Study: New Entry-Level Animators Earn US$9,200 a Year in Japan
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs, along with the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), conducted a new study of the working conditions, average income, and working hours of new animators in the Japanese animation industry. The study surveyed 759 animators.
The study reports that young animators work an average of 11 hours every day, and in-between (dōga) animators — many of whom are in their 20s — earn a yearly income of around 1.1 million yen (around US$9,200). The in-between animator is the entry-level position in the anime industry, and this income average does not include animators in higher positions or with more experience.
The report notes that the primary factors for the low yearly income for new animators is the low labor costs from neighboring Asian countries, as well as in-betweeners' signing contracts where they earn only a few hundred yen per animation drawing.
JAniCA vice spokesperson and animation director Osamu Yamasaki (Toward the Terra, Hakuōki, Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East) said, "I know the working conditions are hard, especially for the younger animators. If we don't take care of the animators that will succeed us, the industry risks becoming unsustainable."
JAniCA conducted a similar 2009 study with nearly identical results. Yamasaki cautioned people to not jump to conclusions on that study. He said that the salaries rise as animators are promoted to higher positions such as key animators and animation directors.
Animator Sachiko Kamimura (City Hunter, Doraemon movies) also drew attention to the industry's working conditions earlier this year, stating that newcomers work at a starting wage of roughly 120 yen (US $1) an hour. However, Noriyuki Fukuda (D.Gray-man, Lupin III vs. Detective Conan The Movie) said that the pay rate rises with more detailed work for experienced animators.
JAniCA will make the new study public on Wednesday. The agency also plans to hold symposiums in the future to raise attention on the working conditions of young animators.