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Nele Noppe

Comic Market: How the World's Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōji... - 0 views

  • the world's largest regular gathering of comic fans today is Tokyo's biannual Comic Market
  • dōjinshi phenomenon did not start with Comic Market, Comike and dōjinshi are inextricably linked, having shaped each other's history for three decades.
  • Comike convention has shaped the most important trends defining the development of dōjinshi in Japan today
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  • In 1975, a woman who had made critical remarks about the Manga Taikai was excluded from that convention, and [End Page 234] subsequently a firestorm of anger among fans produced a movement against the Manga Taikai led by the famous circle Meikyū (Labyrinth), which resulted in the conception of a new alternative convention. On December 21, 1975, the first Comic Market—"a fan event from fans for fans"—was held in Tokyo.6
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  • Comike's underlying vision was of an open and unrestricted dōjinshi fair, offering a marketplace without limitations on content or access.
  • With the advent of these fan-consumers (as opposed to fan-creators), dōjinshi became demand-driven publications. Greater competition gradually fostered rising standards of quality, which in turn attracted more circles and buyers. Higher sales shrank production costs and boosted profits, which could then be reinvested in the dōjinshi themselves. Small printing companies, many of which had begun in the minikomi (microcommunication) boom of the early 1970s, were able to use the profits derived from greater demand for their services to modernize their equipment, lowering production costs further and enabling them to construct their production schedules around each Comike.8 Additionally, lower printing costs freed smaller groups from the dependence on bigger groups, which often had strict rules on content and style to avoid conflict among their many members. Having lost their raison d'être, these big clubs and circles gradually faded away, leaving dōjinshi creators to produce stories they liked, in the manner they liked.9
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  • aniparo parodied popular anime series, and in doing so, attracted a new type of fan to Comike, beyond its core group of 2000 or so attendees. These were female fans, mostly middle and high school students strongly influenced by the 1970s florescence of shōjo manga. They began to create and consume dōjinshi in which the (bishōnen or "pretty boy") male protagonists of popular anime and manga were transposed into a very particular sort of erotic story typified by the phrase: "without tension" (yama nashi), "without punchline" (ochi nashi), and "without meaning" (imi nashi)—and hence the contemporary genre title, yaoi.10
  • The eleventh Comic Market in spring 1979 saw the popularity of the cute and pure bishōjo or "pretty girl" (strongly influenced by 1970s shōjo manga) skyrocket among men's dōjinshi circles, attracting many new male participants.
  • The Comic Market was dominated by women from the beginning (90 percent of its first participants were female), but in 1981, thanks to lolicon, male participants numbered the same as female participants for the first time in Comike's history.13
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  • Internal conflicts on the Comike planning committee underlay some of these developments: they marked the ascendancy of the faction led by Yonezawa Yoshihiro, who favored Comike's unlimited expansion.15 Though he was criticized for purportedly selling dōjinshi out to commercialism, Yonezawa couched his plans for Comike in terms of a collective organization of the convention by all participants, including staff, circles, and visitors.16 Whatever the underlying reality, these public principles remain little changed today.17
  • Faced with this loss of identity, talent, and space, every other large fan convention except Comike dissolved.

    Yaoi Boom

    But in the middle of the decade, one manga and its anime not only saved dōjinshi fandom from near extinction but was responsible for its biggest boom yet. Takahashi Yōichi's Captain Tsubasa (1981–88, Kyaputen tsubasa),

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  • New dōjinshi conventions appeared, and manga shops began selling dōjinshi on commission. Comparatively lush, custom-made, oversized dōjinshi with more than one hundred pages became common, and popular circles could now live on their fanworks' profits
  • professional creators like Toriyama Akira of Dragonball fame participating,
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  • Despite the self-censorship brought on by the mass media's criticism, Comike nevertheless continued to thrive. Young men tired of new, tighter restrictions on professional manga turned to Comike, and attendance once again swelled to 230,000 in the summer of 1990.23

    Hardcore lolicon was now passé, and erotic dōjinshi for men had greatly changed. New genres were introduced with such aspects as fetishism and a new style of softcore eroticism enjoyed by men and women alike; in particular, yuri (lily), or lesbian stories, emerged.24Dōjinshi also became smaller and shorter due to professional publishers recruiting talented dōjinshi creators en masse: the bulk of dōjinshi were the works of the less talented creators left behind.25

