Dojikko (ドジっ子) is Japanese for clumsy with the feminine suffix "-ko" added on the end. In other words: "clumsy child". The word can be used to describe people of both genders. It has also become a major "element of Moe" in anime and manga, and Anime Fanspeak for Cute Clumsy Girl. The attraction is not limited to Japan, the concept of a Cute Clumsy Girl has worldwide appeal, mainly because her clumsiness makes her more approachable.
The main difference is that in the West a Cute Clumsy Girl is probably supposed to make the audience chuckle, while Dojikkos tend towards making them say, "Awwww! She's so cute!" However, the core concepts overlap so much that all examples should be put on the Cute Clumsy Girl page. You should also go there for a more general summary of how this interacts with other tropes. This page serves to define the fan term, provide some detail on how it is used in anime works and fandom, and discuss trope combinations that are common in anime but not the West.
To be labeled a dojikko, all a girl has to be is clumsy in a cute way. So an anime fan could use Dojikko to refer Western examples as well. Still, there are a few noticeable differences between anime dojikko and western examples.
Western examples tend to tack on clumsiness to an otherwise already established character idea so as make her more approachable. Anime examples tend to start out building a Moe character and often select Dojikko as a starting point, although Dojikkos almost always have additional moe elements added to create a "twofer" (or more) in the moe department. Because of this a dojikko is much more likely to appear as a supporting character in an anime because she's an easy addition to appeal to a large fanbase. Western works tend to use cute clumsiness as a way to humanize the heroine, while western Plucky Comic Relief tends to just be The Klutz.
Some of the more common additional moe elements include:
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Instead of being a Ditz she's just off in her own little world.
- The Ditz: Very common. Maybe the reason she's so clumsy is because she's such an airhead. In a heroine, can be used to create The Fool.
- Determinator: If a heroine, this is a popular addition as either an alternative to The Fool, or sometimes in combination with it. It can also be a trait added for a non-heroine, as an alternative to The Pollyanna personality. If combined with The Pollyanna she becomes a clumsy Plucky Girl.
- Ditzy Genius: She's smart but lacks social grace (in addition to lacking physical grace)
- Genki Girl occasionally develops from The Pollyanna version.
- Genius Ditz: A common variation on ditzy dojikkos. One of the more famous early dojikkos Mihoshi has this trait.
- Hollywood Nerd: Usually of the Hot Scientist or Hot Librarian variety. This is one of the newer variations of the dojikko archetype. Perhaps created to contrast with the large number of dojikko ditzes. In fact one of the common comments on anime fanboards about Miyuki from Lucky Star was to wonder if she was "the future evolution of dojikko moe".
- Maid Of Moe: Especially common to combine with the dojikko being in some position of servitude. A clumsy maid or waitress has become so common that parodies have practically become a trope in of themselves.
- Meganekko: Since glasses makes a girl approachable, and clumsiness does the same. Why not combine the two? Blind Without 'Em also provides a chance to justify some of the more outrageous acts of clumsiness.
- The Pollyanna: Her cheerful and optimistic personality offset the constant hardships she suffers from being so clumsy.
- Submissive: What can be more non-threatening than a girl who is submissive (perhaps because she's constantly messing up?) The more heroic view her as someone to protect.
Apparently there are some subsets of anime culture that use dojikko as short hand to refer specifically to The Pollyanna + The Ditz + Submissive variation. This is probably the most common subtype of dojikko, and might make up as much as 1/3 of all anime dojikkos.
As another aspect of the character, Fanservice can play a large role in the character type. "Accidental" pratfalls often result in Panty Shots (no Magic Skirts here), and there is often plenty of overlap with Ms. Fanservice in this trope. (Unless they're going for a more innocent emotional connection).
The popularity of this character among the anime subculture of Japan has led to a proliferation of these characters in anime, thanks in no small part to their ability to sell The Merch. Expect figurines, wall scrolls, and full-sized body pillows. Because of this, they may be added as a way of expanding the marketability of a show, much like the Token Mini-Moe. Expect Tareme Eyes.
See Cute Clumsy Girl for examples.