Genre (doujin)

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See also: doujinshi, doujinshi convention, genre, multifandom
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In Japanese doujin fandom, the term "genre" (ジャンル, janru) has several different meanings. To various degrees, they differ from the general or fannish usage of "genre" in English.

Meanings

First of all, "genre" often denotes the fandom for a given source work. For instance, Tiger and Bunny, Harry Potter, Bleach and Hetalia are all genres. A doujinshi convention characterized as "all genre" (オールジャンル, ooru janru) is open to works in all fandoms.[1] Fans may ask each other "What genres do you like?" (どのジャンルが好きですか) to mean "What fandoms do you like/are you in?".[2]

More broadly, "genre" in doujin fandom can also apply to a particular group of source works that are seen as similar, or a group of fanworks made in a particular medium. Such broader genres include but are not limited to danseimuke (for boys/men), joseimuke (for girls/women), sousaku (original), Jump (fandoms for source works from the very popular manga magazine Shonen Jump), games, sports, gakuman (university manga clubs), hyouron/jouhou (critique/information), doujin software (fan-made software), anime, manga, and so on. These are the sort of genres that are assigned "genre codes" at conventions (see below). In that convention context, these broader "genres" overlap "genres" in the sense of "fandoms".

Finally, "genre" is also often used to indicate the literary genre of a doujin work, like romance, adventure, humor, horror, and others.

Genre codes

"Genre codes" (ジャンルコード) are a way for large doujinshi conventions such as Comiket to create order among the hundreds or thousands of doujinshi circles that take part. Genre codes are numbers assigned to particular groups of source works or fannish media. Some random examples from Comiket include 500 (miscellaneous anime), 100 (original works with shounen content), 240 (doujin software) and 231 (works about cosplay).[3]

Doujinshi circles apply to be sorted within the broader genre under which their smaller genre/fandom fits. However, extremely popular source works are sometimes elevated to a genre code of their own. For instance, at this moment (May 2012), source works like Hetalia: Axis Powers (code 831), One Piece (code 431), and Tiger & Bunny (code 532) have so many circles creating works for them that they have their own "private" codes instead of being sorted under the broader genres of "manga" or "anime". Genre codes change and evolve constantly, as ballooning genres get split into smaller groupings and individual source works get or lose their genre codes as their popularity increases and decreases.[4] Looking at the fluctuation of genre codes throughout Comiket's history gives a good picture of how popular various Japanese-speaking fandoms were at which point.

Some long-lasting Comiket genre codes are so well-known that they are sometimes used as shorthand for the genres or fandoms they represent. There are doujinshi about anthropomorphized genre codes getting it on.[5]

Yorozu

Fans and doujnshi conventions sometimes use the word "yorozu" (よろず), literally "everything, myriad", to indicate works or circles that concern themselves with multiple genres (in the sense of "fandoms"). In other words, works or circles that are multifandom. Yorozu existed as a genre code at Comiket very briefly, from 1989 to 1990, before being fused with the "others" (その他, sono hoka) genre code.[6]

A yorozu circle (よろずサークル) is a circle that makes doujinshi in multiple genres/fandoms at the same time. Yorozu circles are much less common than circles that focus on a single fandom; when a circle's fannish interests change, they tend to move on to the new fandom rather than create works for both the old and the new.[7] Some fans look askance at yorozu circles who make works in various popular genres at the same time, because such activity can give the impression that the circle is just trying to make money instead of being in it for fannish reasons. On the other hand, it can be difficult for a yorozu circle at a convention to reach their intended audience. Circles are grouped according to the fandoms they represent, so a yorozu circle can only apply for one fandom and get a space among other circles active in that genre. They can put doujinshi from other fandoms on their table as well, but chances are high that fans of those other fandoms will not discover the works because they think all doujinshi from that fandom are at spaces elsewhere.[8]

A yorozu doujinshi (よろず同人誌), also called a yorozu book (よろず本, yorozu hon), is not necessarily made by a yorozu circle. It's simply a doujinshi that contains works for multiple fandoms, and the contributors to that doujinshi may or may not have been active in multiple genres/fandoms at the same time.[9]

Note that individual doujinka may join or leave circles as they please and can be members of multiple circles simultaneously, so the reportedly low number of yorozu circles is no indication of the actual number of individual fans who create works in multiple fandoms at the same time. A circle active in only one fandom may have members who are also active in different circles working in different fandoms.

References

  1. The opposite of an "all genre" convention is an "only event" (オンリーイベント, onrii ibento).
  2. Personal conversations.
  3. A full list of genre codes is published before every edition of Comiket. The present list of genre codes can be found here (Japanese).
  4. The Japanese Wikipedia page for Comic Market genre codes (コミックマーケットジャンルコード) has a summary of how genre codes at Comiket have changed over the years.
  5. No hard proof to offer, but I've seen them, and here are some people discussing anthropomorphized genre codes.
  6. Wikipedia. コミックマーケットのジャンルコード (Comic Market genre codes). Last visited 29-5-2012.
  7. Kaneda, Otohiko. 2009. Otakugo Jiten. Bijutsu Shuppan-sha. P95.
  8. U! (うっ!). 2001. “Yorozu Saakuru (よろずサークル).” Doujinyougo No Kisochishiki (同人用語の基礎知識). http://www.paradisearmy.com/doujin/pasok_yorozu_circle.htm.
  9. U! (うっ!). 2001. “Yorozu Saakuru (よろずサークル).” Doujinyougo No Kisochishiki (同人用語の基礎知識). http://www.paradisearmy.com/doujin/pasok_yorozu_circle.htm.
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