What is doujinshi?
While most displays of doujinshi can have graphic images, this one is pretty safe.
Dōjinshi (同人誌?, often transliterated as doujinshi) is the Japanese term for self-published works, usually magazines, manga or novels. Dōjinshi are often the work of amateurs, though some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular industry. … Groups of dōjinshi artists refer to themselves as a sākuru (サークル?, circle). A number of such groups actually consist of a single artist: they are sometimes called kojin sākuru (個人サークル?, personal circles).
Where does one buy doujinshi in Tokyo?
Mandarake & K-Books on Otome Road (Ikebukuro)
Otome Road begins at the Animate and ends at the three-story K-Books Dōjin-kan. This K-Books is probably the single best dōjinshi store in all of Tokyo. They have dōjinshi for every conceivable fandom, and they usually have the same dōjinshi for less money (¥210 as opposed to ¥420) than at the Mandarake you passed on the way. They also have tons of original dōjinshi and dōjinshi sets (all of the dōjinshi in a series, or a dōjinshi packaged with extras like fans or postcards).
Mandarake also has locations in Shibuya, Akihabara and Nakano, as well as other locations throughout Japan.
Mandarake and K-BOOKS 同人館(K-BOOKS Doujin) are doujinshi heaven, filled with shelves and shelves of doujinshi, both old and new. I bought most of my doujinshi from K-BOOKS doujin. If you can only stop over at one store, I strongly recommend K-BOOKS Doujin, which has pretty much the largest collection of doujinshi out of all the mentioned stores.
Comiket (コミケット Komiketto?), otherwise known as the Comic Market (コミックマーケット Komikku Māketto?), is the world’s largest dōjinshi fair, held twice a year in Tokyo, Japan. The first Comiket was held on December 21, 1975, with only about 32 participating circles and an estimated 600 attendees. Attendance has since swelled to over a half million people. It is a grassroots, DIY effort for selling dōjinshi, self-published Japanese works.
How much do they cost?
Second-hand doujinshi typically fall under three categories of prices: 210 Yen, 420 Yen and 630 Yen (all inclusive of tax). Compilations are more expensive – 1000 Yen and above. I’m not sure if there is any particular method that the shops adopt to price the doujinshi. I suppose rarity and original price are taken into account). However, the same doujinshi may not cost the same price across all shops!
What should I watch out for?
Doujinshi are often notoriously known for graphic – mostly pornographic – covers and content, especially those meant for men. Depending on the store, the displays may be more tame than others.
Watch out for R-18 doujinshi, which contains adult content (unless you’re looking for it). Usually this will be displayed on the cover of the doujinshi.
Finally, some doujinshi authors also publish their fanfiction – which is all text, but with a drawn cover so that it appears to be manga. This is harder to avoid, as the cover won’t explicitly tell you if the doujinshi is manga or text.