Hi, so I'm Japanese-American and as Obon Odori starts (or is already starting).. is it weird that I think it's weird that people choose to cosplay at traditional events (especially non-Japanese)? Even Sakura Matsuri.. I don't understand why people need to cosplay at these "festivals"? I mean.. I feel that there's a ton of time to cosplay at other events but unless you're a child, it's weird to do so at these festivals?
No, it is not weird at all to feel that way.
Non-Japanese people cosplaying at obon and hanamatsuri is why I and many others stopped going because it hurt seeing our cultural traditions being made into yet another mockery where white folks in particular could prance around in cosplay and gawk at us doing our “weird asian-y” things, “look at all the Japanese geishas!”, and the awful creeper, fetishizing looks when they aren’t being rude as fuck and dismissive and passing judgement on who is “really Japanese” according to them as if they as outsiders are ultimate authorities on what Japanese and diaspora Japanese look like. These folks often ignore that obon is a celebration of our connection to family and friends we have lost and that hanamatsuri celebrates the birth and life of Shakyamuni Buddha, because to them these are just carnivals for fun and food, and to make themselves noticed with their out-of-place cosplay.
Sakura matsuris are more general Japanese culture festivals and apparently some even encourage cosplay with cosplay events/competitions so I’m a bit more “whatever” about folks cosplaying there, but it also tells me that those events are places I’m less likely to feel comfortable/safe at should I decide to attend.