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New Derived Content Guidelines Announced

ZUN has added a new post to his blog, covering some changes to the guidelines for Touhou-derived content production. There’s been a lot of news about the post increasing restrictions on derived works, although from the content of the post the net effect is not all that signifcant for most works that we enjoy in the West. The primary changes involve the distribution channels through which derived works can be offered, the use of Touhou in commercial (as opposed to doujin) works, most of which will require review and approval by ZUN. These changes shouldn’t have much effect on most fanworks that are released through the various conventions in Japan (such as albums or doujinshi); the primary targets of the change seem to be other types of merchandise such as figurines, plushies, and dakimakura.

A full translation of the post follows below.

Lately the numbers of derivative works explode when commercial works are
released, so I wanted to update the guidelines with that in mind.
I hope things can work something like this.
The basic rules for derivatives by doujin circles aren't really that

東方Projectの版権を利用する際のガイドライン 2011年版
Guidelines for using the Touhou Project setting - ver. 2011

This is a revision to the Touhou Project guidelines, updated for the
state of affairs in 2011.

Use in doujin activities
[n.b. - things doujin circles should do when making Touhou stuff, like
        having contact information visible, attribution, etc.]

Basically, just follow the guidelines as they've been up 'til now.
Detailed information is in the questions and answers collectod on this
page, so please have a look.

Selling doujin works in commercial channels is generally not allowed.

I don't generally review or veto the contents of independent works, so please use
your own personal judgment in and take responsibility for your works.

Applications for commercial goods

You need my permission to sell commercial goods.

A friend of mine has graciously offered to serve as the point of
contact for inquiries about works derived from Touhou.

We'll promptly address inquiries from commercial outfits, so please use the following
form to contact us.

In addition, please refrain from making commercial goods of a sexualized
nature (such as dakimakura covers with sexual imagery).

Restrictions on derivative works

I'd like to place the following restrictions on all
derivative works, regardless of whether they're commercial or independent:
For-profit development of works whose main element is animation(*)
 ・Xbox360 インディーズゲームでの販売
Sale of software on the XBox 360 Indies channel
 ・AppStore や Androidマーケットでの販売(企業の方は問い合わせしてください)
Sale of software via the App Store, Android Market, etc. (for commercial
parties, please get in contact with me)
Sale of works in channels that are further reaching than the distribution channels
used by the original works. The original works are primarily sold in general doujin
channels. So, please refrain from using download sales sites primarily oriented for
overseas customers, etc.
Other works (e.g. works of excessive sexual depictions and works that would slander
a particular person, group or race) when we determine that such works are extremely
inappropriate given societal norms.

I'll leave the question of what to do with works released before this update
to the guidelines that may fall astray of one of its provisions up to the
judgment of their creators.

 ※ ここでいうアニメーションとはいわゆる「セルアニメーション」のことで、3Dソフトで作成されたものや、イラストとエフェクトで構成されるようなものは除きます。
* By this I mean so-called "traditional cel animation"; computer-generated 3D
animation and 2D illustrations with special effects processing aren't included
in this restriction.


  1. ZUN's twitter
    February 14th, 2011 | 7:47 pm

    ZUN has added some updates to questions on his Twitter account (posted here in chronological order).

    “[Don’t make] Excessive sexual depictions” basically means don’t run afoul of the law. Naturally, I’d like all creators to respect the laws of Japan.

    I’ve never before authorized commercial porn before, and I’ve never really been that bothered by the contents of any doujin I’ve seen, so don’t worry. I just had to make the stipulation.

    I’ve been asked this question a lot, but I’ve never been officially involved in an anime production before! And I’m not planning on it! Not like I have the time.

    So, reports of the death of Touhou erodoujin are greatly exaggerated.

  2. February 14th, 2011 | 8:44 pm

    Oh. Duh. And here I was getting excited. Well, shame on ZUN for having a tougher shell than me.

  3. flurk
    February 14th, 2011 | 9:58 pm

    Do your thing, ZUN!

  4. February 14th, 2011 | 10:28 pm

    >> Sale of works in channels that are further reaching than the distribution channels used by the original works. The original works are primarily sold in general doujin channels. So, please refrain from using download sales sites primarily oriented for overseas customers, etc.

    This begs the question: What happens with works that are made by overseas fans and that cannot be sold through the “general doujin channels”?

    Let’s say, for example, that I make a doujin game inspired by Touhou, and wish to sell it. Does that mean that I *need* to sell it through the Japanese doujin channels, both physical and online?

