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What is Doujin?

In Japan, Doujin usually refers to activities which people with same interest get together and create things like comics(Manga), novels, games and other goods. These people are not necessary professional artists or writers. Many of doujin products are created by armatures as a hobby and often published by their own expense.

Group formed by people with common Doujin theme is often called "Circle". Within Circle, creators exchange their ideas and show works to each other. Doujinshi or software is often published by Circle.

There are hundreds of Doujin Circles in Japan. Many of the Doujin products are publicized by Circle rather than by individual.

Doujin Circle and community is becoming Japan's huge art culture and manga industry's phenomenon.

History of Doujin


Definition of "Doujin" was first acknowledged when Shotaro Ishinomori gathered artist friends and established "East Japan Comic Society" to publish a corroboration magazine "Manga-Shonen". Then Doujin Circle activities gradually started to prosper through the "reader's communication page" on a magazine "COM" (Now discontinued), which was first publicized in 1967. At that time, self publication was costing a fortune, thus one bundled comics were passed from one Circle member to another, by adding their pages and circulating among the creators for viewing.

The realm of "Doujin" has grown as the number of participating creators increased. Circles started to form within educational institutions such as high schools and universities. In that case, Circles were able to receive funds from their institution, thus it made it possible for their Doujinshi to be printed. (Offset Print)

Individual Doujin activities started to increase when the animation series, "Gatcha-Man" was televised around 1972. Yet it was still not a widely spread trend and only small group of Circles were gathering and exchanging their works. Doujin community was still a closed realm.

Comic Market held in 1975 has contributed a great deal for the general acknowledgement of Doujin culture. It begun with 32 Circles, and 700 participants, forming a place to exchange and sell each other's Doujin art works. The Comic Market gradually became as a major Doujin event from year to year.

At beginning, many of the Doujinshi were featuring animation parody, but then gradually gained more erotic components which have made an erotic Doujinshi a very popular theme.

Once a certain Doujinshi gains its popularity, the number of creators who participate to its Circle increases. Therefore, they are able to afford more costly printing method such as offset. As a result that made the quality of such Doujinshi better.
Doujin Circles which did not have enough financial resource would publish their Doujinshi by copying or printing out of a printer. In the past, printing was pretty expensive, but now days it has become cheaper.

As many animation came out on TV in the 80th, more Doujinshi featured such anime themed Parody, including Yaoi and erotic Doujinshi. Some of the popular titles featured by Doujin creators then were: "Gundum" (1981), "Urusei-Yatsura - Only You" (1983), "Macross – Remember Love" (1984). In the late 80th, titles such as "Saint Seiya" (1980) and "Top o Nerae" became a huge hit which raised excitement among Doujin creators.

Around this time, Yaoi Doujinshi started to acquire a general acknowledgement because of popular anime titles such as "Saint Seiya" and "Samurail Trooper", which featured friendship between men.

Also, "Doujin Software" started to appear around this time because PC was starting to become a popular domestic tool. Similar to "Comiket", an event "Pasoket" was formed as a place to sell and exchange PC Doujin software. NEC's PC-9801 series, Fujitsu's FM-TOWNS and Sharp's X68000 were popular hardware, thus Doujin software and CG were mainly designed to run on these platforms. Among those, X68000 especially attracted many core-users because of its high machine spec which resulting in many sophisticated Doujin software titles to be born.

In the 90th, a title such as "Sailor Moon" became a huge hit among kid and even adult. "Sailor Moon" became also a popular theme among Doujin creators. Since characters from "Sailor moon" were "Bisyoujyo Character" (Pretty Girl Character), many erotic and lesbian themed Doujinshi were created out of Sailor Moon.

In the mid 90th, Game themed Doujinshi started to gain popularity. Most of them were featuring an erotic scene and Yaoi theme of in-game characters. Number of game company that featured "Bisyoujyo Game" (Pretty Girl's Game) has increased and many Doujin creators started to focus on Bisyoujyo Game because of its demand and popularity.

Around this time, lawsuits about copyright issue between commercial and Doujin publication stared to rise. Creating Doujinshi out of copyrighted characters was considered legal because it was based on the idea that these Doujinshi were created for non-commercial purpose, but for leisure. There were no licensing fee and business agreement between the copyright holder and Doujin creator. As a result, copyright holder was not able to restrict copyrighted character themed Doujinshi even though he did not like how these characters were presented on these Doujinshi. Although this has been a continuous problematic issue in the industry and it is being said that there should be some kind of law to set a rule. (Text by: Torakichi Hayama)

Category of Doujin


Original
Doujin works which all story and characters were originally created by the creator.

Ani-Paro
Anime Parody. Featuring already existed anime characters or anime theme.

Yaoi
Doujin work which features love or sex between male. Sometime it is called Boy’s love.

Yuri
Doujin work which features love or sex between female. This word was born as an opposite of "Bara" (Rose) which features male homosexuality. The term "Yuri" was said to be originated from a film called "Yuri-zoku series" by "Nikkatu Roman Porn".

Loli-Con
Abbreviation for Lolita Complex. Doujin works featuring Child Pornography. It was said that the term was originated from a novel "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, a middle age man loving an underage girl. **In the United States, Loli-con that presents child obscenity and pornography is illegal by CPPA (Child Pornography Prevention Act). Please be aware to understand the law carefully if you are planning to write Loli-con themed Doujinshi. This law applies to virtual characters as well.

Shota-Con
Doujin work which features underage boy love affair. The term originated from a character named Shota Kaneda from "Taiyou no Shisya Tetsujin 28 Gou".

Neko-Mimi
Doujin work which features female characters with cat ears. Basically, most of the main Neko-Mimi characters are female. Their personality is very similar to Neko (Cat) and act like it. On Doujinshi, these characters might talk like "~meow" at the end of their words.

Kemono
Different from Neko-Mimi, but this Doujin work features human looking character with partially animal-like.



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