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Synonyms: dōjinshi, 同人誌, Doujin
See also: Zines, Fan Comics, Scanlation
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Doujinshi (同人誌) are self-published Japanese works in visual or textual form including manga and novels that are not created for or by the professional market; that is, they are produced by amateurs rather than as a profession or being paid. 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.

Critiques and essays (including meta) by/for fans and hobbyists may also be published in a doujinshi.

Doujinshi are created by Doujinshi Circles. Individual creators are called Doujinka.

If an English speaker wants to approximate how a Japanese speaker says the word,[1] doe-gin-she will produce something close enough.


Cover of Stay Close to Me, a Doujinshi in Yuri!!! on Ice fandom


  • 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 in style of a manga/comic, it can also be referred to as doujin manga (同人漫画) in Japanese. In English, the term "doujinshi" implies a manga-style doujinshi by default, because Western fans seldom encounter other kinds of doujinshi (e.g. novels).
  • 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

Example interior from the Resident Evil Doujinshi Play Back!
  • Critique (評論, hyouron) - Meta, usually in text but sometimes also in manga format.
  • 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.
  • For women (女性向け, joseimuke) - Aimed at female fans. Very often but not always BL/yaoi.
  • Gag (ギャグ) - Absurd or silly elements for comedic effect; similar to crack humor.
  • 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.
  • Parallel (パラレル) - As in parallel universe; see alternate universe.
  • Serious (シリアス) - A serious tone; a story which handles the subject matter seriously. Possibly similar to "drama" or angst.
  • 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.
  • Yuri (百合) / Girls' Love or GL - Genres about female/female relationships. It's intended audience comes down to the individually work produced, rather than the genre as a whole.


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.

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[2][3] 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[4] and Lotrips.[5]

Professional and Amateur

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

A bulk sale image of the following doujinshis by Miki: Hagetaka: Road to Rebirth, Ossan's Love, Tokusou Saizensen & Taxi Driver's Misery Logbook

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

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


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.


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).

See Doujinshi in Western Fandom for more on the presence of Doujinshi in non-Japanese fandoms and the popularity of imported Japanese doujinshi.


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.
  • Comic World Hong Kong
  • Infect (2014-ongoing)

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 doujin 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



  1. ^
  2. ^ Harry Potter Doujinshi tag at fancomiccentral LJ community.
  3. ^ HP_Scanlation LJ community for scanlated Harry Potter doujinshi.
  4. ^ See Supernatural/Fanzines#Doujinshi which includes several J2 doujinshi.
  5. ^ This editor distinctly remembers seeing a Viggo Mortensen x Orland Bloom doujinshi, but is unnable to find it to give a proper source.
  6. ^ Mehra, Salil. 2002. “Copyright and Comics in Japan: Does Law Explain Why All the Cartoons My Kid Watches Are Japanese Imports?” SSRN eLibrary., p29.
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