Yohanes, an amateur cosplayer from Jakarta, in his Allen Walker suit. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jakarta Cosplayer's Posthuman World


MAY 29, 2020

Yo's face was beaming. His weariness vanished once he entered his bedroom. "Welcome to my world," he said as he opened the door. The room is dimly lit and messy. The sharp smell of room freshener emanates from a plastic cabinet where rows of waifu (female dolls, katakana for "wife") were displayed.

The waifus welcomed Yo with joyful smiles. He stared at them for a while before falling asleep while cuddling a dakimakura (a bolster in the shape of a female anime character).

"I was a true weebo [someone obsessed with Japanese pop culture] since I was very young," Yo said.

Yo, real name Yohanes, grew up in the '90s as "anak kolong," the son of a soldier in the Army. He was often bullied by his friends for being a bit heavy so he spent most of his time in front of the TV watching Japanese anime.

In 2016, Yo took his obsession a step further by becoming an amateur cosplayer after he broke up with his girlfriend.

Yo's number one waifu is called Nico. He takes Nico everywhere with him, including on a holiday trip to Japan and on trips around Jakarta on weekends.  

"Traveling and going out with Nico is more fun because she knows how to pose. She's more alive," Yo said. 

According to Semiarto Purwanto, an anthropologist from the University of Indonesia, Yo's relationship with his waifu is symptomatic of a posthuman world: when humans start to lose their humanity, they start to build relationships with non-human actors – like a waifu. 

Mas Agung Wilis Yudha Baskoro is a Jakarta-based photojournalist currently working for Jakarta Globe. He is one of the grantees of the Permata Photojournalist Grant 2019 from PermataBank, Erasmuis Huis & PannaFoto Institute. This photo story was part of an exhibition at Erasmus Huis, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jakarta, on March 5. All photos in this story were taken on a Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II with a pancake EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. 

Yohanes perceives that he never lose himself while playing as Allen Walker. He and Allen has become one fresh character living in imaginative world. This character is the combination of Yohanes and Allens good sides. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes as Allen Walker, a character from the anime D.Gray-man. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The waifu collection belong to Yohanes. Waifu is a slank word in Japanese, adopted from the word wife in english. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo's waifu collection. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes sleep cuddling dakimakura. Dakimakura
Yo asleep cuddling his dakimakura printed with a picture of Rem, a female character from the anime Re: Zero - Starting Life in Another World. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes wears heterochromia contact lens to physically more resemble to character of Allen Walker. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo wears different-colored contact lenses to look more like Allen Walker. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes Waifu named Nico pose in bed. Nico is a pure neemo from Love Live anime. Yohanes has taken Nico for vacation in Japan and also brings her sightseeing in Jakarta on holidays. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo's favorite waifu, Nico, a character from the Love Live anime. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Imaginative character of Yohanes is holding flowers. Yohanes dreams for delicate and beautiful world as reflected in a lot of anime. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo in full cosplay caressing flowers with a gloved hand in a park. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes poses in between shady bamboo tree. Imaginative character belongs to Yohanes, implicity flights against evil of seven biggest sin. This pose is deemed as liberation symbol from seven sins. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo poses behind a bamboo bush. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Nico, Yohanes waifu sits with Jakarta view as background. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Nico poses with Jakarta's central business district as background. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Nicos arms was arranged in the table. Nico has detachable parts of body. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Nico's detachable hands. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Rem Yohanes waifu from Re: Zero - Starting Life in Another World serial anime. She is Yohanes favorites waifu because of her kind and shy character. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Another favorite waifu of Yo's, Rem. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yohanes looks up to the sky to liven up his imaginative character. Cosplay, waifu and Yohanes adventures in weebo world is a healer to himself, liberating him from loneliness and tiredness after work. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Yo in a wig plays at a park after work. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)