Yuriko Tiger tells how it is like to be an Italian cosplayer in Japan and the eroticism that goes with this figure since the Nineties 

Italian version

Yuriko Tiger is a brave girl who had the guts to follow her dream, which was also one of my biggest childhood dreams: to live and work in Japan. Her real name is Eleonora Aureliana Guglielmi (the mother liked the actress Eleonor Duse). Originally from Imperia, she decided to transfer to the land of the Rising Sun at nineteen years old, first for six months to learn the Japanese language, then for a more extended time. Yuriko lives there since 2014 with an entertainment visa, she works as a talent and cosplayer on tv, at fairs and for photo shootings. She developed the cosplayer passion in 2008 with Suzumiya Haruhi No Yūutsu, even if cosplay struck her at 2007’s Lucca Comics. The girl discovered the anime and manga world because her father had a video game store where she worked part-time. Eleonora chose her name Yuriko Tiger for its cute and sweet sound. Yuriko was a Japanese girl who transformed into a cat-beast when she fought in the beat’em up video game Bloody Roar. It means “lily’s child” and it’s pretty standard in Japan. Tiger is from the main character of Toradora’s anime, Aisaka Taiga, who looks a lot like characteristically to Eleonora.

It’s impossible to list all of Yuriko’s works, programs and fairs of these years (she was also an idol for a short time). She is a tireless and professional worker. Lately, her YouTube’s Italian channel (currently her most updated channel is the Japanese one) has become more exciting thanks to the new column Tokyonese where she explores with the creative consultant Sara Waka (Wakapedia) all of the Japanese cultural aspects with interviews with Italian and Japanese characters, Tokyo’s explorations, experiences like Tokyo Olympics 2020 and reviews. They interviewed Loris Usai (@rorisu_in_japan), interpreter and translator, author of Trent’anni di Barazoku (Thirty Years of Barazoku), on the complex Japanese LGBTQIA+ world, made by enormous contradictions. Muracchi, a Japanese drag queen, manages a local bar in Shinjuku 2-choume and she is a fortune-teller. Y-san, a Japanese ex-hostess, reveals the club’s behind-the-scenes, where clients pay for girls’ or boys’ company (without sexual implications). Lala Kudo told how it is to be a porn actress in Japan. If you are passionate about this country, I suggest to binge watch all of Yuriko’s videos as I’ve done.

Recently a digital manga in collaboration with Accademia Europea di Manga (European Manga Academy) was released in English on Webtoon (title: Yuriko Tiger, author: Studio Cornelius). The cosplayer’s adventures inspire it with a fantasy touch. This summer Yuriko took part in the Los Angeles’ Anime Expo 2022 and spent a month in California to improve her English.

The most famous Italian cosplayer in the world will be at 2022’s Lucca Comics.

In a beautiful video, you show your cosplayer wardrobe’s organization. How do you create your costumes?

My wardrobe is always messy, but I have learned to manage it better over the years. I’ve always preferred to do characters that I like, however, times are changed and I’m trying to adequate on what is on trend right now. It’s part of my job to inform on the last releases, watch anime, and play video games. The cosplayer profession is not only wearing a costume but also knowing well the character played. Some of the costumes’ realizations require months if not even years. It’s also because I take my costumes’ funds from my fan clubs, and before reaching the figure, it takes some time. Indeed what I earn on Patreon I split mainly into three passages: paying the staff (two friends are helping me), investing in new cosplay projects (dresses, wigs and contact lenses), and I use the remaining amount to purchase personal things.

Do you sew your costumes?

I officially quit sewing in 2016 because I didn’t like it so much and it took me too much time. I prefer to give realization instructions and to take care of small accessories. I have two girls that create my costumes, one in Italy and the other in Japan, but I like to support small businesses or privates as much as possible. So if you’re a small tailor, contact me!

How gravure cosplay works instead?

In the gravure world, where I mainly interpret OC (Original Characters), I like to choose a theme or a concept or think of a short story. For instance, for my first photobook/cd-rom I played the Elf, partly because I’m a fan of Record of Lodoss War video game (in fact, you can sense some reference to the series’ characters even if they’re not so explicit because it’s an OC though) and partly because I love elf girls (when I was a child I wanted to operate my ears to have pointed like them!). The set realization’s time varies, depending on my available time. Generally, it takes three or four months because I have also to search for available photographers and photo studios.

When you’re doing cosplay which details should you pay attention to?

So far, I didn’t have problems with cosplay authorizations, but when you work professionally, it’s better to be careful with the copyright. In some cases, it’s recommended to stress that the cosplay is a character’s parody, especially if you realize a photobook to sell. My agency often requests the authorizations I need.

You’ve been talent and cosplayer for several years. This kind of career has a maximum duration in Japan and you’re already thinking of other works in the entertainment world that you’d like to do in the future?

