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2020.06.01

What is Doujinshi?

 

When you hear the word “doujinshi”, what comes to mind is a thin book of manga, right?

 

You’re not wrong. That’s one kind of doujinshi. 

 

But only one kind. The world of doujinshi is huge, and they’re not all manga.

 

So today, we’re going to teach all about the different kinds of doujinshi!

 

 

 

 

Not Just Manga: The Many Types of Doujinshi


 

First, let’s talk about the kinds of doujinshi that aren’t manga. These are definitely not the only kinds of doujinshi out there! If a publication is the result of someone’s labor of doujin love, then that is a kind of doujinshi. 

 

Doujinshi come in all shapes and sizes, so we are sure we didn’t cover them all. Here’s just a few of the different kinds that we know of. 

 

 

Fiction Doujin

 

Fiction, often as fanfiction, is robably the second most popular form of doujinshi, after manga.

 

Since you don’t need to be able to draw, fiction is an easy gateway into the doujin world for beginners. That might be why there are so many more doujin clubs that distribute fiction doujinshi than manga doujinshi in a particular genre. 

 

So if you’re a talented writer, why not turn your passion for something into a novel or short story?

 

 

Art Books

 

Though they’re sometimes confused with manga doujinshi, art books are another popular type of doujinshi. 

 

As you might expect, a lot of art books are distributed by highly respected artists, but anyone can make one. 

 

Art books allow a lot more freedom of creativity than manga, letting fans enjoy your characters in lots of different scenes and costumes. 

 

On top of that, for novice artists, they provide an excellent opportunity to study the art and characters of their favorite celebrity artists. 

 

If one of your favorite artists has an art book for sale, we encourage you to get your hands on it! The only thing you’ll regret is that you can’t “like” it like on social media.  

 

 

Cosplay Photo Collections

 

Cosplayers can also make doujinshi in the form of a photo collection. This is an excellent example of self-publishing. 

 

Photos of your favorite cosplayer printed in full color are a sight for sore eyes, aren’t they? It’s worth seeing a few dozen, or even a few hundred, hand-picked photos of a cosplayer’s best work. And if they’re someone you’re a big fan of, you’ll want to get your hands on their photo collections, no matter the cost. 

 

 

Digital Doujinshi

 

You don’t have to produce a physical copy of something for it to count as doujinshi. 

 

Of course, this includes digital versions of books distributed over the Internet, but what you may not realize is that original video games and homemade CDs distributed at doujinshi events also fall into this category. 

 

There are actually some pretty famous video game series that are doujinshi, like the Touhou Project games and the Higurashi When They Cry visual novels. 

 

If you have a favorite digital doujinshi work that becomes a famous media franchise, definitely try to support it! 

 

And if you’re on the other end and have something you want to create, don’t be afraid to let loose and share it with everyone!

 

If you’re not sure if you want to, why not just take the first step and try? That one step could be enough to have an effect on someone. 

 

 

 

 

Even Manga Doujinshi Come in Many Varieties…


 

 

 

So now that we’ve talked about the different kinds of doujinshi that aren’t manga, let’s talk about the ones that are. 

 

 

Manga Doujinshi

 

The most well-known kind of doujinshi, it comes in the form of a thin booklet. 

 

They’re usually made to be finished in time for an event, but they are also distributed digitally, too. 

 

Sometimes manga doujinshi can also be great works, and some come out in very fat volumes, so it’s a very widely varying genre. 

 

 

Reprint Collections

 

Reprint collections are reprintings of older works or publications of works that were previously only released online. 

 

Fiction and digital doujinshi as well as manga can be released in reprint collections. 

 

These are great opportunities for fans to get their hands on things that were released a long time ago but now are difficult to find, or things that were released for only a limited amount of time on the web and are now considered extra rare. 

 

These publications are usually much bigger than regular doujinshi and so can cost more, but you shouldn’t worry about the price! Reprint collections are priceless works of amazing art that you can’t get anywhere else, so it’s well worth it. 

 

 

Collaboration Magazines

 

Collaboration magazines are like anthologies; they publish many different works created by different people together under a set theme, genre, fan shipping, or other topic. 

 

Collaboration magazines can be a collection of different types of works, too, like manga, fiction, and illustrations, so they could lead you to discover something new to love. 

 

We can’t recommend highly enough that you pick one up if you come across one. You could suddenly find yourself a fan of another doujin creator!

 

 

Guestbooks

 

Guestbooks are similar to collaboration magazines in that they publish the works of different authors. But their essence is a little bit different. 

 

With a collaboration magazine, many different creators contribute something to publish, resulting in one big volume, while a guestbook is published by one main creator–or a particular doujin group–to showcase their own work, while also inviting a guest or guests to contribute something. Generally the guests are friends of the main creator or creators, and the contributed work is usually something that aligns with the original creators’ thoughts and preferences. 

 

While sometimes collaboration magazines can have works that don’t align with everyone’s tastes, guestbooks don’t usually have that problem. So for those who have very strong opinions about things, guestbooks are a safer bet, because they can enjoy various works without fear of finding something they don’t like. 

 

 

 

 

Just Find a Doujinshi You Enjoy!


 

 

Though there are many different kinds of doujinshi out there, in the end the most important thing is to enjoy the things you like in whatever way you want. 

 

Whether you want to produce your own work, appreciate someone else’s, or support them with money, it’s all good!

 

However, as you enjoy more and more different works, you’ll probably come across something amazing you never expected to find. That’s why we want you to check out lots of different works from many different points of view. That way your doujin activities will make you plenty of like-minded friends, and your circle of doujin will expand ever greater.

 

Writer

Shuuuuhi

Translator

Dale Roll


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