Anti-Mask and Anti-Vax Anime Cosplayer Has Changed Hearts

Pictured is Kazuaki in full Demon Slayer cosplay.

One of the most visible anti-mask and anti-vax protesters in Japan is a cosplayer named Rengoku Kazuaki. Dress like Kyojuro Rengoku from Demon Slayer, he stands out with his spiky wig, long cape, and protest signs.

Rengoku Kazuaki has led anti-mask protests in crowded Tokyo neighborhoods, including one on Tokyo’s busiest train line. Wearing a mask was the norm in Japan before Covid-19 and has continued to do so during the pandemic. This practice has long been accepted by society, with people wearing masks to keep from catching colds or combating seasonal allergies, making sudden stance against them seems especially strange.

The mask-hating cosplayer even snuck into Japan’s largest manga convention Comiket, which enacted the mask regulation, and was immediately kicked off. YouTuber Joey cover up the bullshit of Rengoku Kazuaki—And how the cosplayer was recently arrested by police after tweeting about his plans for what appeared to be an anti-vax riot.

In mid-February 2022, as Tokyo experienced biggest Covid-19 wave to date, Rengoku Kazuaki called for a maskless demonstration at a rescue cat cafe in Shinjuku. One cat cafe manager became agitated, tweeting that doing so was hindering business – possibly meaning jail time in Japan. Eventually, the manager got Kazuaki’s address and went to his apartment, where he left a note on the door telling him not to go to the cat cafe. The other note told Kazuaki not to disturb others. The manager directly tweeted the entire incident in a series of now-deleted tweets.

Perhaps the reverse threat worked or the cosplay finally obeyed, but Kazuaki sorry and announced on Twitter that he had changed his mind. “Everyone, let’s stop wearing masks of protest,” I wrote. “Stop causing trouble for others!” (Interestingly, the cat cafe manager and Kazuaki, a cat owner, seem to be best friends.)

After that, cosplayers wearing masks then appeared in Tokyo, fully dressed Demon Slayer gears and bear a sign that requires others to cover their faces similarly. But a day later, he started running a fever. Kazuaki, who then had a PCR test that same night (while still full Demon Slayer costume), coming to Covid-19. “It’s different from the flu,” he said in one tweet video. “It’s really difficult.” He compared his previous maskless activities to “bioterrorism”.

Over the weekend, Rengoku Kazuaki directly tweeted about his experience with Covid-19, including when a doctor stopped by to check on him. “I participated in anti-mask and anti-vax activities,” Kazuaki tell the doctor, adding that he is still unvaccinated. “I met someone who made me change the way I do things.” Kazuaki thinks he got Covid-19 during a recent demonstration he went to and told the doctor he’d be wearing a mask ever since. While Rengoku Kazuki has changed his mind about the mask, now he is even thinking about getting a Covid-19 vaccine. Anti-Mask and Anti-Vax Anime Cosplayer Has Changed Hearts

Curtis Crabtree

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