  • Other factors contributing to the increased interest in dōjinshi and in fanworks were the development of fixed otaku landmarks and the spread of computers. Almost everyone could now afford to make digital dōjinshi as well as audiovisual or even interactive dōjinshi (i.e. dōjin music and dōjin games).
  • The personal technology revolution meant [End Page 239] simplification of fanworks' production processes as well as completely new possibilities for communication and new digital genres. With the growth of dōjinshi in other media, the term "dōjin products" (dōjin seihin) has gradually come into use to describe fanworks of all genres.
  • Further, the conversion of Tokyo's Akihabara "Electric Town" into a district full of shops selling otaku-related goods, as well as the nationwide expansion of otaku-goods retailers and the establishment of Internet communities and message boards in the late 1990s, enabled otaku to live out their interests and to communicate nonstop with like-minded people everywhere. Their interests and culture were easily shared, and consequently information on Comic Market and dōjin culture spread around the world.
  • The rise of the Internet also meant that Comike lost its monopoly as the center of otaku and dōjinshi culture. Nevertheless, Comike remained the most important event for Japanese fans, especially after companies with otaku-related products started to exploit it.28 Firms had been interested in Comic Market for decades as a never-ending pool of promising new talent and as a place to exploit them commercially, and they were willing to pay much money for direct access to these masses of otaku.29 Starting with NEC in the summer of 1995, companies were granted exhibition space to market or to sell their newest products. This was the birth of the dealer booth at Comike, and, as with dōjinshi circles, the number of applicant companies was much higher than that of available spaces: a self-sustaining event with such high attendance was too important for any related company to ignore.30 Companies accepted the existence of unlicensed parody dōjinshi using copyrighted material (albeit in a transformative and thus arguably fair-use manner) since they could now sell exclusive goods at Comike (Figure 3) or use it as a marketing place, attracting to the convention people who were not interested in dōjinshi.
  • In the summer of 2004, 5 percent of all circles participating in Comike were headed by a professional mangaka or illustrator, while another 10 percent had some professional experience.
  • Despite its relative newness, Higurashi became one of Japan's biggest media phenomena, and at the seventy-sixth Comic Market in summer 2009, Tōhō Project became the first dōjin title ever to receive the honor of being considered its own genre.
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  • It seems that dōjinshi circles are not switching entirely to the Internet but rather are using it as an informational and marketing platform for themselves and their creations, spreading the knowledge of and fascination with Comic Market to new spheres.
  • With high attendance, positive media attention, and industry support, Comike's position seems invulnerable. Even the deaths of important figures such as Iwata Tsuguo in 2004 and Yonezawa Yoshihiro—who was the face of Comike for decades—in 2006 did not harm its position. But unresolved problems, such as the use of copyrighted material in parody dōjinshi and the child pornography questions inherent in lolicon and shotakon, remain.
  • Comike was neither the first nor the biggest dōjinshi fair when it was established; its main purpose was to provide the freest market possible, and that freedom has come at a price. The dream of a Comic Market open to every one and everything was never realized, as there were too many physical, financial, and legal restrictions. Even today, the Comic Market suffers from a lack of space, a lack of money, and a lack of legal security. Only two-thirds of applicant circles can participate due to constraints, since, as a small independent operator Comike's financial resources are limited and most of the work is done by volunteers.
  • s the center of attention, with its size and its links to the industry, it is undeniable that Comike possesses the power and the means to influence social, market, and even political developments. In [End Page 244]
  • recent years it has not been reluctant to use this power. Whether through conferences on copyright issues or on the establishment of a "National dōjinshi fair liaison group" (Zenkoku dōjinshi sokubaikai renrakukai) in 2000, it has taken on the responsibility of representing and of regulating Japanese dōjinshi culture.
Nele Noppe

Doujin Work's Hiroyuki to Oversee New Collaborative Comic Gear Mag - 0 views

  • However, Hiroyuki is vowing that all the manga creators in Comic Gear will be working together in the same studio everyday. Hiroyuki hopes that this work environment will encourage more collaboration between fellow manga creators so they can trade tips on techniques and share their knowledge. Hiroyuki also hopes that this environment will foster new talent by having more experienced creators mentor previously unpublished creators "from morning to night" about developing story and characters.
Nele Noppe

Otaku2 - Doujinshi and Law - 0 views

  • An increasingly popular outlet for manga enthusiasts is doujinshi, meaning both fan-produced manga and the “circles” that create them. They flout copyright law and rearticulate the characters they love, and their numbers are many—the largest public get-together in Japan is not a World Cup or Olympic gathering, but rather a doujinshi market called Comike.
  • Legally, fans can produce whatever they want insofar as it’s not blatantly for profit or obscene.
  • Researcher Gunnar Hempel, 27, a Sophia University MA who wrote his thesis on the phenomenon, estimates there are 8,000 Japanese living off doujinshi, but stresses the number could be greater thanks to digital publishing. A “professional doujinshi” artist scrapes by on some 12,000 yen a month, but can gross 32,000 yen from large sales events.
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  • that allowing fans to produce keeps them interested, provides free market research, and cultivates new talent.
  • This year, Kadokawa made a landmark deal allowing “mad movies” of their "Suzumiya Haruhi" anime as long as fans marked posts on YouTube and Nico Nico Douga with Kadokawa logos. Haruhi remains their flagship series, in part because of internet support.
Nele Noppe

Regulating the Fringe: Waisetsu (Obscenity) Rules Doujinshi? - 0 views

  • Doujinshi arrests are based on three major dimensions: copyright, taxation and obscene expression.
Nele Noppe

How doujinshi will take over the world (or not) - 0 views

  • First, doujinshi are not commercial products, and this is one of the most important distinctions that allows its very existence. 
  • Many doujinshi conventions (Comiket included) require doujin circles to provide print run information, and enforces a cap.  Quite simply, there aren’t enough books to export en mass. 
  • This is also why doujinshi has continued to grow while other media like manga, anime, and music have suffered with the advent of peer to peer trading on the internet…the doujinshi market is a collector’s market, where the physical book itself is highly valued
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  • that’s not to say that doujinshi isn’t profitable…a few artists never “go pro” because they make quite a healthy living on their doujinshi,
  • The much better road for the American manga industry and fans to take is not to import doujinshi, but to import the doujinshi ideal and ethics, and foster a domestic doujinshi community of our own.  This road is beset by its own share of hurdles, though, and they have very deep roots.
  • in America properties are created and owned by the corporation.
  • While fanzines and fanfiction have been around in the U.S., we have nothing even close to the doujinshi scene in Japan, because of American corporate mentality which values “perpetual properties” instead of new creations, and these properties are guarded visciously.
  • They simply have no reason to support budding artists in such a way, when their raison detre are still characters created decades ago.  Fan comics are not seen as extending the life of a property, but as competition. 
  • The truth is a significant portion of Japanese doujinshi are erotic works, many based on children’s shows.  It isn’t hard to imagine the kind of moral outrage most doujinshi would illicit. 
  • American manga companies need to take a hard look at doujinshi in Japan and understand its benefits, and readers and artists should take a stand because this is an opportunity for the status of the creator to take precedence over the corporation.
Nele Noppe

