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Doujinshi vs. Manga — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 5, 2024
Doujinshi are self-published works often created by fans of existing manga, or games, reflecting a more niche and personalized content, while manga refers to professionally published Japanese comic books and graphic novels, encompassing a wide range.
Doujinshi vs. Manga — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Doujinshi and Manga


Key Differences

Doujinshi is a form of self-published work, often created by amateurs or fans of existing series, allowing creators to explore untold stories, alternate universes, or fan-driven narratives. On the other hand, manga is a professional medium, typically serialized in magazines before being compiled into volumes, and covers a wide range of genres from action to romance, for various age groups.
While doujinshi often focuses on niche interests and can include fan fiction, parodies, or original works, manga is produced by professional artists and writers who develop original content or adaptations. Manga series can gain international fame and commercial success, influencing other media like anime and movies.
Doujinshi creators enjoy a high degree of creative freedom, often experimenting with style, content, and storytelling techniques. Manga, however, adheres to industry standards and expectations, with publishers often having a significant influence on the creative process.
The distribution of doujinshi is mainly through small-scale events like Comiket in Japan or online platforms, targeting a specific audience. Manga is widely available in bookstores, libraries, and through digital platforms, reaching a broad and diverse audience.
The legal and copyright aspects also differentiate them; doujinshi operates in a gray area where copyright infringement is often overlooked, especially if the works are not for profit. Manga production is a commercial enterprise, with copyright laws strictly enforced to protect the creators' and publishers' intellectual property.

Comparison Chart


Self-published works by fans or amateur artists.
Professionally published comic books and graphic novels.

Content Origin

Often based on existing series, fan fiction, or original.
Original content or adaptations.


Created by amateurs or fan communities.
Created by professional artists and writers.


Small-scale events, online platforms.
Bookstores, libraries, digital platforms.

Copyright & Legal

Operates in a gray area, often overlooked if not for profit.
Strict copyright enforcement.

Compare with Definitions


Self-published works allowing creative freedom.
His doujinshi explored a unique storyline diverging from the mainstream manga.


Graphic novels published by established companies.
She aspired to have her stories published as manga by a renowned publisher.


Amateur comics distributed at niche events.
They debuted their doujinshi at a local anime convention.


Professionally serialized graphic novels.
His work as a manga artist was recognized with several awards.


Fan-made publications inspired by existing works.
She bought a doujinshi that continued the story of her favorite manga.


A diverse medium with content for all ages.
The library's manga section caters to children, teens alike.


Non-commercial fan art collections.
He collected doujinshi that featured high-quality art of his favorite series.


Japanese comic books covering various genres.
The manga series gained popularity worldwide for its compelling storytelling.


A medium for fans to express their dedication.
The doujinshi displayed her deep understanding and love for the characters.


Cultural phenomena influencing global media.
That manga inspired an anime adaptation, video games, and merchandise.


Doujinshi (同人誌), also romanized as dōjinshi, is the Japanese term for self-published print works, such as magazines, manga, and novels. Part of a wider category of doujin (self-published) works, doujinshi are often derivative of existing works and created by amateurs, though some professional artists participate in order to publish material outside the regular industry.


Manga (Japanese: 漫画 [maŋga]) are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan. Most manga conform to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century, and the form has a long prehistory in earlier Japanese art.


A fan-produced work, especially a manga, anime, or video game.


A comic originating in Japan.


A comic in manga style, regardless of the country of origin.
Lately I've been reading a Brazilian manga.

Common Curiosities

Can anyone create doujinshi?

Yes, anyone with an interest in creating their own stories or art can create doujinshi, regardless of professional skills.

Can doujinshi become official manga?

Rarely, but some doujinshi artists have been recognized and offered professional contracts to develop their work into official manga.

How long does it take to create a doujinshi?

The time can vary widely depending on the complexity of the work and the creators' dedication, ranging from weeks to several months.

Are manga read from left to right?

Traditional manga is read from right to left, reflecting the original Japanese format.

What's the biggest manga market outside of Japan?

The United States has one of the largest manga markets outside Japan, with a growing interest in Europe and Southeast Asia as well.

Do manga artists work alone?

While some manga artists work alone, many collaborate with writers, inkers, and assistants to manage the workload and deadlines.

Is all doujinshi based on genres content?

No, while some doujinshi explores themes, many works focus on a variety of genres and interests.

Do you need permission to create doujinshi?

Officially, yes, but the informal norm in Japan is permissive of doujinshi as a fan culture, as long as it's not for commercial gain.

How do manga artists start their careers?

Many manga artists begin by attending art school, creating portfolios, and submitting their work to publishers or manga contests.

Is reading manga beneficial?

Manga can improve reading skills, provide cultural insight, and foster creativity, making it a beneficial activity for readers of all ages.

Can doujinshi be sold commercially?

While doujinshi are typically not commercial products, creators can sell their work to cover production costs, often at non-profit margins.

What impact has manga had on global entertainment?

Manga has significantly influenced global entertainment, inspiring countless adaptations in movies, series, and video games.

How do doujinshi creators distribute their work?

Doujinshi creators often distribute their work through online platforms, digital downloads, or at specific events like Comiket.

Are there digital platforms for reading manga?

Yes, there are numerous digital platforms and apps dedicated to manga, offering a vast selection of titles for readers worldwide.

How can I support my favorite manga artists?

Supporting them through purchasing official volumes, merchandise, and engaging with their work legally helps ensure their continued success.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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