Yohanes, an amateur cosplayer from Jakarta, in his Allen Walker suit. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Jakarta Cosplayer's Posthuman World
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
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.