  5. Chronopolis
    February 14th, 2011 | 11:11 pm

    I think the rules are intended for Japanese distrubutors, as a foreigner (not made in Japan) retailed touhou doujin game would be a first as far as I know. Basically the rules were not made with that in mind. My personal opinion is that ZUN wouldn’t mind unless it got so far as to be large-scale commericalized, in which ZUN would probably address it individually in some manner.

  6. alucard13mm
    February 14th, 2011 | 11:24 pm

    i wonder too XD.. i wanted to make some Touhou goods by hand and sell some on my personal website to get by school. I dont know if making touhou goods by hand or personally is considered to be doujin or fanmade.

    i was gonna use touhou as a launching pad to start a small doujin/business and use it as a launching pad to go into making licensed, legal anime goods.

  7. James C Vaughn
    February 14th, 2011 | 11:28 pm

    So he’s Saying Don’t Sell Touhou Related product in iphone apps, Androids apps, Xbox 360 marketplace, Playstation Network (I Think…). I think I get it.

    So we have to ask ZUN in order to make it happen or no?

  8. nope
    February 14th, 2011 | 11:37 pm

    So, what’s going to happen to all the Touhou material already on DLSite?

  9. kuga
    February 15th, 2011 | 7:52 am

    i’m confuse…people still make touhou doujins right? i’m a kid, so this kind of things is really making me blurrish~

  10. KarmikCykle
    February 15th, 2011 | 8:23 am

    So he’s basically just saying “Hey, if you want to make money off of my work, please contact me first.” Makes perfect sense to me.

  11. Pky2010
    February 15th, 2011 | 8:25 am

    Zun is just trying to make sure that Touhou is still be a Doujin work

  12. February 15th, 2011 | 10:30 am

    […] illustrations with special effects processing aren't included in this restriction. my source : bukan di ban; lebih kayak dia pengen yang berbau komersial dikurangi. dan ini applies in japan, […]

  13. February 15th, 2011 | 12:49 pm

    I’ve been thinking about the restriction that says “So, please refrain from using download sales sites primarily oriented for
    overseas customers”.

    I think I’m beginning to understand the reasoning behind this restriction.

    You see, ZUN is protecting Touhou. We must assume that he’s trying to protect the Touhou Fans, their creations and their culture.

    However, and as we all know, Touhou derivative works are not all safe for all ages. There’s stuff out there that is intended only for an adult audience… And some of it can offend certain sensibilities.

    What ZUN wants to avoid is another “Rapelay”-level scandal.

    Imagine that someone sells a digital copy of a rather extreme Touhou H-doujin on an english site. Imagine some group in, say, the U.S. finds it, and starts proclaiming all the supposed “evils” of Touhou Project, just from one extreme H-doujin.

    That would be AWFUL… But entirely within the realm of possibility.

    Is this what ZUN is trying to avoid? I don’t know, but it’s certainly one of the possible logical justifications behind this one clause.

    I’m with Chronopolis on this one: I don’t think he would mind, mostly because he’s trying to protect his creation, while still giving some leeway for derivative works.

    alucard13mm: Depends on the channel. “Commercial” goods are mass produced and distributed, Fan-made goods are not. What is the distinction between “Commercial” and “Fan-made”? If you ask me, it’s a matter of scope: “Commercial” goods seek a larger scope, must work on a bigger scale. “Fan-made” goods, on the other hand, are not widely available (Maybe just through 1 or 2 channels), and the group behind the goods is not big.

    I’d say you’re on the safe side, as long as you’re making them yourself.

  14. Simon
    February 15th, 2011 | 2:16 pm

    (What ZUN wants to avoid is another “Rapelay”-level scandal.)

    You know, i remember another time Dungeons and Dragons was involved in a smiliar witch hunt saying that DnD made devil worshipers of its players simply because of one stupid player that got involved in an incident that made the news. ^^;

  15. February 15th, 2011 | 2:31 pm

    I seriously doubt that the restriction on download sites oriented towards overseas customers has anything to do with the Rapelay scandal; ZUN’s stated before that he doesn’t really have much interest in promoting the Touhou series outside Japan. I don’t see him saying here that doujin creators shouldn’t use distribution channels that are usable by overseas folks (DLSite being the primary example of this), just that distribution should remain focused in Japan.

