Want to Know the History of Doujinshi?
Japan’s famous Comiket 92 has just ended, and this year’s celebration of cosplay, underground Japanese comics and all other forms of creative fan culture was especially fun. With 500,000 fans braving the Tokyo heat, the event dwarfed the San Diego Comic-Con (140,000) and Anime Expo (110,000), though this year’s attendance was 50,000 lower than last year. Although Comiket has grown into a huge event that’s covered by mainstream media, it all started back in 1975 with the first Comic Market doujinshi direct-sales event with only 600 attendees.
It’s fun to trace the history of doujinshi. The word 同人誌 — it can be translated as “a magazine published by a group of individuals who share a common dream” — was first coined back in the Taisho Era when Kawabata Yasunari joined with other early modern Japanese writers to create self-published literary magazines in the 1920s. By the 1970s, fan-drawn comics were rising in popularity in university manga clubs and helped along by the rise of inexpensive offset printing and copy machines. The idea of fan-made parody works based on existing copyrights isn’t a Japanese invention. The father of fan fiction in the West is Spockanalia, a Star Trek fanzine from 1967 that might be called the father of all such fan-made creations. Today the Comiket world is an engine of creativity where talented amateurs hone their skills and go pro, and everyone from CLAMP to Takahashi Rumiko to Nitroplus president Digitarou Kosaka got their start drawing amateur comics. Make sure to browse the new doujinshi we’ve been posting on the page during our two-week 5x points promotion on all manga comics!
The current anime season continues, with a surprisingly high number of gems. One show I’ve been enjoying is Tsuzezure Children, which follows the developing love relationships between several couples. The format is simple: each 12 minute episode presents adorable short scenes of girls and boys in love, illustrating how clumsy and frustrating young love can be. A girl who’s so shy, she takes several days to work up the courage to confess her love to her classmate. A boy who seizes his chance to walk in the rain with the girl he wants to ask out, but she’s so self-effacing — “if any boy confessed his feeling for me, it would show what bad judgement he has…I’m not cute, and have a depressing personality” — he’s unable to communicate his feelings. Tsurezure Children is highly recommended for anyone who’s been frustrated by a series where a desired confession of love is withheld from fans, since every episode is basically nothing but. The only challenge will be deciding which couple is the most adorable.
The J-List staff work hard to make J-List Box monthly boxes, filled with all the wonderful things you want from Japan. This month’s boxes are up for order, and we’ve got four of them: a basic and deluxe snack box, a cute limited toy box recommended for fans of Kirby, plus a great ecchi box. Browse them all now!