What is doujinshi?

Doujinshi are amateur fan comics, depicting characters from shows or films in various situations, some may also have original characters. The quality of art can differ considerably as can the stories. Some may even be sexually explicit. A group of artists are called a 'circle'. There are many different circles and some even go on to draw professional manga. Doujinshi are made by amateurs, and because of that, they are not official. They are not published works. Every single doujin is a rare find, because they are not mass produced. There may be a limited amount of copies available, unless the doujinka (term for doujin artist) decides to reprint the doujinshi. Technically, many doujinshi in Japan are illegal, as many doujins are fan works. The law states that it is illegal to sell fan works for profit (because of copyright). But many doujinka say they do not make much of a profit, in fact  some may even make a loss. They create these fanworks because they are enthusiastic and passionate about their fandom. Also, doujin artists are overlooked by the companies as they can be a benefit to the companies own sales. It is more advertisement for their products. They know it will help their sales gain popularity, and also helps the manga industry. There is a lot of potential doujinka who may be budding manga artists. Many mangaka were once doujin artists, some still make doujinshi. The now famous CLAMP started out as a doujinshi circle.

Why collect doujinshi?

I am a comic collector, I have had a love of comics for a long time. I find doujinshi collecting to be a very entertaining and fun hobby. Some of the artwork can even rival, or in some cases, excel published manga. Also, doujinshi can have a niche market. And I seem to be very picky with my comics. It is easier to find doujinshi that I like compared to manga. Also, like I said before, they are not official, published media. So there's no red tape. Doujinka can draw what they want to see. Because of this, you can find a wide variety of doujinshi that have content that would be hard to find with published manga. It can be what the public want to see, without restraints. Well, as long as the content is not breaching any laws.. apart from the copyright thing. Because of the copyright law, doujinshi are only produced in small numbers. So it is always very thrilling and exciting when you buy a doujinshi you adore. It is like a special, rare item that not many people have. Also, if it is fan work, it is always nice to find a well drawn and written story parodying your favorite characters. This can have many benefits. Fan works may touch upon a part of the original story that never went in depth, or put a spin on it. It could also just be pure porn. And who doesn't like to see their OTP (one true pairing) going at it? XD

Why can't I download doujinshi? Why won't you scan?

I am not a scanner. I do not scan my doujinshi, apart from the front covers. I do not want to scan my doujinshi. This is for a couple of reasons. I would probably have to take the doujinshi apart, and I would hate to do that. Also, I do not condone scans. I may rarely download doujinshi, but when I do, it is either to try to find new potential circles to buy from or so I can understand a doujinshi I have already bought. I am not trying to have a dig at scanners, as they are translating doujinshi for those who cannot read them (such as me), and also encouraging people to buy them and get more exposure. But the scans can be misused, and often are. I want to support the doujinka as much as possible. I always prefer a hard copy, not a scan. But I still think it is best to buy them yourself if you like a particular circle. Most Doujinka do not want their works scanned, a lot even state that in their books. and some even take down their website or even stop making doujinshi all together because of scanners, which is very sad. I hear foreign doujinshi collectors are thought of as the worst among doujinka. I really don't want that title as I look up to many of these artists. Do we really want to have such a bad name from the very people who create these works, from the very people we love and admire? It is a tricky predicament to be in. And if you have the money and a Paypal account, it is not that hard to buy a doujinshi if it is right there ready to be bought. Really, it isn't. I wonder what can be done to benefit all?

Where did you buy your doujinshi from?

I hate to say it, but mostly from ebay. I don't like buying from there because the prices can be hiked up and some sellers may even make more money than the doujinka themselves, but I find it hard to just find doujinshi to buy. Period. If I find a rare doujinshi for sale on ebay that I really, really like (especially if it is a favorite circle), I will buy it. I do not want to miss that opportunity. Chances are it will be hard for me to find it for sale again. If doujinshi was made more accessible and easy I would buy from those alternate sites.
The other place I buy from is Livejournal. It can be a very good place to get those rare, cheap and good finds. Some LJ users actually offer doujinshi pick up services. When a doujinshi event is near, you can specifically request them to buy a certain doujinshi from a circle if that circle is participating. On the day of the event, they will buy it for you. They may also buy doujinshi from an online shop for you, then send them to you. Using LJ can be a lot cheaper than ebay.  As long as you have a Paypal account then you can buy internationally from LJ or ebay. It is pretty easy once you get used to it.

What should I look for when buying a doujinshi?

Really, it is up to you what doujinshi you choose to collect. However, there are certain things you should take into consideration and to look out for. Some doujinshi may be explicit, and you may end up getting more than you bargained for. You cannot tell what is in a doujinshi until you read it. This has many problems. One golden rule of doujinshi is, you should never buy a doujinshi for the cover. The cover art may be a lot more impressive than the inside. Yet I still have fallen for this trap lol. I just love good cover artwork! XD
Also, there may be something not to your taste, or may even be considered illegal in your country. This is a big one. What you buy could go against certain laws in your country. Sometimes the covers may give the impression of something, but the inside is totally different. Since you really have no idea what your getting, it can be a pain. You just have to do your research and hope there is nothing 'bad' in there. <.< Especially regarding pornography or erotica. If you want to buy explicit doujinshi, you should read up on your country's laws first. I don't want fellow innocent doujinshi collectors being prosecuted because of crappy laws. I find looking through the doujinshi database to be essential for a collector. It can give you insight into what content your doujinshi has, and who the artist is.


Don't let this put you off being a doujinshi collector though. It is rare that anyone would be prosecuted. Doujinshi are wonderful to collect, and a lot of explicit material should be OK. But, Japan seems to be going through a 'moe' stage right now, which is unfortunate for me. You just have to be aware. Like, in some countries, loli/shota or any depiction of a 'minor' in sexually explicit drawings are illegal. So just don't go buying an unmistakably loli/shota doujinshi, obviously.
You should try to look around for a good bargain. As I said before, I buy from LJ and ebay. If you are going to buy something, try to look for a best price. Take ebay for example. There may be two sellers who are selling the exact same doujinshi, but at different prices. If you don't look around, you could end up paying more. That being said, doujinshi are rare. If you find something you really like and it is the only one you can find for sale, you may not be sure if you will be able to find it again. So, in that case, I would go for it. It really depends on how much money you are willing to pay for your doujinshi.

Why did you make this site?

I have been wanting to make a site for years, but never got round to it. Since doujinshi is my passion, I wanted to share my collection with other like minded people who will appreciate this site too. And hopefully through this site, I will get others interested in becoming a doujinshi collector. Maybe even get them to become a fan of a particular doujinka, and to get them to support this wonderful hobby by buying the original. You know, there are many amazing doujinshi out there that have not been scanned. So go and buy them for yourself! (Just don't scan them, OK? <.<)