How Stuff is Organized
- manga – genre> subgenre> publisher> manga-ka
- doujinshi – genre> doujinshi-ka/circle OR genre> fandom> doujinshi-ka/circle OR genre> fandom> pairing
- if looking for something specific, try all places
Mandarake in Shibuya
For those who cannot read Japanese, like myself, shopping can be a frustrating experience. However, pulling a few manga or doujin off the shelves will give you an idea what you are looking at. You will also recognize the spines of manga with respect to publisher and maybe even author. Once you get a sense for what is where, you will relax into the experience and enjoy yourself. But how is everything organized?
This will often depend on the store and even its location. The larger shops will provide signage in the elevators or the stairwells, explaining what is on each floor. These signs should be fairly obvious and if not, a quick look will tell you that you’re not in Kansas any more. Chances are though, the highest or lowest floors contain the H. Scanning other shoppers will give you a hint as well (I don’t like to typecast, but it’s difficult not to).
Floors and sections will provide specific genres and some will house only new or only used volumes.
Brand new releases can often be found at the front of the shops on tables or stands.
Where manga is concerned, condition (new or used) and genre are narrowed down into publisher, then manga-ka and then series.
If you have a favourite manga-ka, you will likely find similar authors under the same publisher/imprint.
The publishing industry is not immune to politics. Imprints can vanish, leaving manga-ka to secure new publishers. Some manga-ka’s works span several different publishers as well (not to mention genres). If you are searching for a specific manga-ka, you will need to search through more than one area of the shop for each imprint that may publish your manga-ka.
However, there are shops that do not organize by imprint, and will provide all the manga-ka’s works together.
I’ve resigned myself to looking at nearly every doujin in a shop until I understand that shop’s organization method.
For doujin, condition and genre are narrowed down in one of several ways (depending on the size of the series/fandom):
- series/fandom and then pairing
- series/fandom and then doujinshi-ka/circle
To add another level of complexity, sometimes you will find the exact same doujin in more than one location (i.e. under doujinshi-ka/circle and series/fandom). This is important to know if you are looking for something very specific (don’t lose all hope until you’ve exhausted every possibility and every shop).