This post was written in 2010 and is therefore somewhat outdated. Please be patient while I work on a new one.
I will warn you first. Collecting doujinshi is an addictive habit. Get out while you can!
No? Okay then.
First of all, doujinshi are mostly (not all, but mostly) about pairings. If you treat characters like whores like I do, you’ll find lots to keep you entertained :3 Secondly, they are almost exclusively in Japanese. If you can’t read Japanese, you’re not excluded from enjoying them, of course, especially if the pretty pictures (and there are lots of them) are what you want. But some of the best doujinshi I’ve read were fantastic for the dialogue. If you’re like me, you’ll study an extra 6 hours of Japanese a week on top of your normal work, or (like me when I’m confused) find an open-minded Japanese friend to help you out.
Before you jump into buying them, have a look around some scanlation sites and find some genres and circles you like. I bought my Omocha no Pistol and Tsubacisou manga after reading scanlations of them. After that, you can buy their other works without being too concerned about liking the artwork or storyline.
As for buying, Yahoo!Japan Auctions is your best friend. You need a Japanese credit card/address to purchase, but all is solved with the magic of Rinkya! I’ve used them scores of times for getting merchandise from Japan. Be warned that if you choose to buy manga or other items, they charge commissions which can add up pretty quickly, and shipping can be a rude shock as well. They don’t, however, charge commissions on doujinshi. Woot!
On the front page, click on the 本、雑誌 | 漫画 (Books, Magazines | Manga) button on the left-hand side of the page. Again, on the left-hand side, you’ll see 同人誌 (doujinshi). Click it. Hooray! You’re on the doujinshi page! (If not, just click here. It’s just handy to know how to get there yourself.) Put your search terms into the address bar and you’ll (hopefully) see some listings. Your search terms should be in Japanese. Even if you don’t know it/can’t input it on your computer, you can search the character or series on wikipedia and it will tell you their Japanese name. I’ll also put some search terms below. If you want to search for a pairing, just put a space between their names. For example, if I wanted to search for Byakuya/Renji, I’d put 白哉 恋次, not 白哉恋次 (no space), or 白哉/恋次 (using a slash).
Another option is Mandarake. I’ve ordered one Harry Potter doujinshi through them and they were pretty good. I’m reluctant to say much more since I’ve only done one transaction through them. You can browse and order internationally through their site in English, which is a bonus for those nihongo-challanged 😉 Like Yahoo Auctions, they sell more than just doujinshi (well, perhaps not quite as much variety as Y!A) but the bonus is no commission! They sell CDs and DVDs (be wary of reigons!) as well as anime cells, magazines, art books, et al. I found their search function to be rather lacking. I found it difficult to find certain pairings or characters (I searched ‘Byakuya Renji’ with no results and even ‘Byakuya’ came up with seemingly everything other than Bleach results. Just search the series in general and sift through the results ’till you find what you’re looking for.
Another fantastic way of finding Doujinshi online is the wonder of LiveJournal. You’ll probably need an account to buy off users there, as most people won’t feel comfortable with trusting those without accounts (and it’s free to sign up, so why not?). I’ve bough a few doujinshi from various users on LJ. Who’s trustworthy varies, of course, from user to user, but you’re smart enough to use your instincts. There’s no commissions and no fees, just you paying for the product and postage.
Other places I plan to use in the future:
Awesome! I hoped that helped somewhat. I’ll probably expand on this in the future, when I buy more and hopefully some info on buying doujinshi in Japan! *is dying to go*
Before I go, here’s some terminology for you to use to search.
- 同人誌 – Doujinshi
- 朽木 白哉 – Kuchiki Byakuya
- 阿散井 恋次 – Abarai Renji
- ブリーチ – Bleach (you can, however, mostly just type ‘BLEACH’ for this as well)
- やおい – Yaoi
- BL – another term for yaoi, though a little less… extreme.
- 百合 – Yuri (girls love)
- ガールズラブ – Girl’s Love (similar to BL, but… for girls… duh)