Otokonoko is a Japanese expression, describing men who adopt feminine gestures and behavior, as well as crossdressing and crossplaying.
The term literally means male daughter, and is a Japanese wordplay, replacing a kanji in the word boy with the word daughter.
“Otokonoko” is synonymous with the word joso, which is referring to a man, dressing as a woman.
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Origin of the term
The expression has a roots going back a long way in Japanese history, going back to kabuki theaters, where women’s roles were played by men.
“Otokonoko” really took off around the 2000’s, with the rapid spread of anime and manga craze on the internet, and the ever growing otaku communities.
Spread of the term
Around 2009 the phenomenon further spread, with the opening of maid cafés, where waitresses are dressed as maids and act like servants in a private home.
Apart from that, the plethora of online content, connected to “otokonoko” as well as cosmetic products and fashion stores also contributed to the spread of the phenomenon.
This sort of crossdressing, however is still the most prevalent at various anime events, where cosplayers and crossplayers are all gathered together, to embrace their love for the genre.
Another, less Japanese-influenced term for male crossdresser is trap.