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Translations: Gintama 507 (2)
I hope I posted this in the right section! I wasn't sure if a discussion on doujinshi would be off-topic if I posted it in the Otaku Cafe forum, so I chose Culture to be on the safe side.
Here's the background story: I've been scanning some of the doujinshi in my collection and thinking about scanlating some of them myself. I have actually scanlated a few in the past, but lately I've been mulling about the ethics of it all since doujinshi is an even greyer zone than the ongoing debate over manga scanlations.
So, I was wondering what your general thoughts are on doujinshi, particularly the following:
- The act of creating them in itselfThis mostly has to do with the circles and doujinka in Japan who create doujinshi. Do you consider it legal? Why do you think it's such a widespread and apparently accepted part of the Japanese/manga culture?
- The act of buying doujinshiBy this, I'm mostly referring to purchasing through means other than directly from the creators. Most if not all circles insert pages declaring they do not wish for their works to be redistributed and/or sold/purchased elsewhere such as through internet auctions (ネットオークション禁); some of them even make requests for the reader to trash the doujinshi rather than resell if they don't want to keep it around anymore. On the other hand, not everyone can afford to fly to Japan just to attend doujinshi conventions such as Comiket (for which you also have to pay and register for) and buy directly from the circles. What are your thoughts on the circles and doujinka's stance on this?
- The act of scanning and/or scanlating doujinshiI'm most curious about this, especially as this site is based around translations primarily for the purposes of scanlating. Again, most if not all circles request that people do not redistribute (無断転載) or transcribe (無断転写) their works without permission, so this would also boil down to personal morals. Would you respect their wishes or share with people who otherwise will not get the chance to read or purchase their doujinshi? Do you consider the scanning/scanlating of doujinshi harmful to the circles and doujinka? If you do scanlate doujinshi, how likely do you think these creators will find out and what actions do you think they would or can take, if at all?
And just to throw a wrench into the mix, since I'm sure most of you were pondering those questions with the thought of animanga or otherwise fictional series and characters in mind:
What if the doujinshi in question are of real people?
Would that change your stance in any way? For example, if you had considered doujinshi illegal from the standpoint that they are derivatives of copyrighted characters and storylines, would they still be considered illegal if they're based off of real people?
Thanks a lot for humoring me, and I look forward to reading your thoughts! Feel free to talk about things I haven't touched on too.
Severe TLR warning!!
First of all, I'm incredibly happy someone is discussing doujinshi on a manga/anime forum. The two go hand in hand and not many people think about it. Your post was excellently put together. It reminded me of a really awesome article on a foreigner's discovery and insight into doujinshi culture. Its a couple of years old but its very relevant to the topic of this thread: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/m...15-11/ff_manga
I'm glad you posted this, because I've been struggling with ways of sharing my doujinshi too. How were you planning on going about this? When did you get into doujinshi?
Thank you for replying, and with such a long thoughtful response at that! I was starting to give up hope that anyone would respond to this thread...
That link you gave is really great and definitely helps answer some of my questions. I also love what you said about the connection to other fans-- the thing with doujinshi is that I never really get the feeling that people are only in it for the money. Above all else, they're fans first and foremost, and it's precisely because they're such big fans that they're going above and beyond the "duties" of a normal fan to produce these works. I read a very interesting blog article the other day about how much money doujinka actually earn from their sales at Comiket, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in statistics and numbers:
The reason why I brought this article up is because of the fact that most doujinka either don't earn very much from selling their doujinshi or they actually lose money from all the costs (supplies, printing, travel/lodging, etc.). There was also this particular tidbit that I thought was very telling of their motivations despite essentially losing money through what they do:
After reading that article, and now the Wired one you linked, it really makes it clear for me that selling doujinshi isn't simply about profit-- and not only that, now I have some actual numbers as confirmation. Even though it's technically not legal, it helps the industry indirectly (as with the examples you pointed out), and it's basically another way of participating in fandom. And I haven't even touched on how much I admire the incredible talent many of them have to actually create these works!Quote:
I'm primarily in the Jpop fandom (Arashi to be specific), so most of my doujinshi are of real people (hence my question at the end of my post!). I think with real people, there's definitely an added sense of paranoia that's missing from circles who focus on mainly fictional characters and pairings. All the real people doujinshi from my collection not only stress that they don't want their works to be redistributed or sold online, they also have very clear warnings about not showing their work to anyone related to the agency (J禁) or anyone who isn't a fan (P禁).
