Doujinshi

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See also: List of Doujinshi by Fandom, List of Doujinshi Circles

Synonyms: dōjinshi, 同人誌, doujin
See also: doujinka, doujinshi circle, manga, scanlation, fan comics, fanzine
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Contents

Doujinshi (同人誌) are Japanese works in manga or novel form that are not created for or by the professional market; that is, they are produced by amateurs. Many but not all doujinshi are fancomics, and sometimes the term is used as a synonym for "fancomic in a manga style".

Doujinshi are similar to, or an example of, fanzines, though they have developed independently and have distinct styles. Western doujinshi fandom notably uses different terminology which is mostly derived from Japanese. Creating doujinshi/fanzines is also a vastly more prevalent fan activity in Japan than in the West.

Terminology

General

  • Circle (サークル) - A circle is a "group" releasing doujinshi; however, "group" is a misleading term here, since many circles consist of only one doujinka. Such circles are sometimes called kojin circles (個人サークル), i.e. a personal circle.
  • Doujinka (同人家) - A doujinka is a creator of a doujinshi, such as an artist or writer. Doujinka are part of circles. Doujinshika means the same thing, but it is a term used very rarely.
  • Kojinshi (個人誌) - Doujinshi produced by a single artist or kojin circle.
  • Size - The size of a doujinshi means the paper size it's printed on. Doujinshi are typically B5, about 7 x 10 inches. Anthologies are typically A5, about 6 x 8 inches.

Doujinshi Types

  • Manga - When a doujinshi is comic/manga-style, it can also be referred to as manga in Japanese. In English, a manga-style doujinshi is practically synonymous with the term "doujinshi" itself, since other kinds of doujinshi (e.g. novels) seldom appear in Western fandom.
  • Novel (ノベル or 小説 shousetsu) - When a doujinshi includes/is a novel, it means it is printed fiction (including fanfiction).
  • Reprint collection (再録集 sairoku shuu) - When a circle has released several doujinshi, she might reprint them together in one doujinshi booklet, known as a reprint collection. Reprint collections can be either the size of a regular doujinshi, or the size of an anthology which is smaller.
  • Anthology (アンソロジー) - An anthology is a collection of doujinshi stories, either manga or novel, by various different doujinka. Anthologies are usually printed at a smaller page size than regular doujinshi, but have more pages and stories. Although most anthologies are published by fans, anthologies of fannish manga doujinshi are also printed by commercial publishers - with the permission of the doujinshi creators and (sometimes) of the copyright holders of the source work.
  • Copybook or copybon (コピー本) - A copybook is a doujinshi that is not printed and bound by a publisher; they might be printed on a home printer for instance, and they are usually bound with staples.
  • Scanlation - A fan-translated and edited doujinshi is a scanlation, or a scanlated doujinshi.
  • Fanbook or Fan book - This term is commonly put on doujinshi to show that the story is a fanwork instead of an original creation. Doujinka will also number their doujinshi this way, e.g. Fanbook #1, Fanbook #2, etc. Parody book is another common expression used to indicate that a doujinshi contains fanwork.

Common Genres, Tropes, and Descriptors

  • For women (女性向け, joseimuke) - Aimed at female fans. Very often but not always BL/yaoi.
  • Yaoi (やおい) / Boys' Love or BL - Genres about male/male relationships intended for a female audience, like in Western slash. The genre for male/male relationships intended for men is known as Bara (薔薇, lit. rose) or Men's Love/ML and is less common.
  • For men (男性向, danseimuke) - Aimed at male fans. Danseimuke is often conflated with hentai, but although many danseimuke doujinshi are sexually explicit, there are also very many danseimuke works that are gen.
  • Gag (ギャグ) - Absurd or silly elements for comedic effect; similar to crack humor.
  • Serious (シリアス) - A serious tone; a story which handles the subject matter seriously. Possibly similar to "drama" or angst.
  • Parallel (パラレル) - As in parallel universe; see alternate universe.
  • Honobono (ほのぼの meaning heartwarming) - A light, heartwarming tone, sometimes similar to fluff.
  • Original (創作, sousaku) - Doujinshi containing original stories instead of fanworks.
  • Original June (創作JUNE、sousaku june) - Original BL/yaoi stories, named after the first yaoi magazine June.
  • Critique (評論, hyouron) - Meta, usually in text but sometimes also in manga format.

Other

Doujinshi fandom commonly uses an "x" between character names (e.g. Naruto x Sasuke) to show the focus of the story is between two characters. This may or may not mean a pairing, which can lead to some confusion.

Doujinshi fandom commonly uses a name smoosh for pairings, e.g. Naruto x Sasuke becomes NaruSasu. See also Pairing Name#In Japanese Fandoms.

