Explained: Touhou vs. Doujin

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
By: Matthew Doucette

Touhou is a shoot 'em up game series and Doujin means indie, both with Japanese origin.

Most shmup fans have heard of them, and I wanted to explain them in detail. Here's a breakdown:



Logo of Team Shanghai Alice, creator of the Touhou series.

Touhou is a series, like our Score Rush and Decimation X series, or like Thunder Force or Raiden. It is produced by Team Shanghai Alice (wiki), by their sole member, ZUN.

The Touhou Project (東方Project Tōhō Purojekuto, lit. Eastern Project), also known as Toho Project or Project Shrine Maiden, is a Japanese dōjin game series focused on bullet hell shooters made by the one-man developer Team Shanghai Alice, whose sole member, known as ZUN, is responsible for all the graphics, music, and programming for the most part.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touhou_Project



Doujin basically means "indie" in Japan. A Doujin game is an indie game, of any genre. A Doujin shmup is an indie shmup, which means it is likely a Japanese indie shmup. Doujin has tended to be associated with homebrew games, sometimes free. This is similar to indie games in the past. Doujin actually means self-published, essentially what we now call indie.

Dōjin (同人 dōjin), often romanized as doujin, is a general Japanese term for a group of people or friends who share an interest, activity, hobbies, or achievement. The word is sometimes translated into English as clique, fanfiction, coterie, society, or circle (e.g., a "sewing circle").

In Japan, the term is used to refer to amateur self-published works, including but not limited to manga, novels, fan guides, art collections, music and video games. Some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular publishing industry.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C5%8Djin (Dōjin)

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. The term dōjinshi is derived from dōjin (同人, literally "same person", used to refer to a person or persons with whom one shares a common goal or interest) and shi (誌, a suffix generally meaning "periodical publication"). Dōjinshi are part of a wider category of dōjin including, but not limited to, art collections, anime, hentai and games.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C5%8Djinshi (Dōjinshi)



Here's an example of 20 Doujin shmups, the seventh in the list is a Touhou game:

Top 20 Best Doujin Shmups (2009).



Doujin is often related to shmups, because shmups are big in Japan, however a Doujin game is an indie game of any genre.


That is all!



About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.