6 Best Sources For Yaoi Doujinshi

The popularity of Japanese anime and manga outside of Japan has led to an increased interest in related materials. Yaoi doujinshi is a type of Japanese manga or comic book. Doujinshi is a term that refers to self-published comics, and yaoi is a genre that focuses on homosexual relationships between two men. These works are typically fanworks, featuring characters from popular anime shows and manga.

The Basics Of Yaoi Doujinshi

Understanding the nature of yaoi doujinshi is important to knowing where to look for it. Yaoi doujinshi are incredibly popular in Japan as a way for fans to create stories about their favorite characters and even as a stepping stone to break into the publishing world. By definition, they are amateur and not professional works. Because doujinshi are not official works, they do not get officially translated into English or other languages.

It should be noted that yaoi is a term used to refer to works that feature explicit male on male sex. Yaoi doujinshi are usually explicit, though there are works focusing on a non-sexual romantic relationship as well. They will likely contain various levels of censorship over genitals, in accordance with Japanese law. The level of censorship will vary depending on where the doujinshi is being sold or where it was originally sold.

Yaoi Doujinshi

The relation doujinshi production has to official manga publication in Japan is unique and interesting. Manga creators don’t mind its creation, even though these are fan-produced stories being sold for money that feature their characters. This would be considered copyright violation most everywhere else, but in Japan, it is tolerated for a few reasons. It increases the exposure of the official series and helps new manga authors gain experience. In fact, agents for major publishers will scout for talent among doujinshi circles. While it is possible for non-Japanese to create doujinshi, it is not common.

Obtaining yaoi doujinshi if you live in another country, and even if you live in Japan, can be tricky. Because they are not an official product, there are only certain places from which you can buy them. Here are five of the best sources to obtain yaoi doujinshi.

1. Otaku Republic

Otaku Republic is one of the only online storefronts that offer yaoi doujinshi for sale. They carry doujinshi from a wide variety of popular series, including My Hero Academia, the Fire Emblem series, Yuri On Ice and many more. They also carry original works. Customers have the ability to search or browse by series, character or circle. You can search in English or in Japanese, which is convenient when you only have the Japanese title of a work.

They sell new and used doujinshi although used are more common due to how these comics are produced. They also sell other merchandise, such as paper fans, used figures, artbooks and more. Another important type of item they sell is containers and covers to safely store and transport doujinshi. In addition to their store, they run a blog that discusses doujinshi, anime fandom, advice on how to store doujinshi and other topics.

If they don’t have what you are looking for, you have the option to request a particular title. As the company is located in Japan, they will see if they can get a particular title for you. They ship worldwide. Because items are coming from Japan, they can take several weeks to arrive in the United States or elsewhere depending on the shipping method chosen. It is important to understand that when placing an order.

2. Scanlation Sites

Many readers of yaoi doujinshi cannot read Japanese and would like to find copies that have been translated into their own languages. Unfortunately, because doujinshi are fan comics they are not officially licensed and translated by major manga companies. Scanlation sites for self-published fanworks are not illegal, though it can be a gray area if the original creators did not consent to the translation.

There are two types of scanlation sites that host this kind of material. The first are the groups that actually do the translation. Because doujinshi are usually short, translation groups tend to release the entire work at once rather than by chapter or volume. You can find these sites by looking for who is translating the specific yaoi doujinshi titles you want to read. You can also follow specific groups.

The second type of site are forums and reading sites dedicated to yaoi doujinshi. These sites host works from many different doujinshi artists and may be dedicated to a certain series or fandom. Use caution with these sites as many also host illegal scans of official manga. Always support the official release of licensed works.

3. eBay

Yaoi Doujinshi Sources

eBay is a surprisingly good source for yaoi doujinshi. You can simply use their search function to find doujinshi of the show and character pairings you are looking for. Because items on eBay are sold by individual sellers, the titles available change daily. Items from sellers across the world are listed, so any given yaoi doujinshi listed for sale may be coming from Japan, the United States or even elsewhere.

When buying on eBay, it is important to know your rights. Even if the seller does not offer returns, they are still bound by eBay’s protection policies. These policies entitle buyers to a refund if the product is not as described or never arrives. If you have an issue with a purchase on eBay, contact the seller first and see if you can work something out. If that fails, you can open a case with eBay and they will hopefully take action on your behalf.

4. Anime Conventions

Many anime conventions in North America and elsewhere in the world host vendors that feature yaoi doujinshi for sale. This remains one of the best sources for yaoi doujinshi outside of Japan even though what you might find will vary. Not every anime convention will have a vendor selling doujinshi at all, let alone yaoi ones specifically. Fortunately, yaoi doujinshi is perhaps the most popular genre of doujinshi, so if doujinshi is available there is a decent chance it will be yaoi.

Anime conventions are held throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in many foreign countries. The largest in North America include:

  • Anime Expo(Los Angeles, California)
  • Anime Matsuri(Houston, Texas)
  • Anime Central(Chicago, Illinois)
  • Anime Boston(Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Anime North(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
  • Anime WeekendAtlanta (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Sakura-Con (Seattle, Washington)
  • A-Kon(Fort Worth, Texas)

These conventions require the purchase of a badge to attend and access the dealer’s hall. The dealer’s hall will have a wide variety of vendors selling official merchandise and other goods, including doujinshi. It is typically combined with an artist’s alley where independent artists sell their creations. Doujinshi sold at these events may be new or used. Items that are 18+ are usually kept in separate boxes and may require an ID to purchase.

5. Comiket

Sources for Yaoi Doujinshi

If you are lucky enough to be living in Japan or happen to be in Japan at the same time Comiket is being held, it is the single best place to get self-published comics. ComiketĀ is short for “Comic Market.” It has been held in Japan since 1975. It is the event where almost all doujinshi authors go to sell copies of their latest works.

Comiket is the largest fan convention in the world, with attendance numbers of around 750,000 people. It is held twice a year, in August and December. The summer event is referred to as NatsuComi (which means “summer comic market”) while the winter one is called FuyuComi (“winter comic market”). Comiket is held at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in Ariake, Tokyo.

6. The Circles Themselves

The publishers, or groups of people who get together to create doujinshi, are known as circles. Doujinshi creators can be a single artist but more commonly they are a pair or group working together to handle all aspects of creation and production. They print and circulate a few copies of each work and do what they do out of passion for a particular series or pairing.

Although doujinshi circles traditionally make print copies of their works, the growing popularity of digital content is changing that. Some yaoi doujinshi may be available digitally directly from the circles that produce them. You may also be able to place orders for physical copies through their websites or on a site they sell-through. If you speak and write Japanese, you may be able to reach out to a circle online and ask to buy a copy. Note that this is not common, but some groups may be willing to do it.

Yaoi doujinshi is a fascinating, unique kind of fan comic that can be a joy to experience. They can also be difficult to get a hold of, especially for a foreign, English-speaking audience. Look at the sources listed above and check back frequently. Available titles and popular fandoms change.

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