Affordable Animator Dorm Expansion Crowdfunding Closes Short of Goal
posted on by Eric Stimson
The IndieGoGo campaign to expand the low-income Animator Dormitory from housing six animators to eight has closed. It aimed to raise US$10,000 (about 1.03 million yen) but has only raised US$8,211 (about 849,000 yen) from 175 backers. However, its goal is considered "flexible," meaning that the campaign will keep the money it raised.
The dormitory is the work of a non-profit organization, Animator Supporters, which seeks to alleviate the financial burden on rookie animators in Japan. Rent in Tokyo is extremely high, yet the average salary for young animators is only about 90,000 yen (US$870) a month, according to research by the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) in 2009. Rookie animators can often expect to make even less, not even 60,000 yen (US$580) — the rate for 300 drawings a month, a "really challenging task for a startup animator" according to the campaign. The problem is compounded by animators' long working hours, which generally rules out the possibility of getting a second job.
The Animator Dormitory, which is located in Asagaya, charges 30,000 yen (US$290) a month in rent, including utilities. The dormitory was originally funded in 2014 by another IndieGoGo campaign. It opened in 2015 with room for two animators and was expanded via a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The dormitory also provides a social environment that encourages animators to take lessons and advance their careers. It is modeled after Tokiwa-sō, a dilapidated but cheap apartment complex in Tokyo that housed numerous important manga artists in the 1960s, including Osamu Tezuka, Fujio Akatsuka, and Shotaro Ishinomori. Kyoto has opened a similar apartment for manga artists. Meanwhile, the original Tokiwa-sō will be rebuilt as a museum.