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What are Fanzines and/or Doujinshi?

The Japanese word ↗doujinshi literally can be translated as "fanzine". Basically it is a magazine or ↗manga (comic book) that is published by fans.

In Japan, it is a common practice for fans of an anime or manga series to create and self-publish their own works based on that title. Usually, not many copies of a doujinshi are made, usually around a few hundred depending on how much money the creator is willing to put into his work and how many copies he/she thinks they can sell. The copyright owners do not seem to have a problem with fans using their works as there are tons of doujinshi in Japan.

Warning! If you do a search for doujinshi on E-bay or on the web, most of what you will find is hentai, the more extreme Japanese word for "pervert", and which is synonymous with anime and manga porn. In deed, a great deal of doujinshi is hentai and certainly your chances of selling a doujinshi rise if it is pornographic. A lot of Japanese (and non-Japanese) fans of a series want to see these characters in various sexual activities.

While doujinshi is primarily works done by fans, established manga artist or anime creators can also do doujinshi. Maybe one of the biggest users of doujinshi is KAJISHIMA Masaki-san, the creator of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki. He has done a lot of non-pornographic doujinshi for many (if not all) of his anime titles. For TM!R and GXP, Kajishima-san's doujinshi gave fans early looks at new characters, ships, places, etc. that he would be introducing. He also dropped tidbits of information to help fuel the fires of speculation for those series.

Due to the limited releases of doujinshi (including those done by Kajishima-san and other estabished anime/manga people) and "other" considerations, these works will almost certainly never officially be translated into English. From time-to-time, a fan will scan a doujinshi issue and post it on the internet. Then a bilingual individual may take that scan and digitally replace the Japanese text with English text. But there are very few English translations (sometimes called "scanlations") of doujinshi out there. There is a project going on to attempt to translate Kajishima's various Tenchi doujinshi into English though.

text by AstroNerdBoy.

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