Thursday, September 09, 2010

Anime Word of the Week - Dōjinshi (同人誌)

Dōjinshi (Doujinshi) (同人誌)

...are self-published Japanese works, usually magazines, manga or novels. They are often the work of amateurs, though some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular industry. The term dōjinshi is derived from dōjin (同人?, literally "same person", used to refer to a person or persons with whom one shares a common goal or interest) and shi (誌?, a suffix generally meaning "periodical publication"). Dōjinshi are part of a wider category of dōjin including, but not limited to, art collections, anime, hentai and games.

Dōjinshi are made by artists or writers who prefer to (or have no other choice but to) publish their own materials. Avid fans of dōjinshi attend regular dōjinshi conventions, the largest of which is called Comiket ( the "Comic Market") held twice a year at the Tokyo Big Site. At the convention, over 20 acres of dōjinshi are bought, sold, and traded by attendees. Dōjinshi creators who based their materials on other creators' works normally publish in small numbers to maintain a low profile from litigation.

While dōjinshi is essentially amateur comic publishing, many professional, published artists continue to self-publish dōjinshi in addition to their mainstream manga. These dōjinshi may be new original works that they chose not to (or are unable to) have published by a larger company. They can also be side-stories that the artists create for fans of their published works. Many established artists started their careers as dōjinshi-ka. Yoshitoshi ABe's Haibane Renmei was based on one of his dōjinshi works.

To many western Anime and Manga fans, dōjinshi is usually perceived to be derivative of existing work, analogous to fan fiction and almost exclusively pornographic. This is partly (mostly) true: dōjinshi are often, though not always, parodies or alternative storylines involving the worlds of popular manga, game or anime series, and will often feature overtly sexual material. It is very common for dōjinshi-ka to create sexually explicit stories using characters from established manga such as Sailor Moon, Gravitation, Read or Die, Please Teacher and so-on. Sometimes even the original creators produce pornographic dōjin side-stories to their published work.

In the Dojin community, 2D wins the day.

Examples of Dojin culture in Anime can be found in series like Comic Party in which Kazuki Sendō tries to become a Doujinshi artisis but his childhood friend Mizuki tries to talk him out of it (because she believes otakus are smelly and dirty). The Anime Dojin Work follows the life of a young girl named Najimi Osana and her exposure into the dōjin world, making a group of very (and I mean VERY) interesting friends along the way. In the manga and anime Genshiken the second season's storyline focuses on the The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture's production of a dōjinshi.

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