Family Assistance is the Lifeblood for Half of Young Animators in Japan
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Seasonal anime output is at an industry high but the novice animators toiling away each season are barely surviving. The non-profit organization Hōjin Jakunen-sō no Anime Seisakusha o Ōen suru kai (The Association to Support Young Industry Animators, AEYAC) released the preliminary results of a survey it conducted to get a better understanding of animator working conditions. The results were startling, as over half of the respondents revealed they receive financial assistance from their families on top of working.
The survey asked 44 animators with less than three years of industry experience about their living arrangements, debt, work commute, and other occupation related questions via the internet. The average respondent's age was 23 with approximately one year and five months of industry work experience.
The results showed 12 of the 44 participants still live in the family home and 11 of those 12 are not the breadwinners for the family. The majority do not live at home (32 individuals) but of those 32, 11 receive financial assistance from their families. In short, about half are receiving some kind of economic assistance from their families either by residing in the family home or directly receiving money from their families while living outside the home to make ends meet. This is especially troubling when taken into account that 19 of the respondents not living at home stated that they've greatly cut into their savings while working in the animation industry and 10 respondents stated they have no savings whatsoever.
14 of the animators are also in debt, stating they borrowed money from a scholarship while they were students and will have to repay the funds.
These are only some of the results discovered from AEYAC's survey and the organization will release the full results in March. The organization was founded in May 2016 in the hopes of supporting and encouraging young animators that will take the reins of the anime industry. AEYAC hosts events, workshops and exchange meetings to help animators hone their skills.
The state of the anime industry, specifically for entry-level animators, is often dire. Concerned industry members, like key animator Katsunori Shibata, have run crowdfunding campaigns to award money to struggling animators. Animator Dormitory and Young Animators NPO are combating low wages among Japan's animators with help from donations. Animator Dormitory provides low-income housing and utilities.
Animators in Japan are usually freelance, work long hours, and are burdened with high living expenses due to the areas studios are often located. An animator working for Xebec posted what appeared to be a real pay stub with the rather dismal monthly pay of 131,330 yen (US$1,103). According to the employee, the stipulations for his contact included the base pay of 130,000 yen (US$1,092), plus an additional 5,300 yen (US$44.50) to cover his commute. 3,970 yen (US$33) was withheld for taxes.
The actual working hours were set as "as much as you can in 24 hours." He was required to turn in a timecard filled out by hand at the end of each month.
The Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) published a study in 2015 of the working conditions, average income, and working hours of animators in the Japanese animation industry. The study surveyed 759 animators.
The study reports that animators earned an average of 3.3283 million yen (about US$27,689) in Japan in 2013.