  16. February 15th, 2011 | 3:58 pm

    […] that ZUN doesn’t even open emails from non-Japanese domains and so forth. As one commenter mentioned, this may be because ZUN wants to avoid a Rapelay-esque fiasco, especially with the risque […]

  17. Psieye
    February 16th, 2011 | 2:59 am

    The way I see it, ZUN is trying to keep timesinks under control and ensure the “non-commercial” status of Touhou is maintained. It makes sense when you think of ZUN operating like a research academic artisan and not a businessman. The latter is how most people think, which is why they get confused with ZUN’s attitude.

    Unlike businessmen, ZUN is not motivated by profit. That’s not why he created Touhou and when it turned out to be highly popular, he still doesn’t create more Touhou for profit. It’s his philosophy that use of creative energy primarily for profit will seriously affect what is being created. ZUN doesn’t want to taint his Touhou creations with “but wait, will this be popular and thus, make money?”

    So, he doesn’t want money for his work. Getting involved in companies for commercial Touhou projects then becomes pointless timesinks. It’s a lot of stress and what he’d get out of it is something he doesn’t want. People don’t do time-consuming things they deem irrelevant. Keeping to the law, avoiding (official, i.e. commercial) overseas exposure, asking companies to seek permission before trying to make profit from his work – these are all guidelines to reduce time lost to annoying, unnecessary timesinks. He’s not telling companies to never touch his work, he’s just trying to keep things under control and deferred the actual communications task to a friend so he can focus on what’s important to him: world sculpting and danmaku crafting.

  18. Novaheart
    February 16th, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    Makes sense to me, though I wonder what will happen to Doujin Anime like Manzui’s? Is it commerical or still within guidelines?

  19. February 16th, 2011 | 7:53 pm

    Does this mean such Touhou-H doujin circles like Takakuya will cease?

    I mean, Takaku’s work IS pretty excessive.

  20. CapnJack
    February 17th, 2011 | 5:20 am

    Looks like ZUN is taking his work more to heart. This leaves to wonder if he’s thinking to finally take that step and expand Touhou to a greater media.

  21. Updated blog post
    February 17th, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    ZUN updated his blog post based on questions he’s been asked over the past couple of days. The key points are:
    * reproductions of individual commissions are explicitly exempted from the restrictions on commercial work (i.e. if someone commissions you to do something, it’s okay to then sell reproductions of it in limited quantities as a doujin work)
    * the contact info for commercial endeavours is not intended for use by individuals or doujin circles
    * the animation bullet was changed to just “Commercial production of animation works” [n.b. – looks like Maikaze is in the clear, but maybe not UFOtable]
    * a note at the bottom was added saying that any works in progress for Reitaisai or Summer Comiket that might run afoul of the new guidelines may be treated under the old guidelines

  22. alucard13mm
    February 17th, 2011 | 6:19 pm


    well i kinda wanted to use Touhou as a launching pad in the hopes of becoming reputable or have enough money from the stuff to do legit merchandise for licensed anime. i dont know if thats consider as making a profit =s. i, of course, will not make any more touhou products once i can make licensed goods from animes.

  23. soft-n-fluffy
    February 17th, 2011 | 8:23 pm

    Typical ZUN, making it even harder for overseas Touhou fans to get their hands on doujin products. It’s like he’s saying foreigners don’t deserve to have Touhou doujin products.

  24. alucard13mm
    February 17th, 2011 | 9:46 pm


    i see this and i want to provide foreign Touhou fans with Touhou products. seems that touhou products that do exist outside japan are sometimes 200%+ the price or at least 150% of the price. i just see an opportunity to help people get their Touhou fix and better educate people in the art of danmaku (since theres probably a lot of misconception with touhou). i had a few prototype products in the works =\.. but after hear this news. im just sitting on them and wait to see what will happen.

  25. Solamarle
    February 17th, 2011 | 9:54 pm

    It’s not that ZUN hates foreigners, he just doesn’t care. He sees the expansion of Touhou as a possible threat to the status quo of him and most other people being able to do whatever they want, so between the collapse of the Touhou ecosystem and overseas people not getting their hands on Touhou goods, he’ll choose the latter.

    You shouldn’t believe sensationalistic claims that ZUN hates all foreigners and doujin groups. Yeah, sure, he makes doujin groups go through the onerous burden of………… putting contact info at the end of their works. What an ass, right?

  26. siesta34
    February 17th, 2011 | 10:28 pm

    I think this is just to stop people who make Touhou goods and want to sell them as though they were toilet paper or corn flakes.

