How the Selling of Doujinshi Has Changed Over Time



Nowadays it’s a given that you can buy and sell doujinshi online. Listing your doujinshi for sale is easy, and you can even do it anonymously. But did you know that selling doujinshi from home actually has a long history in Japan? Let’s take a look at the world of doujinshi commerce and how it’s changed over the years.



A History of At-home Sales

Do any of your doujinshi have colophons?


Colophons are sections, usually at the end of a book or manuscript, that contain information about its publication, like the name of the printer and the date it was published. In Japan, colophons became mandatory in all printed materials in 1893, and in the case of doujinshi, they include information about the person or people who were involved in creating it. 


Before the Internet, people learned about doujinshi through manga and anime magazines, which would have a doujinshi section in the back that included samples submitted by doujin creators. In the colophons for those samples, the creators would include their addresses so that, if readers found a doujinshi they liked, they could visit that address to buy it from the author directly. 


In 2003, however, the Japanese government established the Personal Information Protection Law, which was enacted in 2005. After that, doujinshi authors stopped including their personal address in the colophon, and nowadays include their e-mail address or social media account instead.  


Even more common in the modern era is for doujinshi authors to have their own personal e-commerce site, while some instead prefer to entrust their doujinshi to book stores, where they can sell them anonymously. 


Distribution Methods that Continue to Diversify

In today’s era of the Internet, selling doujinshi is even more convenient and is still evolving in many different ways. In the past, the only way to get your hands on a doujinshi you liked was to travel on your own dime to the doujin event nearest you, which was not always in your city or even your prefecture. But nowadays, as long as you have access to the Internet, you can buy whatever title catches your eye from anywhere in the world. 


You always have the option to pay with cash, of course, but you can just as easily transfer the money at a convenience store, or use a credit or debit card. These convenient payment methods make it much easier to buy doujinshi on a whim and help encourage more and more people to use online methods to procure their favorite titles. 


Of course, while we’ve been cooped up at home because of the pandemic, more and more people have started shopping for their doujinshi online. There are even methods you can use to buy doujinshi without either the seller or the buyer revealing their address. With the ease and relief brought about by these anonymous methods, you could say that there are even more people buying out of authors’ homes than ever before. 


As we continue to feel hesitant about leaving our homes during the pandemic, the online doujinshi market may prove to become a whole other kind of lifeboat in itself as it saves the doujin community as a whole. 




Tomoko Hanamiya


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