There's also, I think, a big difference between scanning manga and scanning doujinshi. When the bigwigs want their licensed manga series taken down, they're primarily concerned with monetary losses-- by downloading the scans for free, people aren't buying the real thing, etc. etc. On the other hand, I think doujinka have very different reasons for it. Even though I'm making absolutely zero money off of scanlating doujinshi, I can't blame these doujinka for wanting their works taken down. For them, losing money isn't an issue more often than not, so it's not that they're concerned about financial harm; as you saw from that article I linked, most of them are already losing money. I try to put myself in their shoes and think about how I would feel if someone took my translations and either reposted or translated them into another language without telling me. They're doing it for the same reason I'm scanlating my doujinshi - so that it can be shared with more people who can enjoy something they can't read or can't get access to - but it's still a personal work at the end of the day, and it would be upsetting to know that people were blatantly ignoring simple rules.
Gah, I think I'm losing my train of thought here... I'll come back if I have anything else to add, and thanks again for responding to my questions!!
and become more confident in my fujoshiness. Definitely if the doujinshi is about living, breathing people, it makes sense the doujinka do not want non-fans reading and flipping out about it. I can respect and understand their worries a lot more.
Do you buy other kinds of doujinshi? Would you say doujinshi gives you something different than just fanart, or fanfiction, or fan discussion? I don't know much about the jpop/jrock fandom, so I'm curious how doujinshi plays a part in it. I only know manga.
Honestly, I enjoy talking to you about doujinshi, and there are very few people who would be willing to discuss it, let alone want to learn about it. I posted on my personal blog about my latest BL purchases, and someone commented how awful it was because it was BL and not what they wanted. They were disturbed by it, which unfortunately happens a lot.
But it's funny that you mentioned wanting to know how doujinshi plays a part in jpop/jrock fandom, because it doesn't really at all (at least, not at the international level). I rarely see doujinshi mentioned or shared in jpop fandoms online, but the few that I've shared publicly had favourable responses and I think also helped stir up more interest in real life doujinshi as a result. In Japan, I think it's treated like the way they treat fanfiction there-- secretive and hushed up. Since they're from the same country and can read and understand the language, fanfiction sites are incredibly strict with their password hints and applications to ensure that only fans (both of the fandom in question and yaoi) can get through. So the doujinka that creates real life doujinshi also carry some of that over with their heightened paranoia. You can buy their doujinshi in Mandarake or directly from conventions and events, but I do know that most of the events (apart from Comiket, which is pretty much infamous) aren't advertised openly and require a bit of hoop jumping to even find out where and when they will be held.
Before I forget, what kind of doujinshi do you buy? Do you prefer certain pairing orders (like character A x B but not B x A)? I've seen people in my fandom expressing annoyance at fanfic writers who insist on specifying the order with the seme's name going first, and likewise people who complain about writers who make no specifications at all because it results in them being disappointed when they start reading and realise it's not the order they like. I for one find the specific pairing order really useful when I'm buying doujinshi because I do have preferences and since Mandarake seals all doujinshi they sell, it can be a bit of a crapshoot when I'm buying.
I'm really grateful for proxies for this reason, but I also feel conflicted by it too. I admire the intimacy of meet-ups and doujinshi events. The internet has a tendency to make everything about fandom a public affair, and sometimes some things don't need to be aired so loudly. Like you say, doujinshi really doesn't play that big of a role in the international/non-Japanese fandom. I guess a lot of Japanese fans and doujinka must feel weird to know something is popular in another country, that has its own ideas dissimilar to their own. Of course, I can't understand Japanese, so I miss out. xD
I started buying doujinshi out of my frustration that no one I knew shipped the same thing I did. Bizarrely enough, even when I have met people who do, its usually on anon imageboards here and there. And on bigger English websites, people dismiss it as crack anyway. So I kind of feel I'm stuck in the same position as you: doujinshi and shipping isn't a big part of my fandom at all, but to me its partly why I'm here in the first place. Don't you ever feel that way about doujinshi? Is it the doujinshi that changes your view on canon, or does the doujinshi validate what you already believe in? Its kind of a chicken-and-the-egg question.
One question I have regarding doujinshi is whether or not the doujinkas credit the mangaka or the publisher. A lot of fan fiction authors add a disclaimer in the introduction so I'm wondering if doujinshi follow a similar policy?
