At some point in time I’m sure that most comic-book fans wish that their favourite female character/s or even characters in general could be perceived in a capacity beyond the confines of the medium. In other words, you’re not about to see Marvel, DC or Tokyopop take their most popular characters and use them for erotica. This is where dōjinshi (usually transliterated as doujinshi) comes in. Doujinshi are self-published works (comics, manga or novels) usually created by amateurs although some professional artists have been known to create doujinshi for promotional purposes.
The first doujinshi that I can remember reading was a Ranma ½ story and the first thing that sprung to mind is that the artwork was incredibly good, in fact it was identical to that of Rumiko Takahashi. Be it amateur or professional works, the majority of doujinshi that I’ve come across is of a professional level. I always found it funny that these talented amateur artists were using their gifts for ‘evil’ purposes when they could much rather work for the companies that produce the actual manga to begin with. Though that isn’t the case, and good artists are a dime a dozen in Japan so conventions like Comiket exist, the world’s largest comic-book convention and a place where aspiring artists can go to, to sell or exchange their work. This is also a good arena for companies to scout for prominent employees.
Though not always the case, doujinshi are generally sexually explicit in nature and thus are hugely popular, even though Comiket breaks Japanese copyright laws, the convention is still held twice a year and rakes in half a million people per convention. Since the artists rarely get the permission of the owners of the characters they’re using, artists can get away with pretty much anything so don’t be surprised to see Chiyo-chan or Yoko getting filled out like an application form.
Pictured above is a fine example of a doujinshi, notice how the artwork mirrors that of the art you’d expect to find in a professional, published manga. Since the majority of doujinshi is in the native Japanese language, many Western fans rely on scanlators to translate the, usually unavailable, works into English. Though as always there are the extremes, and the above image I’ve supplied is nothing compared to the bizarre and downright twisted images and situations that the more perverted/obsessed fans are capable of. Genres include; futa, loli, guro, tentacle-rape and even monster girls.
“John Oppliger of AnimeNation stated that creating dōjinshi is largely popular with Japanese fans however not with Western fans. Oppliger claimed that because Japanese natives grow up with animation and manga “as a constant companion”, Japanese fans “are more intuitively inclined” to create or expand on existing manga and anime in the form of dōjinshi . Because Western fans experience a “more purely” visual experience as most Western fans cannot understand the Japanese language, the original language of most anime, and are “encouraged by social pressure to grow out of cartoons and comics during the onset of adolescence”, most Western fans participate in utilizing and rearranging existing work into anime music videos.”
If you are a doujin fan, be sure to check out Genshiken (manga and anime) as well as Doujin Work for a bit of insight into the otaku, doujinshi sub-culture. More recently, doujinshi has been refered to as ero-manga or seijin (成人) which literally translates to ‘adult’. In 2008, a white paper on the otaku industry was published, this estimated that gross revenue from sales of doujinshi in 2007 were 277.3 billion yen, or 14.9% of total otaku expenditure on their hobby. I myself am well aware of the large amounts of money I spend to fuel my otaku lifestyle, but it’s a passion of mine and I refuse to stop, however if you are strapped for cash try to create your own doujinshi.