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Low-Income Animator Dorm Opens in Tokyo's Asagaya District

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The Animator Supporters non-profit organization will open its crowdfunded dormitory in Tokyo's Asagaya district this month. The new flat will room two animators and will charge around 20,000 or 30,000 yen ($168 or $252) a month in rent.

The "Animator Dormitories For Start-Ups" crowdfund reached its goal last year after raising US$12,647 in the U.S. and a total of 2,250,000 yen (US$18,815) across two separate Japanese campaigns. The campaign plans to open more dorms over the next two years. The group has successfully funded a single dorm in Tokyo that currently houses 23-year-old Tetsuya Akutsu from Tochigi Prefecture and Masaaki Tanaka from Ibaraki Prefecture where they are overseen by two professional animators that serve as their "dorm fathers."

Animators Naoyuki Asano (The Tatami Galaxy) and Shingo Yamashita (Gatchaman Crowds) and NPO Animator Supporters founder Jun Sugawara collaborated on the project.

The Animator Supporters also run a 24-hour anime study room for aspiring professionals and an award program to subsidize rent for applicants.

The project is said to be modeled after the Tokiwa-so apartment building in the Minami Nagasaki residential area of Toshima. The bare basics complex was once home to acclaimed manga creator Osamu Tezuka, Shōtarō Ishinomori, Fujio Akatsuka, Fujiko Fujio, and many more from the early 1950s to the 1980s.

According to the campaign, the average Japanese animator starts at a US$10,000 a year salary compared to the average US$40,000 salary. Animators are usually freelance, work long hours, and are saddled with high-cost of living expenses due the areas where most animation studios are located. The Japan Animation Creators Association held a survey in 2009 that found that most animators in their 20s make 1.1 million yen a year (about US$9,198). The turnaround rate within the animation industry in Japan is about 90 percent.

American animator Henry Thurlow and veteran animator Sachiko Kamimura recently discussed their experiences working in the industry.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun

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