This term usually describes a Japanese comic book not created for/by the professional market. Usually a self published fan productions, although some famous artists occasionally produce doujinshi, these manga can deal with any variety of topics.

These include but are not limited to parodies of popular series, drawn fanfiction, Yaoi/June/Shounen Ai and Hentai/Ecchi adaptions, and original stories.

Doujinshi artists usually produce for their own amusement and that of other fans rather than for financial gain. They are distributed though some mangashops, such as Mandarake, K-Books, Toranoana and others, but the largest market of doujinshi books is the Comiket, a convention that takes place twice a year in Tokyo's Big Sight and that is devoted almost entirely to the fan market.

The quality of some doujinshi rival professional productions in respects to art, story and presentation. The love for the product is clearly visible in many publications by the luxurious way they are presented.

Some doujinshi artists went on to become famous mangaka, and some stay true to their roots even after their breakthrough and continue to produce other stories for fun to be distributed though the doujinshi channels rather than the large publishing houses with their weekly or monthly magazines. Notable examples include Clamp, some well known Yaoi artists and others.

I have no idea where the word doujinshi originates from. I've tried to find its origins many times but always failed miserably.

The vast majority of doujinshi's I've come across are definitely yaoi orientated. Understandable really - why would one want non-yaoi doujinshi when they have the original manga?

I honestly can't explain to you the attraction of such things, even after being a fan for such a long period of time.

In the ever expanding world of manga and anime it has been my experience that manga fans either adore the original, or they adore the yaoi or yuri side to it. Rarely are people obessesed or infatuated with both. Doujinshi is an expansion of the yaoi and yuri fandom, pushing past the limitations of amature fanfiction into a totally different league. Why read about your favourite characters getting it on?

Let us see it damnit!

Doujinshi is, beyond reasonable doubt an infringement of copyright laws. Because of this, it is illegal in places such as Singapore... but of course, these restrictions don't serve to make it any less popular.

However, mangaka aren't stupid. They know full well that some of the interest generated in their manga creations is generated by the yaoi and doujinshi fandoms. As a result, the wise mangaka do not make any effort to crack down hard on such things. They really do do them a service, although I doubt they'd admit it publically (there are ethics to uphold here children).

It surprises me also that many of today's highly successful mangaka originally started out life as doujinshi artists, so of course they would have no complaints about the things - doujinshi is probably the only thing that helped them pay off student loans. A god send!

cos-plays, comic jams, other festivals which involve manga are likely places for doujinshi hunts. I have heard that they are very difficult to find in English but are plentiful in Japanese and Chinese (if you know where to look, of course). I can vouch for this - I haven't a single English doujinshi in my collection.

Doujinshi range greatly in style, with as almost broad a base as manga. They extend from sweet and sappy barely shonen ai, to hardcore lemon action (with a million different shades between). Some vaguly follow the grounds set by the manga, others go flying off into the dark abyss of original art.

Something for everyone? Well - no.

Something for any self-respecting-manga-or-anime-jrock-crazy-fan? Now you're talkin'.

Actually, 同人誌 dôjinshi is a contraction of 同人雑誌 dôjin zasshi. The zasshi is Japanese for "magazine," while dôjin, made of the characters for same and person, means "clique" or "society." So now you can see the etymology of the term: it means a periodical that's made by an informal group of people.

I participate in an IRC community focused on doujinshi, and I notice newcomers who are not familiar with Japanese terms frequently make the mistake of using doujin and doujinshi interchangably. Doujinshi are not doujins.

To clarify:
- A doujin is a group of people sharing a common interest.
- A doujinshi is the publication created by such a group.

Also, note that some people write the Japanese "ou" as "ô". Both forms are perfectly acceptable. However, "ô" is not the same as "o". While both "o" and "ou"/"ô" sound like the long o sound as in "owe" or "foe", "ou"/"ô" is spoken for twice as long as "o". Since the length of Japanese syllables is significant, this is a definite difference that those not familiar with the language might miss. Doujinshi is not the same as dojinshi. Doujin is not the same as dojin.

Please realise that I'm not trying to say that people who make this mistake are in any way stupid. I merely wish to point out their mistake so they can become more familiar with the terms, and avoid this mistake in the future.


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