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The term dōjinshi ( Japanese written 同人 誌 ) is an abbreviation of the term dōjin zasshi ( 同人 雑 誌 , "magazine by and for like-minded people") and describes mangas published by non-professional artists in self-publishing , similar to fanzines . Dōjinshi drawings are also known as fan art . The dojin groups, which often consist of only one person, are called "circles" ( サ ー ク ル , sākuru for English circle ).

In Japan, dōjinshi are mainly sold at dōjinshi fairs, so they are works of a commercial nature. The largest of these fairs is the comic market (Comiket), which takes place twice a year in Tokyo , and is also the largest comic fair in the world. In addition, it is also sold through chain stores specializing in dōjinshi or second-hand bookstores.


Since the illustrators are not subject to editorial restrictions, the dōjinshis offer great freedom of expression. Often characters are borrowed from existing manga or anime series. Some of the publications deal with erotic and sexual relationships, including many of the Yaoi and Yuri genres (stories about homosexual relationships). Other areas are also used and many draftsmen create separate series as well.

Dōjinshi draftsman

Many professional manga artists have their roots in the dōjinshi scene, for example the artist group Clamp .

An example of professional development is the Haibane Renmei series , which began as a dōjinshi. Due to the great success, later volumes were marketed commercially before the mangas were discontinued in favor of an anime series.

Sometimes well-known artists continue to publish dōjinshi under a pseudonym or even under their real name. One example is Rikudo Koshi , who, even after his breakthrough with the Excel Saga series, continues to draw dōjinshi under his own name and sell it at trade fairs; another Nozomu Tamaki , the so-called "official dōjinshi" ( 公式 同人 誌 , kōshiki dōjinshi ) draws for his own professionally published manga.

Legal situation

Although the vast majority of dōjinshi is a copyright infringement because of the use of licensed characters , these works are largely tolerated by the Japanese manga publishers, as they contribute to the popularity of the originals. The publishers themselves have their own stands at major trade fairs and even use dōjinshi events to find new talent in drawing.

Dōjinshi international

In contrast to the commercial background in Japan, dōjinshi projects in other countries are more of a hobby and are rarely financially related. With the exception of individual works or anthologies, mostly printed on private initiative, distribution is generally free of charge via the Internet and is limited to the fan scene in the respective country.


  • Salil K. Mehra: Copyright and Comics in Japan: Does Law Explain Why All the Cartoons My Kid Watches Are Japanese Imports? In: Rutgers Law Review . Vol. 55, 2002, doi : 10.2139 / ssrn.347620 (English, corneredangel.com [PDF] on the legal situation of dōjinshi).

Individual evidence

  1. a b Ga-netchû! The Manga-Anime-Syndrom , p. 266. Henschel Verlag, 2008
  2. ^ A b Paul Gravett: Manga - Sixty Years of Japanese Comics , pp. 135f. Egmont Manga and Anime, 2004.
  3. ^ Paul Gravett: Manga - Sixty Years of Japanese Comics , p. 99f. Egmont Manga and Anime, 2004.
  4. サークル【環屋】の環望先生による「ダンスインザヴァンパイアバンド」公式同人誌!ファンが待ちかねた第五弾と第六弾がとらのあなに登場です! . Toranoana, accessed January 24, 2013 (Japanese).

Web links

Wiktionary: Dōjinshi  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations