This is a cross-post of what I have written about dojinshi here:

I will start writing a bit more on this blog.

Dojinshi and Comiket

Dojinshi is self published books, which often are manga or novels, and are majorly made by amateurs (although some professional artists publish Dojinshi as well).

There are 2 types of Dojinshi, original and parody. Parodies include comics, novels, animes, games, celebritiess and idols, etc.

There are majorly 3 ways to buy Dojinshi
1) Dojinshi events (such as Comiket)
2) Online purchase
3) stores (though very limited)

1) Among the Dojinshi events, Comiket (which stands for Comic Market) is the largest one. It is actually the world's largest comic convention, held twice a year in Tokyo.

Comicket has majorly parodies (especially anime parodies) and some original,
there are Dojinshi events such as Comitia which is original dojinshi only.

Quote from an article of Nikkei BP Consulting(JP)

Comiket72 was held on 2007/8/17-8/19, with 35,000 circles and 550,000 participants.
Revenue from official catalogues was 264,000,000 yen,
circle participation fee is 7,500 yen * 35,000 circles meaning 262,500,000 yen
Dojinshis are sold for an average of 1,000 yen, and MASSIVE amount of dojinshi are sold on these 3 days.

Comiket official site has an English PDF document explaining what Comiket is.

-Circles participants are 71% women, audience participants are 57% women.
-Circles genre are manga 41% anime 9% games30%
-Other(music, celebrities, sports, history, novels, etc) 20%

Original Dojinshi

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the symposium of Media Art Festival and was found the panel discussion of Ms. Yumiko Shirai extremely interesting.

Ms. Shirai is a professional illustrator, and all the mangas that she publishes are published as dojinshi sold either at Dojinshi events such as Comiket or Comitia, or online.

She wrote a doujinshi manga called "Tenjinsai", which won the prize in the comic division of the festival. "Tenjinsai" is a Science Fiction / Fantasy manga,
about future of Japan which is nuclear polluted by war, and there are bamboos that cleanses the radioactives.

Q: Why do you publish in Dojinshi rather than commercial manga publications?
A: I used to write in commercial manga publication.
However mangas that are expected in commercial world needs to be "catchy" and has cute girls as those mangas sell well. You are expected to draw those.

If I write in Dojinshi, I can create whatever I want to, and people who'd be deeply involved in my works will buy and read my books.


Q: How did you come to create dojinshi?
A: When I was in highschool- like all other people does...

Although there are lots of people who don't make dojinshi at highschools, but it is true that we had the same situation in our highschool too.

People loves mangas here in Japan... so they write illustrations and mangas on notebooks etc and some of them start copying them and distribute them to their classmates (with like 10 yen copy fee) and some starts printing their mangas using publishing factories, and start attending Comikets as audience... then as circles... then even as staffs.

I think that even if Dojinshi or Comikets existed or not does not affect people's energy and motivation to create parodies - love and imagination for the characters will be there anyways. But because Comikets exists, people can enjoy it as a place to make their work public.

Oh- also, people were already making MAD animes already 10 years ago too. They had several video recorders and were creating MAD animes like this. (lower right box is the original, upper left box is MAD anime)

Actually, all of the other panelists: Kenji Taketomi who won the prize, and the 2 judges - were all writing Dojinshi in the past.

Mr. Taketomi was submitting his mangas to commercial publications and when they were not accepted, he would publish them as dojinshi. So if there wasn't dojinshi market, those mangas would not have had anywhere to make it to the public. Dojinshi served an excellent role of motivating the amateur manga creators
to create, publish and make public and sell at dojinshi events.

Mr. Monkey Punch, one of the judges- had nowhere to publish his mangas 42 years ago (2 years before he started the famous Lupin series), and decided to create dojinshi. He created 50 copies and sent them for free to the commercial publications and eventually became a professional manga writer.

Mr. Kotobuki Shiriagari, the other judge- was actually amazed that Mr. Monkey Punch
was distributing his dojinshi for free. He was in comic club in highschool, so the club made a dojinshi and went to Comiket but made too much (2000 copies) and tried to sell them for profit and had a hard time he says.

So I think it all comes down to being able to create what the creators want to create, and the existence of a place where they can make their creation public.

Dojinshi and Comiket was the place for manga creators for a long time... and now with the videos, it is YouTube and Nico Nico Douga etc that serves those needs.

There is this very popular and AMAZING anime, "the song of fish".

This was created by one student as the graduation project, and this creator created the anime, music, lyrics, everything.

This is another graduation project called "Whale", and the creator is saying that if Nico Nico Douga did not exist, this anime would have never been made public.

incentives for the creators

I think there are majorly 5 kinds of desires for the creators:

1) Desire to create (want to create things they like, they want to create)
2) Desire to make public of their creation
3) Desire to be accepted, get comments and feedback
4) Desire to make their creation better, desire to be remixed by others
5) Desire for reward (monetary compensation, fame, etc)

Not everyone desires the same thing, but I think the major desire that people has is those 5 things.

Dojinshi and Comikets fulfill those 5 desires.

Hatsune-Miku and Nico Nico Douga fulfill 1-4 desires, and there is a hot debate in Japan as to how 5) shall be realized -an effort to make a scheme to pay the creators.

For example, a scheme to pay the creators who uploaded interesting videos to Nico Nico Douga. I think there are people who would be willing to pay the creators if they had the method - but the industry is still debating about the best way how to conpensate (monetize) CGM.

Recently there was a creator who made a 3D CG application, which enables people to create 3DCGs. The application was amazingly great and people who created 3DCGs using that tool
started to claim that they want to pay the creator :)

But there is no way people can pay under the status quo- and a method to create that is needed, probably not as an ad model, but as a way to pay the creators directly.

This discussion reminded me of Magnatune - an online music label. If individuals wanted to listen to music via Magnatune, they can listen and if the individual liked that artist/music, they can pay the amount they want to pay to download the album.


(B2B models - like using for movies etc - has a different page for that too)

It is interesting to see what makes people motivated, and what is the best way to reward the creators. For some people, it is money. For others, it is not necessarily money that makes them motivated.

For example, previously mentioned Mr. Monkey Punch was distributing his dojinshi free of charge. Getting a job as manga creater was his goal- not getting paid for the mangas he created. Distribution was more important for him then - until he actually gets paid by the manga publishing companies.

At an event called Tokyo Game Show, there were people who does costume plays (cosplayers). It is interesting to see that these cosplayers don't demand money for shooting photos of them - rather, they say "please take a nice photo of me!" "thank you for taking a photo of me!" :) They're not doing this for the sake of money, but because they love it.

People who submits funny and/or interesting videos to Nico Nico Douga - they are not doing this for money either. Nico Nico does not pay anything. It is rather the love of what they are doing, and all the feedbacks of the communities that motivates them. The word "Thank you".

Peer production

***Vocaloid "Mutual Aid" Wiki***

There are projects that tries to get together various people and create artworks. Some people can write music using DTM, some can create lyrics, some can draw pictures, create animes, write wikis for the work etc. They all can use their expertise to make a great work.

. ..and this reminded me of the project "Star Wreck".

***Star Wreck***

Star Wreck
is a Star Trek parody movie created by students in Finland, and was distributed under Creative Commons license.

They only had 5 people in the team- but when people started to see the video, people who can make music told them they'd create music for them, some told them they would help write the scenario, and some told them they'd do extra actors- there were 300 people who helped create the movie and 3,000 people in their active community. Star Wreck was downloaded 5 million times, and got translated into 30 different languages. They have a contract with Universal, and got their DVD sold - although everything are public on the internet CC licensed.

They are planning to create more high quality movies with this community as "Star Wreck Studio".

Parody dojinshi

There are MASSIVE parody dojinshis and there's a LOT to write about, but I would like to focus on the copyright infringement issue in this article and probably write about those massive stuff elsewhere :P

Are parody mangas illegal? Basically, yes. Unless the copyright holder explicitly says that they allow fanfic/parody, it is illegal to make parodies. However, because the advertising effect of fanfic/parody is extremely big, it is sometimes accepted as "grey zone".

There are cases that users are explicitly allowed to remix though...


Hatsune-miku has official pictures that people are able to be "inspired" and create parodies.
"Piapro", which stands for "peer production" is a site operated by Crypton (which produced Hatsune-Miku) and people can upload their pictures, illustrations, music, video, etc that are parodies of Hatsune-Miku (and other VOCALOID series)

This is the original illustration drawn by KEI


These are some of the various parodies that users created.

Miku illustration drawn by an artist called momone(成宮桃猫さん- Momoneko Narumiya) entitled "sora ni tokeru"


Another Miku illustration drawn by makotok1, entitled "negi furimachigaeta!"


Crypton made this Piapro site so that people can feel safe, make sure they are not violating any law, and a place where everyone can bring together what they created and can say "thank you" to what other people created.

Enhancing collaboration is the purpose of the site, so only the works that allow parody or remix can be uploaded to Piapro.

Just like Creative Commons license, creators choose whether they want attribution, or whether they allow derivatives, and upload them. If you use other people's work, you put comment on the site and thank the creator for the artwork.

***Star Wars***

George Lucas always respected the creations of fans, and he is famous for it. Last year, Lucas Arts officially launched a site called http://mashup.starwars.com/ where you can use the official video clips provided by Star Wars and create your own Star Wars fanvideo.

This site is operated on an interesting video sharing platform called "Eyespot".
They are not merely a video sharing site, but more of an online video remix site.

If I were to name 3 features of Eyespot, I would name
1) Video editing functions (especially their editing "effects")
2) Contents (They have contracts with various content holders like musicians and movie creators,
and you can download those clips to your own folder with one click)
3) CC licensed (Anything you upload on this site must be Creative Commons Attribution license)
quote from "terms of service"

However, if you do choose to make Your Content available to other Eyespot users through the Eyespot website, you agree that Your Content is made available under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Legal Code (Attribution 2.5)
(the "Creative Commons License"), which is available here. The Creative Commons License allows others to copy, distribute, display and perform Your Content, and to make derivative works and commercial use of Your Content without paying any royalties to you. However, users are required to acknowledge your authorship and may only reuse or distribute Your Content under the same Creative Commons License. Please read the full terms of the Creative Commons License to understand your rights -- and the rights you are granting to others -- before sharing Your Content with other users of the Eyespot website.


Another interesting thing about Japanese dojinshi culture is that although dojinshi and Comikets are thought to be "grey" regarding the copyright infringement, anime parody anthologies are being sold in bookstores.

Anthologies are books that is full of parodies of animes, created by multiple doujin manga creators and published by commercial publishers.

I was actually amazed by looking at top pafe of manga section of Kadokawa- one of the largest publishers in Japan. This is what they had:


On the left, they sell Code Geass anthology, and on the right they sell the original Code Geass manga.

Kadokawa is a very interesting company indeed... they are doing various experimental projects.

***Kadokawa & YouTube***

"Haruhi" was an anime that was broadcasted in smaller TV stations, not with national TV stations. But people loved it so much- and people who were able to watch the anime
started uploading the anime clips to YouTube. (Completely illegal.)

And then, there were people who started creating English subtitled versions (called fansubs) and those fansubs had enormous advertisement effect, and when Kadokawa started selling English DVD of Haruhi, it sold 60,000 copies just in North America. (Haruhi was sold 80,000 copies in Japan)

Kadokawa learned from this fact, and decided to have alliance with YouTube as follows:

1) Kadokawa will create a "Kadokawa Channel" on YouTube, and will upload video contents there.
2) Kadokawa will give "reference movies" to youTube, and if there are any similar videos uploaded, uploader will get a warning, and Kadokawa will get an alert. (90% accuracy according to Kadokawa)
3) Kadokawa can decide either to "delete" that video, "leave as it is" or "officialize" that video
-officialize meaning they will put a logo that the video is accepted by Kadokawa, and put ads on it.
4) Kadokawa might offer works such as movie creation of scenario writing- to the creators found on YouTube.

Why did this happen?

It is based on a decision made by Mr. Tsuguhiko Kadokawa who is the chairman of Kadokawa Group Holdings.
According to various articles, he saw various MAD animes created by users and uploaded on YouTube, Nico Nico Douga, etc.

Views of Kadokawa's copyright infringement videos amounted 100million views.

He felt that merely telling them that it is illegal and turning them down isn't just right. When Comiket started, publishers thought of them as "pirates" and they're bad,
Kadokawa thought of them as fans and a new place that creates new creators. The same thing is happening here- this time in the video industry. He wanted to find out a way to approve them.

"We shouldn't turn down the creators, nor should we diminish the motivations of those creators by not paying for the contents/creators. Japan should make a new system where it is benefitial for all of the creators, distributers and content holders."

Indeed- Japan is getting a great opportunity with creativity of users, and is facing a need for a new system to cope with such creativity.

Quote from Professor Nakayama from University of Tokyo:

Copyright system had the premise that professionals will be creating contents and it does not match current trend of users generating various contents. There is a need to reform the copyright system as well as promote the idea of "Commons".

Anyone can create contents and upload them on the internet. It is an era of 100million creators (Japanese population is 100 million) Also, copying has become so easy and probably everyone has a possibility that he or she copied something illegal- it is also an era of 100 million criminals.

He states that the idea of "Commons" should be promoted more
-Creative Commons is based on the idea that "most contents will not be in commercial world"
and that it is trying to support the creators' will to get their contents distributed and/or reused by others as well as fulfill the users' will to use the contents.