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Say Hello to Black Jack's Sato Discloses Expenses, Income (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
18 million yen a year to run 6-person staff who initially brings in 16 million

Shuho Sato, the creator of the Say Hello to Black Jack, Umizaru, and The Isle of TOKKOU manga, disclosed his production expenses and income in a series of blog entries from March 28 to April 4. By producing 450 pages a year, he receives about 16 million yen a year (about US$160,000) for the magazine publication of his current work, Say Hello to Black Jack. However, it costs 18 million yen (US$180,000) a year to run his current staff of six.

Sato makes up the difference in the compiled volumes, for which he is paid 10% of the retail price (580 yen/US$5.80). The fifth and latest volume of New Say Hello to Black Jack sold 98,579 copies in its first two weeks. Sato reports that there are manga artists working in shōjo magazines who earn only 8% or 9% royalty on their compiled volumes.

During his earlier Umizaru run, Sato estimates that he lost 200,000 yen (US$2,000) a month before he received royalties:

Manuscript payment rate: 10,000 yen (US$100) per page
Monthly output: 80 pages for 800,000 yen (US$8,000)
   (20 pages for each weekly installment)
Monthly income tax: 80,000 yen (US$800)
Monthly personnel expenses for 3-person staff: 470,000 yen (US$4,700)
Monthly food expenses for staff: 100,000 yen (US$1,000)
Monthly paint and material expenses: 100,000 yen (US$1,000)
Monthly studio rent: 70,000 yen (US$700)
Monthly fuel and other expenses: 50,000 yen (US$500)
Monthly loss after additional living expenses: -200,000 yen (-$2,000)

Sato earned 25,000 yen (US$250) per page on The Isle of TOKKOU, while he now earns 35,000 yen (US$350) per page on Say Hello to Black Jack. Thus, he earns 150,000 yen (US$1,500) before taxes to produce each monthly magazine installment of Say Hello to Black Jack. Each of his assistants earns 3,000,000 yen (US$30,000) a year, which he acknowledges is lower than the average salary of a salaryman (company employee) in his or her 20s.

Source: Mirai Kensaku Gadget Tsūshin

Update: The highest paid manga creator in 2003 was Rumiko Takahashi, who paid 171 million yen (US$1.7 million) in taxes on an estimated income of 450 million yen (US$4.5 million).

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