Hi everyone, are you addicted to collecting doujinshi like me? Did you see a scan of a beautiful cover that you just have to have, but you don't speak Japanese and have no idea where to start looking for it? You're in the right place! This is a beginner's guide to show you how to start browsing for your collection, and also how to track down specific titles.


First let's start with the basics. My favorite way to browse for doujinshi is with fromjapan.co.jp. If you're not familiar with proxy services, don't worry, it's pretty straightforward: you buy what you want through the fromjapan search engine, you pay for it, the vendor ships it to the fromjapan warehouse, you pay again and then fromjapan ships it to you! It may seem like a lot of trouble, and it does take a while to get to you (if you skimp out on shipping like I do), but 99% of the time it's actually way cheaper to buy multiple doujinshi with a proxy than it is to buy them one at a time from a western site like eBay. In my experience using fromjapan, an order (after shipping, etc) of $60-$80 usd total puts your cost per doujinshi at something like $8-$10 on average. I usually get around 5-10 doujinshi at 300-1000 yen each, and the rest of the cost comes from shipping & handling fees. Of course this will vary, but maybe that gives you an idea of what to expect! But with a proxy, your selection is much larger—fromjapan's search engine covers secondhand sites like Suruga-ya and Yahoo! JAPAN auctions all at once. Plus, western sellers like to jack up prices—I've seen doujinshi that I got from a proxy for less than $10 going for $50+ on eBay!

There are other proxies you can use, too; I haven't used zenmarket.jp myself, but I've heard good things about it. I'm not sure which has cheaper shipping, I just like FJ 'cause it's what I'm used to. If you have a specific shop in mind that isn't covered by other shopping services (like maybe you want to buy the latest release from the circle's site directly,) neokyo.com can custom order something for you from any Japanese site! However, I would not recommend Buyee; they try to lure you in with coupons and then tack on extra fees for everything, so it ends up being way more expensive. :p

IMPORTANT NOTE: because of laws or something, fromjapan does not ship 18+ materials (or at least, they say they don't)! If a cover is obviously nsfw, they supposedly won't send it to you even if you already paid, so be careful. However, I've been surprised to find doujinshi I got that appeared sfw had a little nsfw in it, so that's something else to be aware of. (Probably don't buy from a Japanese seller if you really don't want any nsfw at all!) I've also had nsfw doujinshi marked r15 on the cover clear customs no problem (though the cover was G-rated), so there is a bit of grey area depending on if you're willing to risk it. I wish I could recommend a proxy that shipped r18 doujinshi, but I don't know of one, so you'll have to do the research yourself ;p (or let me know so I can update this guide.) However, many doujinshi-specific retailers like mangadj and otakurepublic do sell r18 doujinshi no problem and there are actually lots on eBay; just be careful if using a proxy!

So you've got your proxy, now how do you search? Easy: just enter "____ 同人誌" where ____ is whatever thing you're looking for and "同人誌" is "doujinshi." You are gonna have to type it all in Japanese, but it's not hard! Usually you can find the Japanese titles of things on their English wiki pages and you can just copypaste. You can also search by character name (find the Japanese spelling in the same way), and in some cases by abbreviation: for example, "Final Fantasy VII" is often listed as "FF7." Try different searches to see which one gives the best results :) After that, your proxy will explain how to finish your order (you might not be able to check out right away if you're bidding on an auction rather than buying something directly), but if you're still confused there are lots of guides online depending on what service you're using. But that's it! Yaaay! Cookies for all~



Still here? Ok, now for the real purpose of this guide: You're on a mission. You love a particular artist's style, or a cover you saw just looked so cool and you need it, but where do you even begin to look? First of all, identify the doujinshi you're looking for. This may seem obvious, but sometimes a cover's all you have to go off of and there's no romaji on it. If you can't read Japanese, Google Translate might be able to help. On the bottom right of the text box there's a little pencil tool, which will actually let you write out the character to be translated.

If you're still having trouble, this site is great for identifying kanji—you can search by radical, which are basically like the "parts" of the kanji. It's a bit tedious, but click on the parts that make up the kanji you're looking for to narrow it down and then just look through the list manually. After that, you're ready to copy & paste ^-^

Now hop over to your proxy and plug in your title (still in Japanese; you only needed Google Translate to make it copypaste-able) + 同人誌! If it's there, feel lucky and give me a cookie in gratitude. If it's a newer/more popular doujinshi, you might even be able to find it on eBay or another English secondhand site to be shipped directly. (It may be cheaper/faster to buy from a western site if you're only getting 1 or 2, as opposed to several in which case it's almost always cheaper to import.) But if nothing shows up because you're looking for something from a less popular series, or the one you're looking for is really old, and you want to search as thoroughly as possible, read on......


