Unveiling the Dark Side of Doujinshi in Comic Market: The Disappearance of Female Artists | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Unveiling the Dark Side of Doujinshi in Comic Market: The Disappearance of Female Artists

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Comic Market broke last year’s record and attracted a large number of people.

Comic Market (hereinafter referred to as “Comiket”) was held on December 30 and 31, 2023, with 270,000 visitors over the two days, an increase of 10,000 visitors compared to Comiket held in August of the same year.

Although admission restrictions had been in place due to the corona, admission restrictions were greatly eased following the previous event. It is the largest doujinshi exhibition, an event where individuals make and sell magazines (doujinshi), and is one of Japan’s year-end traditions.

One genre of doujinshi has been gradually declining at Comiket. These genres are BL, which refers to magazines and novels featuring male homosexuality, often written by women, and niche genres.

Why have BL and niche genres been decreasing? We interviewed a woman from a BL circle who actually participated in Comiket in the past.

There are many reasons, but the biggest reason is the increase in the number of doujin exhibition and sale events, such as HARU COMIC CITY (commonly known as Haru Comic City), COMIC CITY SPARK (commonly known as Spark), and SUPER COMIC CITY (commonly known as Supercomic). events that attract tens of thousands of visitors. Akaboo News Agency (“Akaboo”), which operates these events, selects participating circles on a first-come, first-served basis, which makes scheduling easier because you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will pass the lottery as you do at Comiket.

In fact, a female author in her 30s who publishes a women’s doujinshi at the Akaboo event every year told us that it is generally true that artists who develop circles for women have been flowing from Comiket to Akaboo. But that is not all.

Compared to Comiket, Akaboo pays much less attention to the genre of BL, which has a different culture from other genres.

At Comiket, if the works are the same, they are assigned to the same island, but at AkaBoo, the position is determined by the character within the work, making it more friendly to the participants.

The way seating is determined at Comiket seems to be rough for BL works, and the careful way seating is determined at Akaboo is one of the reasons why female authors have been flowing to Akaboo.

For those who like BL, the combination of characters, called coupling, is the most important factor. If there are circles selling books with couplings that are unacceptable near their stalls, some people will harass them.

“The BL genre is more fragmented than others. At events organized by Akaboo, there are many events that only have works, characters, and couplings such as ’00 Only’ and ’00 Petit Only,’ and it is easy to participate in them. It is possible to avoid couplings that you are not good at. Also, unlike Comiket, the period between the announcement of participation and actual participation is short, so you can participate with a lot of enthusiasm, which is one of the reasons for Akaboo’s popularity” (female coterie artist in her 30s, same as above).

Only events are developed exclusively for specific manga and game works, and from there, petite events are developed exclusively for characters. By subdividing genres, an environment is created in which participants can more easily participate, and it seems that women who prefer BL have drifted toward that.

What about niche genres? When we asked the circles of books on eating and walking, introduction to Machinaka, astrophysics, military, etc., which are considered niche genres, we received a surprising answer.

“I know it is said that way, but I don’t think so. It is a niche genre, so there aren’t that many of them to begin with.”

Like other circles, they are creating to share with the participants what they really want to create, even though it may not be popular with the general public. Some of them even collaborate with weekly magazine reporters to create books that introduce hidden gems of restaurants secretly used by celebrities.

Reporters who actually went to these restaurants were often surprised to hear, “Even a book like this! ” and were often surprised. If you are interested in this event, you should definitely consider coming next year as a New Year’s Eve event.

  • Interview, text, PHOTO Blank Paper Green

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