Wired takes a look at doujinshi, visiting ComiKet and the gender-sepaated geek districts of Tokyo:

Higashi-Ikebukoro is one of Tokyo’s outermost neighborhoods, but it’s become a destination for female manga fans because the major manga store branches there specially stock works written by and for women. These specialty shops are six-, seven- and eight-story buildings filled from top to bottom with commercial and doujinshi manga, and tie-in products like figurines, trading cards and stationery. This area has become known as “Otome Road,” the female answer to Tokyo’s geek-centric Akihabara district.

When I visited Ikebukuro’s Mandarake store last week, the crowded aisles were packed with curious, energetic women purchasing all types of manga. There were aisles and aisles of fan-fiction doujinshi, and the women seemed to know exactly what they were looking for — particular characters drawn by particular artists.

Otome Road also includes the famed “Butler Cafes”. Down the road apiece, at the boy-geek hangout, the writer finds…other things…

Akiba’s manga clientele is almost all men, and many of these cry out “geek” in any culture you can name: for example, one guy with his pants pulled up around his rib cage, wearing his cell phone on a lanyard around his neck with a pack of AA batteries stuffed in his shirt pocket.

[Link via Love Manga]


  1. Some people may be surprised to learn that there are similar literary cultures in the West, although it takes place almost entirely on-line, and usually in the form of prose more often than graphic stories.

    The Western analog to doujinshi yaoi is called “slash” by its fan-practitioners (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash_fiction). I don’t have information concerning the scope of this phenomenon beyond the Wikipedia article, but to give an example, the teen-aged daughter of a friend of mine has written a 60,000-word slash novel portraying a homosexual love affair between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, set against a World War II back-drop.