First what you want to find is the title of the doujinshi as well as the name of the circle (aka the author or group of authors), but it's okay if you only have one. To find all the information you can on it, head over to doujinshi.org! This is an amazing site that's basically like wikipedia for doujinshi, and it's all in English. If you're lucky, you can find the title you're looking for and be ready to copypaste the Japanese bits. (EDIT: doujinshi.org has since gone down :'D Thank you for your years of service. You were a true legend. Fortunately, I have a back-up plan.)**** If your doujinshi isn't there, your next stop is the suruga-ya.jp purchase page, which I'm going to just link directly and take a minute to explain.

So Suruga-ya is a store that sells anime merch, etc, and is an amazing place to buy doujinshi, in large part because people can sell their secondhand items to the store directly. That's why their selection is so extensive! But the part of the site linked above is not for shopping; rather, you're telling the site what it's going to buy from you. Like in an rpg. Now obviously you aren't going to be actually selling anything, but again if you type your search term in Japanese (no need to include "同人誌", it's already been selected in the dropdown), you can find information about specific titles that may not be listed on doujinshi.org. I've actually found it to be much more comprehensive (though there is less information on each individual doujinshi). Now you can search with either the title of the doujinshi or the name of the circle, so use whichever one you have to find the other. The reason you're looking for both the title and the circle name is because if your taste in doujinshi is anything like mine you're going to have to scour the internet, and you want as many leads as possible.
**** EDIT EDIT: You can torrent a backup of doujinshi.org here!! Though really, you should be fine just using the Suruga-ya purchase page, but just in case...

Now at this point, you're just going to make a list of a bunch of websites that you think you might find your doujinshi on, keep the list in a tab or something, and check it all the time. I use a site called start.me, which lets you make a little homepage for your browser with whatever links and stuff you want all in little boxes, and one of my boxes is just all of the searches that I check every day for the series I'm currently hunting. Excessive? Yes. Do you really need to check every day? Probably not. But I find it's actually a lot of fun checking each site, like a treasure hunt or scratching off a scratchcard. Is it gonna pop up today? Only one way to find out! But really you can use anything you want, like a spreadsheet or whatever.

this is what mine looks like right now!

Note that for most of these sites, I'm going through multiple searches: for example, I'll check both "[title] 同人誌" and "[circle name] 同人誌". And sometimes it's worth it to check even more searches if there are multiple ways to spell or abbreviate what you're looking for; for example, "Kingdom Hearts II" vs "Kingdom Hearts 2" vs "KH2" vs "KHII" @_@ (this is especially true on English sites). Here are some good places to look:

!!! NOTICE - many of these sites display nsfw covers, so be careful ;o !!!
: fromjapan (this covers Yahoo! Auctions and Suruga-ya)*, Mercari, Mandarake, Toranoana, Melonbooks, Booth, AliceBooks — you will need proxies for these, but there are lots of tutorials online
English: eBay, otakurepublic & doujinrepublic**, mangadj, Mercari (needs proxy outside of US), or any other secondhand sales services in your country.
(in one strange instance I've had to use picclick (a 3rd party eBay search engine), as the title I was looking for wasn't showing up on the eBay site itself for some reason. This was probably either because it was a very old listing or it was from overseas. Either way, I wouldn't have found it if not for picclick, so I thought I'd mention it.)

*IMPORTANT: y!auctions and Suruga-ya are THE best places to look, so be sure you're checking them!
**aside from eBay, otakurepublic (for women's doujinshi) & doujinrepublic (for men's (nsfw warning)) are the best English sites I know of, be sure to look! They also let you search by circle.
***ALSO IMPORTANT: For secondhand auction sites (English or Japanese), be sure to check "lots"! Usually when people put up doujinshi lots they won't include the names of every one, only pictures of all the covers, so you'll have to check them manually. For Japanese sites, try searching "___ 同人誌 冊組" or "___ 同人誌 複数"
disclaimer: I'm still trying to figure out what the best way to search "lot" is in Japanese, if you know please let me know and I'll update this guide! However, lots seem to be more common on English sites anyway.

You may not need to check all of these; I only check about half of them since the doujinshi I usually want are very old, so I know I'm not going to have any luck with actual retailers like melonbooks who sell mostly shiny newer things. They also tend to have much smaller selections that update less frequently. But depending on what you're looking for it might still be worth checking at least once in a while! ALSO: If you're checking something often, if possible be sure to set your search to "newest first" so all the new listings pop out at you!


SO FINALLY you've got all the information you can get, you have your list of all the places you think it could possibly pop up, now comes the hardest part of the whole thing: waiting. It might not take long, or you might have to be realllly patient if it's a doujinshi from the 90s or something. But if you check persistently, eventually it will show up! We're in this together!!

If there's anything I left out or any good shops I missed or you have any questions, or if this guide helped you find something special, feel free to let me know! But if you're new to doujinshi I hope this was helpful. Best of luck hunting! :)