    What I mean is that they´ll start commercializing stuff in the great scale causing lots of misconceptions and trouble in general, specially for ZUN who would be held responsible of whatever products they make even if he wasn´t really involved, etc., etc. Not to mention they´ll be planning to become rich out of somebody else´s work.

    I personally like my Touhou the way it is now. It´s something fans can contribute to in so many ways, unlike many other things. I don´t see anything bad in ZUN post.

  27. Thunderbug
    February 18th, 2011 | 3:46 am

    Well, as long as doujins are not really affected, I’m pretty much fine with it. The Touhou figures I bought and plan to buy should all be ok too, since they’re not ero

  28. drags
    February 18th, 2011 | 3:49 am

    well, is it because many people seeing those products thought “Touhou is an anime” first? I’m sure ZUN is pissed many people think of Touhou as an anime, because it makes me kinda mad too LOL

  29. Benmurrray
    February 18th, 2011 | 3:51 am

    very soon touhou will move on to become a massive underground market..

  30. yaja1243
    February 18th, 2011 | 3:54 am

    At leat an update shows that he’s active, I hope he moves on to Touhou 13 soon!!!

  31. Blarch
    February 18th, 2011 | 5:50 am

    Can there be some huge sub title to this post to tell all the guys who believe Sankaku puts out real news that this isn’t a ban on doujinshi?

  32. alucard13mm
    February 18th, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    well, i dont think he hates foreigners.. its just that if theres international touhou groups, each of these groups would have different views on touhou like the story, characteristics, what touhou is, and etc etc. its more trouble than its worth probably. since touhou is basically made by the fans, if theres way too many fans.. then the story will become a giant mess.

  33. EricGN
    February 18th, 2011 | 12:27 pm

    It actually makes sense. Stupid Sankaku Complex’s community is really exaggerating about “banning touhou doujins” lol

  34. P,Doc
    February 19th, 2011 | 11:22 am

    Dude you guys actually take info from Sankaku? That site is notorious for putting questionable info and highly exaggerating meanings in Japanese translations

  35. EricGN
    February 19th, 2011 | 12:56 pm

    I’m not using Sankaku as my japanese news but I do like their content (pics, figures, etc).

  36. harry_kinomoto
    February 20th, 2011 | 1:15 pm

    That Zun is wanting to LIMIT the popularity of Touhou is interesting news to me, who believes passionately in that some aspects of the game, particularly its MUSIC, deserves to be brought to a wider audience.

    I’m nowhere near famous enough for me to be a bother to whatever strange philosophies the guy has, but IF I someday succeed in my mssion, and become a worldwide superstar AS a result of this music, it’d be interesting to see the shockwaves it would cause…

    I’d perform for the joy of performing and bringing people good music, but at the same time keep to his rules and keep myself not-for-profit (my main source of income isn’t music-based). I would use my success as a testament to the fact that the best things in life are not available through the usual channels, and publicly thank not just Zun, but also ANY and ALL involved in this awesome project, not least the transcribers for bringing it to a form that I can both better understand and communicate.

    I hope he would be pleased with the publicity that would bring him. I hope he doesn’t try and get me off the stage – but if he does, I’m not so sure I will back down so easily!

  37. Gazlene
    February 22nd, 2011 | 3:04 am

    All he wants it’s to keep the big Companies and some smart-guys to make huge profit out of Touhou, that’s why he says “ask me first if you want to do commercial derivatives” and “DON’T SELL DOWNLOADS”, he isn’t saying “don’t put downloads on the net”, so this way the Touhou doujin community can stay as a hobby and not a business.

    The part of the EroTouhou is more about how-to avoid problems with the law over Japan, he is giving and advice like a father: “Son, you can do as you like while you don’t offend other people, and if you get your self into trouble be a man and assume your responsibility”, he just wants to keep the doujin-ists out of trouble.

    Or that’s what I get.

  38. February 25th, 2011 | 11:10 pm

    I know what he’s talking about has to do almost exclusively with solid goods, but I’m wondering if it is still ok to use Touhou music and images in videos and such. I know on Nico Nico every video is “commercialized” by default (has ads next to them). But on YouTube they are much more strict about making sure none of the content in the videos is labeled as noncommercial before ads are put on them. I’m assuming that Zun just really wants to make sure that credit is given and clearly marked so people watching who are new to Touhou can understand what’s going on.

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