Contest in Main Events, and up to one hour in duration. Accepted contestants are expected to stay the full duration of this rehearsal and then proceed straight into the Cosplay Showcase event. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled rehearsal start time to make sure you are ready to go.
    • Note: Failure to show up on time for rehearsal may result in disqualification and/or dismissal from the Contest.
  • Food and beverages other than water are not allowed during rehearsal.
  • During rehearsal, you will be placed in order of entry number provided at your prejudging and will wait your turn to walk the runway. While you wait, please be respectful of other entrants and follow all Kawaii Kon crew instructions.
  • Once on the runway, you will have between 30 and 60 seconds on stage to pose for the cameras and show off. If you exceed your time limit, you will be asked to leave the stage. Failure to do so may result in disqualification and/or dismissal from the competition.
    • No audio or visual equipment or opportunities will be provided.
    • External sound effects are allowed only if the entrant has their own speaker and if it can be executed within the time provided.
    • No physical or verbal interaction with the audience or MC is allowed.
  • If an entrant is unable to safely reach the stage, accommodations will be made for the entrant to walk on the ground level through the audience.
  • After rehearsal is completed, you must remain in the immediate vicinity for the Cosplay Contest: if you need a moment to fix your outfit or need a short moment to yourself, please let one of the Kawaii Kon crew know and return as quickly as possible. The contest will mimic the rehearsal with the same guidance above.
  • Upon exiting the stage, contestants must remain backstage for the awards ceremony. If you are not present, you will not be able to win.


Award Categories

  • Prizes may be awarded in the following categories listed below. Please note that some categories may not be awarded at the discretion of the judges and / or by Kawaii Kon.
    • Judges Choice – Award medal
    • Best Youth – Trophy and $100
    • Best Novice – Trophy and $200
    • Best Journeyman – Trophy and $300
    • Best Master – Trophy and $400


Final Thoughts

  • Kawaii Kon is the final arbiter for all rules, circumstances, and disputes, and may change rules at any time as necessary to fit the overall integrity and intent of the Cosplay Contest.

If there are any questions on the above, please contact us at events@kawaiikon.com