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In-Between Animators Share Stories of Low Wages, Poor Conditions With 'Dōgaman Hell' Hashtag

posted on by Kim Morrissy

In-between animators are the people who draw the connecting frames between each key pose you'll see in an anime. Despite the importance of their work, they're among the lowest paid workers in the industry. According to a 2019 survey by the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), the mean average yearly income across for in-between animators is only 1,250,000 yen (US$11,400), which is significantly lower than the 4,410,000 yen (US$40,000) industry average.

Animators recently took to Twitter with the #動画マン地獄篇 (Dōgaman Hell) hashtag to share some of their wage-related related woes. Both anonymous animators and established animators participated in the hashtag, sharing what they earned with their first in-between animation jobs. A selection of tweets are listed below:

Yūichi Tanaka (A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun character designer):

Kengo Saitō (SSSS.Gridman chief animation director):

Translation: "My initial salary was 8,000 yen. We've got to change this. It can't support a living. I think that this is really the worst part of this industry."

Yoshimi Yamaguchi (pseudonym):

Translation: "A number of in-between animators made a direct appeal to the company head to do something about a veteran who was abusing his authority and making inappropriate sexual advances, but they were completely ignored. (Incidentally, the veteran in question went off the deep end a few years later, got in trouble with the police, and left the studio.)"

Mausa (pseudonym):

Translation: "The rates would start at around 100 yen per drawing, but the expenses such as pencils and transport would add up to around 20,000 yen per month, so the actual profit I made was only around 6,000 yen."

Shimada (pseudonym):

Translation: "I pulled three all-nighters at a studio for a job that earned me 4,000 yen... Whoops, I got on board the hashtag and let that fact slip. This hashtag is about the darkness of the anime industry... You all who are looking are better off not knowing."

The manga artist Yaso Hanamura, who is currently drawing the Animeta! manga about a girl trying to make it in the anime industry, also commented on the hashtag, saying that the in-between animation rates mentioned in the manga is based on the real testimony of a former animator. They also said that, as a former newcomer in-between animator 20 years ago, their first job earned them 45,000 yen, which included the fee of their training course, and that in their second month, they earned 18,000 yen.

Earlier this month, animators from around the world tweeted about their wages with the #AnimationPaidMe hashtag, revealing global disparities in income, especially in Asia.

Thanks to dark_ogamiya for the news tip

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