Often on Japanese sites, these works are often translated to English as coterie works. A rather direct translation of the Japanese term dōjin (同人). Coterie works refers to products created by people who share a niche hobby. Often, this would include people working on visual art and music.
These collectives are dedicated to producing original content based upon third-party work. Normally, these circles will participate in in-person events which hosted multiple times per year. The most prestigious and highly sought out event in Japan for doujin artists is Comiket. Which sees on average 750,000 people attend over the span of four days. These events can be so lucrative that many artists are able to make a small living off of their content. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, many artists which rely on these events for income are significantly impacted as event turnout drastically decrease and with some events cancelled outright.
Rather than wait for the next event, some artists have decided to release their items at Air-Comiket, which means they are released at the same time as Comiket but without a physical presence at the event.
There are many Japanese shops that work with artists to release during air Comiket. One of note known for working closely with the artists is AKIBA-HOBBY. In exchange for a percentage of sales, AKIBA-HOBBY assists independent artists with not only sales, shipping and fulfillment, but will also assist the artist with promotion as well.
AKIBA HOBBY will also play the music by it's partnered artists as background music for the store.
All of the photos taken were from members of our circle. We sell our merch on AKIBA HOBBY as well! And because of this, I adore AKIBA-HOBBY. For one, it introduced me to an entire subculture which I knew nothing about. A vibrant one which celebrates experimentation, diversity, collaboration and community. If you are curious you can check out our products below!