Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dōjinshi (同人誌; also romanized as doujinshi) are self-published Japanese works, including but not limited to comic books (manga), novels, fan guides, art collections, and games. They are often drawn by amateurs, but some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular publishing industry. The term is derived from dōjin (同人), meaning "literary group" or "clique", and shi (誌) which means "magazine" or "distribution".
Dōjinshi are made by artists or writers who prefer to publish their own materials. Avid fans of dōjinshi attend regular dōjinshi conventions, the largest of which is called Comiket (short for "Comic Market") held in the summer and winter in Tokyo. Here, dōjinshi are bought, sold, and traded by attendees. Dōjinshi creators who based their materials on other creators' works normally publish in small numbers to fall under the fair use clause of copyright laws and to maintain a low profile from litigation. This makes a talented creator's or circle's dōjinshi a coveted commodity as only the fast or the lucky will be able to get them before they sell out. However, many dōjinshi creators are moving to online download and print-on-demand services, such as http://www.dlsite.com, http://www.dejipare.com/, and http://www.dojin-club.com/. Others are even beginning to distribute their works through American channels such as http://www.bdr517.com.
Over the last decade, the practice of creating dōjinshi has expanded significantly, attracting thousands of creators and fans alike. Advances in personal publishing technology have also fueled this expansion by making it easier for dōjinshi creators to write, draw, promote, publish, and distribute their works. For example, some dōjinshi are now published on digital media.
In Western cultures, dōjinshi is often perceived to be derivative of existing work, analogous to fanfiction. To an extent, this is true: some dōjinshi are parodies or alternative storylines involving the worlds of popular manga or anime series. However, many dōjinshi with completely original characters and storylines also exist.
Categories of dōjinshi
There are a few prevalent categories of dōjinshi. Seinen (青年, "young man") dōjinshi usually contain adult material and target adult males over 18. Yaoi and shōnen-ai dōjinshi feature male homosexuality and usually target adult women; yuri and shōjo-ai feature female homosexuality. Yaoi and yuri manga tend to include graphic depictions of sexual acts, whereas shōnen-ai and shōjo-ai are often milder in graphical content. Dōjinshi involving sexual themes is often referred to by fans as H-dōjinshi; the "H" comes from the Japanese word hentai (変態), meaning "pervert". Ippan (一般, meaning "general") dōjinshi do not contain adult material and are usually suitable for a broader range of audiences.
There is no set size for dōjinshi as each artist or circle is free to make it whatever size they want. Prices for dōjinshi can range from $1.00 USD to as much as several hundred dollars.
The largest American market for dōjinshi is eBay. Approximately 1,000 dōjinshi, often featuring sexual or romantic themes, can be found for sale at any given time. A single dōjinshi typically sells for between $10 and $25, though prices range into the hundreds of dollars for rarer articles. This is significantly higher than the typical secondhand price in Japan, which is typically 200 to 400 yen, or approximately US $2 to $4.
Many small websites offer dōjinshi for sale. These can be a great place to view nice scans of dōjinshi and get an idea of the artwork involved. Examples include DoujinshiPlanet.com .
Also worth mentioning are "CG Galleries", which dōjinshi artists frequently place online both as a catalogue of their commercial work and as a gallery of their personal artwork. Tinami, The Navigator of Manga Artists, is a large, indexed, searchable list of CG galleries.
Famous dōjinshi authors
- CLAMP started out as a dōjinshi group. Today, they are a well-known group among manga fans, and have their works regularly serialized in major publications in several countries, such as Japan and the United States. They also publish individual manga volumes.
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