Doujinshi in Western Fandom

Japanese doujinshi is a large part of Western anime/manga/video game fandom, where it is highly popular; many fans buy and sell doujinshi imported from Japan and share translations, scanlations, and preview images: see for example the doujinshi_club community on LiveJournal.

Doujinshi does not usually have a big presence in non-Japanese Western fandoms, with the exception of Harry Potter where it is quite popular. Doujinshi has a small presence in a few others, such as Supernatural.[1]

Importing doujinshi from Japan can be extremely expensive, and serious collectors spend hundreds of dollars a year on doujinshi. In Japan, doujinshi are sold for 200-1000 yen or about $2-10 USD, but non-Japanese online stores commonly triple (or more) that price and doujinshi are commonly listed on places like ebay for $50 or more. The relative rarity for specific titles coupled with demand for certain skilled artists will drive up the prices. A few notable bids went as high as $200 and $300. Shipping prices can also be rather expensive, $10-25 to ship one book. Due to the high cost of even just one doujinshi, many fans outside of Japan cannot afford to buy them.

Fanworks created in a manga style by Western artists are sometimes referred to as doujinshi, and their creators sometimes see themselves as doujinka.[2] Due to the prevalence and acceptability of transformative works in anime/manga/game fandom and the Japanese manga market in general, Western doujinshi artists are more likely to create and publish fancomics than comic artists working in more traditional Western media.

Source Texts

Doujinshi are most often based on sources originating in Japan, such as manga, anime, and Japanese video games. Doujinshi can also be original works, and "original June" (original BL doujinshi) is a popular genre. General terms for original doujinshi are orijinaru or sousaku.

There are also doujinshi based on Western-originating source texts, particularly Harry Potter[3][4] which has a noticeably substantial amount of doujinshi. Others includes The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Supernatural, and more. RPF has a presence in Japanese doujinshi fandom as well, such as J2[5] and Lotrips.[6]

Professional and Amateur

Doujinshi are usually self-published amateur productions intended for the entertainment of fans rather than for financial gain. Some doujinka will publish doujinshi as a way to hone their skills and get published professionally.

Doujinshi artists will occasionally cross over to become successful professionals, such as:

Some professional mangaka occasionally publish doujinshi as well. A few examples:

Misconceptions

Not all doujinshi is porn, and when it is porn it's not all "weirdo porn" (and in fact most fandoms have a severe tentacle monster deficiency). Doujinshi comes in a wide variety of genres, just like any other fanwork. Gen, gag, angst, shounen-ai, and romance doujinshi are all prevalent. However, there is also no lack of hentai doujinshi fansites in Western fandom, which has likely exacerbated this myth.

Distribution

Doujinshi are commonly distributed in print format via conventions (paid), in print format via online and offline doujin shops (paid), and in digital format online (paid or for free).

Conventions

Conventions are the most established and common distribution channel for doujinshi. Circles reserve a small booth ("space", usually half a table) for themselves and sell their works directly to other fans. Hundreds of conventions take place throughout Japan every year, from large-scale regular conventions to small one-time events. A few notable conventions are:

  • Comiket is the largest doujinshi convention in Japan, and the largest convention for self-published works in the world.
  • COMITIA is a series of large doujinshi conventions that focus entirely on original doujinshi. Comiket and many other conventions also include original doujinshi.
  • Comic City is a series of large doujinshi conventions that take place throughout the year in various Japanese cities.
  • Gataket
  • Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai is a convention that focuses solely on Touhou Project.

Doujin shops

A doujin shop is a retail store that sells doujinshi and other fanworks. Some smaller stores exist, but large chain stores such as Mandarake, K-BOOKS, and Toranoana are the most common and can be found in most major cities in Japan. Doujin shops frequently operate online stores as well. The shops sell mostly second-hand doujinshi that are sold to them by fans (in the manner of a second-hand bookstore), but sometimes also new doujinshi bought directly from circles.

Digital distribution

Some doujinshi are published in digital format or both in print and in digital format. Digital doujinshi are sold via online dojin shops or distributed for free, also via online doujin shops and via the personal websites, pixiv accounts, or other online homes of circles.

See Also

Resources

References

  1. See the Japanese Comic tag at the DeanxSam LJ community.
  2. dojinshi_circle livejournal community, originally a group of artists from New York.
  3. Harry Potter Doujinshi tag at fancomiccentral LJ community.
  4. HP_Scanlation LJ community for scanlated Harry Potter doujinshi.
  5. See Supernatural/Fanzines#Doujinshi which includes several J2 doujinshi.
  6. This editor distinctly remembers seeing a Viggo Mortensen x Orland Bloom doujinshi, but is unnable to find it to give a proper source.
  7. Mehra, Salil. 2002. “Copyright and Comics in Japan: Does Law Explain Why All the Cartoons My Kid Watches Are Japanese Imports?” SSRN eLibrary. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=347620, p29.
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