First and foremost, this article is basically what’s on the Wikipedia page about the World Cosplay Summit, just exceptionally condensed. I could give you the history of when certain countries entered the competition, but you can easily go look that all up.
The World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is an annual international cosplay event that promotes friendly international exchange through Japanese pop culture. The WCS is organized by the events division of TV Aichi and has the active support of local volunteers, city organizations and businesses. The parade and championship are held in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan with several related events being held in the Kanto, Kansai and Tokai areas. A cosplay stage performance competition called the ‘Cosplay Championship’ was first held at Aichi Expo in 2005. The selection of national representatives for the event comes from preliminary and regional rounds held at partnering anime/manga events of the respective countries of the participants. With keen interest in Japanese youth culture from abroad, as of 2008 three ministries of the Japanese government have given support to the event; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Japanese embassy representatives often attend preliminaries at events in different countries as well.
The WCS has grown from a weekend event in 2003 and is currently held over a one-week period where the representatives visit different parts of Japan, including Akihabara, Kyoto and Sendai, in promotion of Japanese youth culture and its ability to connect internationally. The parade and championship have been held on the Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of August since 2006.
The first WCS was held in 2003 to highlight the international popularity of Japanese anime and manga through cosplay, and to brighten up Expo 2005 in Nagoya. The representatives for the first year were from Japan, Germany, Italy, and France. The event has grown year by year and has come to include over 20 countries and encompasses several events including the Osu Cosplay Parade and Cosplay Championship. For 2013, the represented countries are Japan, the United States, Australia, Brazil, France, China, Taiwan, Spain, Singapore, Finland, Russia, Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, and Philippines.
The regulations of the preliminaries for each country are decided by the event in which the respective preliminaries take place. The following are participation regulations of the World Cosplay Summit finals in Japan:
1. Each country will be represented by one team of two cosplayers.
2. The costumes must be from Japanese anime, manga, video games and tokusatsu. Dojinshi and unique characters from live actor movies based on anime or manga are not permitted. (i.e. Dragonball Evolution etc.) When doing a costume from a game, the character must be recognizably Japanese. (i.e. not a Disney or Star Wars character even though the game may be made in Japan.)
3. Cosplay costumes are to be hand-made. It is permissible for family and friends to help with costumes, but the contestants should be actively involved in the construction process.
4. Prospective entrants must be able to travel to Japan for about one week from the end of July to early August for the World Cosplay Summit Championship.
5. Participating minors must have consent of a guardian. (Rules may vary depending on the preliminary rules in different countries)
6. Contestants must participate in a positive manner in order to ensure the success of the World Cosplay Summit.
7. Legal Documents (i.e. passport application, official documentation, etc…) must be prepared and submitted as quickly as possible at the request of TV Aichi.
8. Media such as TV programs, internet homepages, newspapers, magazines, etc., may use photos and images of the preliminary contests prior to the World Cosplay Summit. On these occasions, compensation will not be furnished.
9. All image rights in all media exposure, such as news from TV programs and other assorted media involved with the World Cosplay Summit, promotional activities in print media as well as events and performances, and announcements of the Cosplay Summit both prior and during the event, will be attributed to TV Aichi.
10. After the World Cosplay Summit, images, photographs, footage, programs broadcast, internet homepages and DVDs etc. of the contestants will come under the jurisdiction of TV Aichi. Compensation will not be furnished for such images used by the media.
Preparations are also suggested should one make it to the Japanese stage:
1. A minimum of three costumes must be brought to Japan: one for the parade, one for the championship, and one for media appearances.
2. In the Cosplay Championship, the costumes of the characters must be from the same Japanese manga, anime, video game or tokusatsu series. It is not necessary to coordinate costumes for the parade or otherwise.
3. All equipment, costumes and props for the Cosplay Championship performance are limited to a maximum weight of 40 kilograms combined for both performers.
4. All large props set on stage before the Cosplay Championship performance begins are limited to a maximum weight of 10 kilograms. Prop dimensions are limited to 2100 millimeters in height, 2100 millimeters in width and 900 millimeters in depth.
5. All large props set on stage are limited to a maximum of 3 items. Dimensions of hand held props carried onto the stage must be relayed to WCS head office in written form and accompanied by photographs.
6. It is not permitted to directly copy original drawings or logos to your equipment or props.
7. You are required to bear the cost of any overweight luggage charges when shipping costumes and other items. It is not possible to send them to Japan by air or ship beforehand.
8. Please prepare your own music for your performance. A performance sheet stating what you will perform is to be submitted in advance. The use of voice actors voices from original works in your music is prohibited.
9. Please send the documents and sound file at latest one month before the date of the Cosplay Championship.
The Championship judges are a panel of usually 5 guest judges from the anime, manga and cosplay community. Each judge of the cosplay championship can award 10 points for costume, 10 points for performance, and 5 points for faithfulness to the original work, for a maximum total of 25 points.