And kanji with manga
Monday, October 10, 2016

doujinshi 同人誌

In Japanese, doujinshi 同人誌 means a "fanzine" most of the time. It's also romanized dōjinshi, dojinshi, douzinsi, dōzinsi, or dozinsi.


Literally, a doujinshi is a "publication," shi 誌, by a doujin 同人and a doujin is a "person," hito, who is the "same," onaji 同じ, as someone else. In other words, it's a fanzine made by people who share a same hobby, like otaku オタク, fujoshi 腐女子, and so on.

The doujinshi are generally published independently, as opposed to serialized in magazines, and, as such, enjoy less editorial restrictions regarding their content.

On the other hand, the lack of a publisher means these indie publications aren't as easily found for purchase, specially overseas.


Usually, the doujinshi are sold by their authors, the doujin circle, in person at certain events that gather fans, called the "conventions."

Afterwards, they can be found for purchase in shops around Japan.

Nowadays, it's also possible to buy doujinshi online, in shopping websites. Such websites normally only ship domestically, to people living in Japan. To purchase doujinshi and ship them overseas, outside of Japan, a third-party is necessary which is both an added trouble and expense.

Some authors sell doujinshi digitally. The digital versions don't need to be shipped anywhere and therefore can be easily purchased and downloaded by anyone in the world. Unfortunately, not all authors sell digitally; some doujinshi are only available for physical purchase.

vs. Hentai

The word doujinshi doesn't mean hentai manga. Although pornographic doujinshi do exist, and are actually how many western fans end up learning the word, there are just as many PG-13 doujinshi as there R-18 ones.

In Japanese, the term usui hon 薄い本, "thin book," sometimes refers to a doujinshi featuring adult content.

vs. Parody

A doujinshi isn't necessarily a parody or derivative work. Although many doujinshi feature characters from certain anime, manga, games, and so on that the author likes, there are also doujinshi with completely original stories.

In fact, some series started as original-story doujinshi and then entered serializations. There are also cases of doujinka 同人家, "doujin authors," that became professional mangaka 漫画家 afterwards, like CLAMP, that went to make Card Captor Sakura.

vs. Manga

A doujinshi isn't the same thing as a manga 漫画, or "comic," komikku コミック. A doujinshi can be a manga, but it can also be any other kind of book, like a "novel," shousetsu 小説, for example.

On the other hand, not everything published by doujin is a doujinshi.
  • doujin sofuto 同人ソフト
    "Doujin software." Indie games. Songs. Music. Audio tracks. (because they're files.)
  • doujin guzzu 同人グッズ
    "Doujin goods." Plastic models. Dolls. Figures.
  • doujin anime 同人アニメ
    A literal anime made by doujin. (yes, these exist.)

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