Even though I enjoy reading doujinshi and admire the dedication that goes into creating it, my morals are against making profit out of something that has been copyrighted by another individual. However, I'll be more lax about the selling of doujinshi if the doujinka make sure to give credit where it is due.
Interesting point! But I'd say copyright law works differently in Japan, or rather their attitude towards it is different. In English speaking fandoms the emphasis on copyrighting is much more prominent. But in Japanese fandom, I don't think that's the case. All the doujinshi I have, both digitally and physically, have varying ways of showing the doujinshi is a parody of an existing work. Some of them have a huge disclaimer page, others have it written really small at the bottom. A lot of them don't have anything, and just write "Magi fanbook 08" or "D.Gray-man fanbook" or "Beelzebub fanbook" both on the inside and on the cover. There is no "standard" disclaimer for the Japanese fandom as there is for English-speaking fanwork. I think you're meant to understand the moment you look at it that its not original, but a parody.
But I doubt people make an actual profit off of doujinshi. I think pikanchi linked to an article as well -- only 4.2% of doujinshi circles are in it to make money. The rest charge for the doujinshi because they need to cover the cost of having it printed in the first place. And even the amount that they print -- maybe maximum 1000 or 2000 copies, is nothing compared to how many copies get printed of the original manga itself. Another thing to take into consideration is that doujinshi rarely exists for a manga series that hasn't obtained some kind of popularity already. Lets look at Magi. Magi has 424 circles participating in C83 this December. While this number seems large, each circle has to pay for the printing cost themselves, which is different than when Shogakukan pays for Magi to be printed and sold in commercial manga shops. Magi alone will profit by people buying all the stock that's available, but a Magi circle will only make money if someone buys their specific doujinshi. The profit may feel good -- that you created something and sold it to people -- but its more like breaking even.
How did you get into doujinshi, Asarii? And how would you rate the enjoyment as oppose to reading fanfiction?
As you say though, the fact that the doujinshi is a parody might be why they don't need to add disclaimers. However, it would be nice if they did give credit or at least give thanks to the mangaka for creating the characters.
Whether they're earning 100 or 1000 yen, they're still getting money. I understand that it's expensive to purchase materials and getting the documents published, but a lot of hobbies tend to cost money. Those costs could easily be covered by jobs or saving up a couple of dollars/yens. I've seen a lot of fan comics posted online on personal websites and pixiv so I'm wondering why many don't take that root instead.Quote:
It's a mixed situation: I love and admire the work that goes into doujinshi, but I feel uncomfortable about the monetary aspect that's attached to it. Despite saying that, however, I'm completely fine if someone created their own manga with their own characters and sold it at a convention.
I don't remember actually! *tries to remember* I'm pretty sure the first doujinshi I encountered was a Reborn one; considering the demographic makeup of the fandom, it's easy to find a lot of doujinshi on it.Quote:
For some reason I love reading doujinshi that are very dark in theme. I enjoy reading comical works as well, but it's usually the angst-filled ones that get me thinking about the characters or the original manga from a different perspective.
Doujinshi is harder to come by online than fanfiction so it's a special treat when I come across something that I especially like, and it's even better when it's the raw version. Nevertheless even if it's scanlated, there's still the same vibe that is conveyed from the artwork. My enjoyment scale goes like this: Japanese fan fiction* > doujinshi (scanlated and non-scanlated) > English fan fiction.
*Lately it's this and Niconico fan videos that I look to when I'm obsessed about something.
I'm not really familiar with Doujinshi and all about the technical details about it, but after reading the aforementioned article, somehow I respect Doujin makers a little more. There is even a Doujin magazine for game which is almost not exist anymore! that's obviously requires huge effort and dedication. I wish I could have one of those retro-game Doujin, even though probably I'm going to use it merely for collective purpose. It's cool.
Also speaking about Japanese copyright law in general, I believe that Japanese copyright are tend to be stricter when it comes to cross-borders enforcement, but not in domestic enforcement. Between 1993-2006, the total number of IP cases accepted in the first instance court is only 25%, a small number considering that the amount of IP cases received by the court all over Japan is roughly around 600-700 cases/year.
Last edited by Doraku; January 04, 2013 at 08:04 AM.
Thanks for the article, Doraku!
Usually doujinshi are attributed to fan-made manga, but it's also worth noting that there are other forms of "doujin" as well. There's a fansite I go to that posts excerpts of their doujin novels on top of posting fan fiction which are usually shorter in length.