I didn’t think I could stay afloat that long. I think things are much better now than years ago when I was younger. I know a 42 years old cosplayer who continues to do this job, but it’s also true that most cosplayers are doing a second job since cosplay events are only on weekends. For future projects, I’d like to start my company or to help others bridge between foreign countries and Japan in the otaku sector. Moreover, a little secretly, I’m dealing with virtual phenomena, studying those trending. I’m interested in marketing. Who knows! Honestly, life is so unpredictable that I can’t say! I could have thousands of plans, but not everything always goes in the direction you want. 

In a video, you tell us that there are different cosplayer types and we must pay attention because we may be considered porn actors. What’s the difference and in which genre is your cosplaying?

In Japan, the cosplayer figure has always been erotic since the first Nineties because it plays with costumes at the end. Nowadays, many cosplayers decide to pursue the career of porn actors as privates creating photo books, DVDs, and gadgets, without being obliged by anyone to do anything. Recently I joined for the first time CosHolic, an event where it is permitted to sell photo books and pictures to an adult audience. It’s divided into three sections: for all/R15/R18. The photo books (Elnora and Vanora) I realized are for all; despite this, I preferred to recommend them as R15 as there are sexy poses. The difference between a cosplayer and a gravure cosplayer is the following. When I’m doing cosplaying, I study the stroke, the voice tone and other things related to the character to be like it. Otherwise, in gravure, you need to think about how the character could be seen erotically, regardless of gender. You have to reflect on how to arouse forbidden thoughts.

You had some Japanese boyfriends. What are the most significant cultural pitfalls you met with them in how you live a relationship?

I’ve been with very few of them. The thing could have ended before it was born! I’m very independent and, even if I could seem a bit dumb, it’s just part of my character. When a man realizes that a woman is stronger than him, she’s no longer suitable for him. Often it seemed to me that many men should only say: “Hey! I’m with a foreigner!” There’s little communication, little physical contact and many lies. I’m not even the type who lives without someone next, but it’s tough because if you’re a woman in Japan, you could never find your better half. Japanese men prefer Japanese women. On the contrary, I observed that Japanese women are more open to foreign guys. I know many couples, Italian men — Japanese women but rarely vice versa. ‘You would be a perfect lover but never a perfect wife!’ my first Japanese boyfriend said to me and I felt so bad. Love takes a back seat, that’s why I have a cat called Love. Now I don’t have any man in my life and I’m happy.

You’ve been molested and stalked in Japan. In this case, Japanese law protects the molested person?

Unfortunately not. I succeeded in bringing the offender I caught on the train to the police, but the answer I received was: ‘You should change your job’, like doing talent is the same as saying you have stalking problems and staff. If you have been molested, the police will not often defend you.

In the last videos on the LGBTQIA+ community, you declared being bisexual. Is your sexual orientation an obstacle to your work?

Any person with a bit of an eye would understand that I’m not completely heterosexual. I’ve only posters with anime girls in my bedroom, and I look more at women than men. No, it never was an obstacle in nine years here. I just took away everything that could be my personal life on social media. In the end, it’s my business who I sleep with.

Some of your fans didn’t appreciate the latest years change into a rocker and a sexy cosplayer. Was the annoyance more from the Japanese or the Italian part? What is the reason, in your opinion?

Japanese people didn’t like the change from idol to rocker, while Italians appreciated it. Italian people didn’t like the transition from rocker to gravure idol, Japanese loved it instead. The main reason is that what fans want is entirely different depending on the country you are from (it’s a cultural reason). You need to consider that those who follow cosplayers in Japan are more than 24 or 25 years old and have often just entered the work world, while in Italy it’s the opposite. My rock period was one of the most beautiful ones, but at the same time, also heavy because I didn’t feel the least bit appreciated here. If anything, with gravure, I started to be more open-minded and more understanding towards the next. I admit that I also judged gravure idol a lot and still do not like some methods and reasoning for which some people do it, but I learned to understand that it is a job like any other. Moreover, it helps to accept more oneself: for me physical ‘flaws’, for others may be grounds of appreciation.

Which are the sexy cosplays that you’re particularly proud of?

Surely Elnora/Vanora, my two gravure photo books recently released into the Comiket and Cosholic events. I chose these OC names after doing some research on elfish terms. Elnora means light and Vanora white wave. Besides, I wanted to recall a little my real name Eleonora. I wished to create two faces of the same coin, similar but opposite. So I invented a nun and a maid, contrasting in colours and personalities. Calmness, Lolita, innocence and seduction for the maid and religion from my point of view for the nun: persuasion, violence, inaccessibility and deceit (too much tragic? Haha!). Those who think of gravure often see only a nice pair of tits and a great butt, but in everything I create, there is always a deep meaning.

How was your month in California?

I went to America also to evaluate how much I understand the English language (even if, in the end, I was hosted by a girl who talks mainly Italian), to do new experiences and to comprehend the American people. I’m a person who observes and thinks a lot, although I don’t show it! I admit I’d like to participate in more American fairs. They were so much fun!

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