Touhou Project

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Name: Touhou Project
Abbreviation(s): Touhou
Creator: Team Shanghai Alice
Date(s): 1996-
Medium: Game
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links:
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Touhou Project is a series of "bullet hell" vertical shooting games created and published by the Doujinshi circle Team Shanghai Alice (上海アリス幻樂団 Shanghai Arisu Gengakudan, formerly known as ZUN Soft). It comprises of 19 games, with its first game conceived in 1996. It is notable as one of the largest fandom represented in Comiket, as well as being one of the small number of surviving franchises of its genre.


The games listed below are made by Team Shanghai Alice, and contains Touhou's canon.

  • 東方靈異伝 ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers (ZUN Soft 1996)
  • 東方封魔録 ~ Story of Eastern Wonderland (ZUN Soft 1997)
  • 東方夢時空 ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream (ZUN Soft 1997)
  • 東方幻想郷 ~ Lotus Land Story (ZUN Soft 1998)
  • 東方怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square (ZUN Soft 1998)
  • 東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (2002)
  • 東方妖々夢 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom (2003)
  • 東方萃夢想 ~ Immaterial and Missing Power (collaboration with Twilight Frontier 2004)
  • 東方永夜抄 ~ Imperishable Night (2004)
  • 東方花映塚 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View (2005)
  • 東方文花帖 ~ Shoot the Bullet (2005)
  • 東方風神録 ~ Mountain of Faith (2007)
  • 東方緋想天 ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody (collaboration with Twilight Frontier 2008)
    • 東方非想天則 ~ 超弩級ギニョルの謎を追え (collaboration with Twilight Frontier 2009)
  • 東方地霊殿 ~ Subterranean Animism (2008)
  • 東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object (2009)
  • ダブルスポイラー ~ 東方文花帖, also known as Double Spoiler (2010)
  • 妖精大戦争 ~ 東方三月精, also known as Fairy Wars (2010)
  • 東方神霊廟 ~ Ten Desires (2011)

Aside from these 19 games, there are also a myriad of fan-made games of various genre ranging from platformers to puzzle games[1].


ZUN is the only known member of Team Shanghai Alice, and considered to be the creator of Touhou Project. His real name is Jun'ya Ota (太田順也 Ota Jun'ya), and is known to have worked in Taito Corporation (a Japanese video game company). He is known to be fond of beer, and is rather reclusive. Despite his reclusiveness, he has given some lectures and interviews[2]. Outside of Touhou Project, ZUN has produced a few standalone games[3], and also took part in the production of several of Taito's games[4].


Touhou Project is best known outside Japan for its prodigious amount of fanwork. While a typical Japanese fandom will have its fair share of doujinshi and written work, Touhou ups the ante with fan-made music remixes, fan-made video clips (often video clips of said remixes), fan-made games of various genres, and even two fan-made anime OVAs[5][6]. Most of these products are released in Comiket, although fans outside of Japan can buy them via online shops. Touhou also had its own annual convention, Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai, usually held in March or April. In this year's (2011) summer Comiket, fans estimate that circles selling Touhou fanstuffs will number at a staggering 2808, more than any other fandom represented in Comiket by a large margin[7].

One of the most striking aspect of Touhou fandom is the wealth of music remixes. ZUN himself has released 11 soundtrack albums[8], and fan circles has created over two hundred remix albums[9]. The digitized size of all the fan-made music is estimated to be over 900 gigabytes[10], outstripping the likes of Final Fantasy.

Fans outside Japan largely limited themselves to fanart and fanfiction, although fan remixes of Touhou music do surface from time to time in international forums. The Touhou Project subcategory on contained 659 fics and 124 crossovers[11] in July 2011. However, there are also a relatively small number of Touhou stories created before the establishment of the subcategory in, and not included in the subcategory.


There are a vast number of ships for Touhou Project, due to the large number of characters and enormous fanbase. ReiMari (Hakurei Reimu and Kirisame Marisa, the two most common playable characters in the games) is the dominant ship, but there are many, many more.[12] Because almost all the characters in the games are female, the shipping is overwhelmingly yuri.

Touhou Wiki's Relationshipping page lists many of the well-known ships, along with their ship names on Pixiv.



  12. Relationshipping page at TouhouWiki, accessed Feb. 5, 2014.