Doujin's Commercial Evolution - 0 views

  • Over the first years of the new millennium these trends continued, with a robust market emerging that combined improved distribution with wider interest to generate revenue for some circles that could no longer be termed “amateur” in any meaningful sense.
    • The doujinshi market grew steadily via promulgation through the internet and pop culture media.
    • This resulted in the viability of the doujin as a means of part time and increasingly full time employment.
    • “Kojin circles” emerged, consisting of a sole creator (kojin) who handled all aspects of production and received all the benefits of income from publications.
    • Larger circles formed semi-professional units to produce doujin software that would compete with professional releases.
    • Otaku goods shops expanded their scope as doujin vendors, acting as proxy sellers for hundreds of circles both via brick and mortar outlets and via online mail order.
    • Online-only doujin shops such as DLsite emerged, selling digital copies of doujinshi via download.
    • Advances in printing technology and cheap, high quality labor (mostly Chinese) allowed for the proliferation of doujin items to media beyond the traditional books (and less tradtional CD-Rs), including towels, pillowcases, fans, cups, trinkets, and figures.
  • new class of semi-pro and professional creators
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  • an increasingly large class of professional creators uses doujin sales as a substantial segment of their income, acting as freelance illustrators, mangaka, and designers when they’re not doing doujin work (and vice versa).
  • Perhaps the biggest issue raised by the emergence of this group of professional and semi-pro doujinka is that of intellectual property rights and copyright infringement.
  • in many instances the people producing the doujinshi are the same as those producing the original works being parodied. The doujin scene is so interbred with that of professional anime, manga, and game creators that it would be impractical for all but the largest IP holders to crack down on the parody doujin scene.
  • soft circles
  • Lilith’s business model is the culmination of doujinshi as commerce - small, versatile, ubiquitous, and high quality.
  • The doujin world now spans works from the rank amateur to the polished professional and everything in between,
Nele Noppe

Japan, Ink: Inside the Manga Industrial Complex - 0 views

  • Europe has caught the bug, too. In the United Kingdom, the Catholic Church is using manga to recruit new priests. One British publisher, in an effort to hippify a national franchise, has begun issuing manga versions of Shakespeare's plays, including a Romeo and Juliet that reimagines the Montagues and Capulets as rival yakuza families in Tokyo.
  • Manga sales in the US have tripled in the past four years.
  • Circulation of the country's weekly comic magazines, the essential entry point for any manga series, has fallen by about half over the last decade.
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  • Fans and critics complain that manga — which emerged in the years after World War II as an edgy, uniquely Japanese art form — has become as homogenized and risk-averse as the limpest Hollywood blockbuster.
  • The place is pulsing with possibility, full of inspired creators, ravenous fans, and wads of yen changing hands. It represents a dynamic force
  • future business model of music, movies, and media of every kind.
  • Nearly every aspect of cultural production — which is now Japan's most influential export — is rooted in manga.
  • Comics occupy the center, feeding the rest of the media system.
  • About 90 percent of the material for sale — how to put this — borrows liberally from existing works.
  • Japanese copyright law is just as restrictive as its American cousin, if not more so.
  • known as "circles" even if they have only one member
  • by day's end, some 300,000 books sold in cash transactions totaling more than $1 million
  • "This is something that satisfies the fans," Ichikawa said. "The publishers understand that this does not diminish the sales of the original product but may increase them.
  • As recently as a decade ago, he told me, creators of popular commercial works sometimes cracked down on their dojinshi counterparts at Super Comic City. "But these days," he said, "you don't really hear about that many publishers stopping them."
  • "unspoken, implicit agreement."
  • "The dojinshi are creating a market base, and that market base is naturally drawn to the original work," he said. Then, gesturing to the convention floor, he added, "This is where we're finding the next generation of authors.
  • They tacitly agree not to go too far — to produce work only in limited editions and to avoid selling so many copies that they risk cannibalizing the market for original works.
  • It's also a business model
  • He opened Mandarake 27 years ago, well before the dojinshi markets began growing more popular — in part to provide another sales channel for the work coming out of them.

    At first, publishers were none too pleased with his new venture. "You think I didn't hear from them?" he tells me in a company conference room. But in the past five years, he says, as the scale and reach of the markets has expanded, the publishers' attitude "has changed 180 degrees." It's all a matter of business, he says.

  • triangle. "You have the authors up there at this tiny little tip at the top. And at the bottom," he says, drawing a line just above the widening base of the triangle, "you have the readers. The dojin artists are the ones connecting them in the middle."
  • The dojinshi devotees are manga's fiercest fans.
  • provides publishers with extremely cheap market research
  • the manga industrial complex is ignoring a law designed to protect its own commercial interests.
  • Intellectual property laws were crafted for a read-only culture.
  • the copyright winds in the US have been blowing in the opposite direction — toward longer and stricter protections. It is hard to imagine Hollywood, Nashville, and New York agreeing to scale back legal protection in order to release the creative impulses of super-empowered fans, when the gains from doing so are for now only theoretical.
  • mutually assured destruction. What that accommodation lacks in legal clarity, it makes up for in commercial pragmatism.
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