I realised that yesterday’s entry seemed to overlap a lot with today’s. I started off talking about a derivative of novels, which seemed to weave itself into an anime route. To make up for it, I shall talk today about a kind of anime-inspired material that can also be literary (but is still mainly on the anime front, unfortunately).
Doujin, when taken literally, means “same person”, meaning people who share the same interests. In anime culture, however, doujin refers to self-published amateur works, which can be manga, novels or even games. If you’re a hobbyist who just created something to sell, you’ve just made yourself a doujin.
Most doujin products that you see outside are fan-made products, or derivatives from existing anime. All the anime posters that you buy in the Creators’ Corner at Anime Fest Asia are doujin, because they weren’t produced by the company as official merchandise. They are also produced in relatively low quantity, to avoid charges of litigation. Yes, I bet you were wondering why these people don’t get sued for profiteering off established fandoms. They probably earn so little that the organisations turn a blind eye.
On a literary bent, fanfiction can also be sold as doujin. Authors will package their stories nicely into a book — probably 10 in stock — with perhaps their friends doing cover illustrations, and sell them. Amateur music can also be sold, perhaps recorded in store-bought CDs. The most popular is still probably the doujinshi, the doujin manga. However, the first doujin were poetry and novels, during the Meiji period, and published in literary magazines.
In Japan, the biggest doujin convention is undoubtedly the Comiket (Comic Market). It is, I believe, held twice a year in Tokyo, and various creators set up booths selling their wares. Some artists use doujin as an opportunity to make a professional debut. In modern times, doujin circles also arise in schools as student groups. For instance, FantaisieNocturne Productions is a local doujin circle. Its head, as well as some of its members, are in the NUS Anime Club, which is how I know of them. They produce works of excellent quality, and the head really is a great artist, and knows how to earn money out of popular fandoms.
Their site looks just a bit glitchy to me, but it has some of their written works, and the art is pretty good.
However, the magic of FNP lies in their ability to make fan art look so real, as you can see on their Facebook page.
Enough advertising. At any rate, the doujin community is steadily gaining ground, with people blowing hard-earned money in the Comiket. And most of these fan art are so much like the real deal (or sometimes even better) that some people feed off their otaku obsessions entirely off doujin. And with doujin being such a cheaper and more personalised alternative, I completely understand why!