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Tea Leaves

In Japan, clothes really do make the 'persona'

Across the ages, lexicon of dress reaches across hierarchies and sectors

A trio of cosplayers in well-cut outfits outside the Tokyo Big Sight building. (All photos by Stephen Mansfield)

The only time I recall dressing up with anything like obsessional relish was when, as a child, I managed to collect enough coupons from the back of Kellogg's Corn Flakes boxes to win a Zorro "masked avenger" outfit. The package came with a black cape, sombrero, domino mask and plastic sword, with a piece of chalk attached to the tip. With a new bicycle standing in as a steed, this fully weaponized me to dash around our staid residential neighborhood, incising "Z" signs on tree trunks and walls.

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