Exploitation In The Anime Industry: An Entry
The low, low salaries in Japans anime studios are well documented, yet new disclosures still have the power to shock. The latest insight into the matter comes from an animator who calls herself Ryoko, in a Youtube video uploaded by Animator Dormitory.
The video focuses on Ryokos first nine months in the industry, from April 2019 to January 2020. After commenting on matters like desk ergonomics and the challenges of animating water, she reveals that she earned 668,000 yen in 2019. Thats equivalent to a monthly salary of 74,000 yen, or $700. Ryoko took time off in December, but even so, those wages are pretty meager . Watch the video below:
For a young animator, though, Ryoko says she is earning relatively well. Noting that many first-year animators can expect between 30,000 and 50,000 yen per month, she attributes her own high wages to her combination of employed and freelance work, as well as the fact that she got to do mostly key animation in those months. But she mentions another occupational hazard: pay often comes with several months delay. Even with savings, she laments, its hard to make ends meet like this.
Nakamuras video features Jun Sugawara, the founder of Animation Supporters. The non-profit organization organizes crowfunding that subsidizes artists accommodation. It also runs the channel that hosts Ryokos video, as well as others on the subject. Sugawaras work is remarkable. So is the fact that he has to do it at all.
Frequently Asked Questions About An Anime Animator Salaries
The national average salary for an Anime Animator is $72,278 per year in United States. Filter by location to see an Anime Animator salaries in your area. Salaries estimates are based on 2141 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by an Anime Animator employees.
The highest salary for an Anime Animator in United States is $134,183 per year.
The lowest salary for an Anime Animator in United States is $38,932 per year.
Answering The Big Question: How Much Do Animators Get Paid
BLS data lists the 2017 median pay for animators at $70,530 a year. Glassdoor has the national average a bit higher at $74,000. Like many other fields, compensation for animators also depends on experience: it’s not uncommon for senior-level animators or art directors to earn well into six figures.
You should never choose a job based solely on pay, but it’s an important consideration for prospective animation students. Though the field is competitive and employment is often short-term, it’s also growing quickly. If you have the will to work hard and the technical, visual, and communication skills needed to make top-caliber animations, you stand a very good chance of earning a comfortable living as an animator.
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Animes Slave Labor Problem
Anime is almost entirely drawn by hand. It takes skill to create hand-drawn animation and experience to do it quickly.
Shingo Adachi, an animator and character designer for Sword Art Online, a popular anime TV series, said the talent shortage is a serious ongoing problem with nearly 200 animated TV series alone made in Japan each year, there arent enough skilled animators to go around. Instead, studios rely on a large pool of essentially unpaid freelancers who are passionate about anime.
At the entry level are in-between animators, who are usually freelancers. Theyre the ones who make all the individual drawings after the top-level directors come up with the storyboards and the middle-tier key animators draw the important frames in each scene.
In-between animators earn around 200 yen per drawing less than $2. That wouldnt be so bad if each artist could crank out 200 drawings a day, but a single drawing can take more than an hour. Thats not to mention animes meticulous attention to details that are by and large ignored by animation in the West, like food, architecture, and landscape, which can take four or five times longer than average to draw.
Even if you move up the ladder and become a key-frame animator, you wont earn much, Adachi said. And even if your title is a huge hit, like Attack on Titan, you wont make any of it. Its a structural problem in the anime industry. Theres no dream .
NlSHII Terumi May 11, 2019
Deep Dive Into Japan’s Animators
Behind the rosy pictures of anime hides the dark conditions of the animators. Lets take a look at the salary system of anime studios in Japan.
Kyoto Animation: $1, 941/month for a full-time employee with health insurance, welfare pension, employment insurance, & more.
MAPPA: $1799 for a full-time employee with Social insurance, welfare pension, employment insurance, commuting allowance, housing allowance, & more.
Trigger: The salary is in the volume system, i.e., animators get paid according to the drawings. The animator also needs to choose the insurance.
Gaina: $1730/month for a full-time employee with Health insurance, welfare pension & insurance, employment insurance, & more.
Studio 3Hz: Volume system/month. Khara: Volume system + $384.
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Why Such A Discrepancy Between Countries
Turns out, part of the difference comes from Japans reputation of paying animators very low wages compared to other countries.
Demand for anime has exploded and production costs have risen, but studios havent increased salaries. Many studios have closed because they cant find animators. Some predict animators could start leaving Japan for foreign animation studios.
Are you surprised by these numbers?;Let me know in the comments;
How Much Money Do Anime Artists Make
Its a common misconception that anime artists, especially those based in Japan, have some deep wallets. Some certainly do, but in most cases, these artists were the original creators of their series and have struck their gold in royalties and licensing rights.
When it comes to the artists tasked with the nitty-gritty of bringing a show to life, their salaries arent so glamorous. Theres a lot of complexity to the staff and hierarchy of an anime, especially a popular one. This factors in as well. Its also important to consider that anime, in comparison to other animated shows or styles, is much costlier to produce and takes longer.
An episode of anime is produced frame by frame. A single episode may be composed of hundreds or even thousands of frames. A key-frame animator is one of the top positions available. These artists are responsible for the most important snapshots in the episode and the leading frames.
They typically work with lower-level animators, sometimes termed in-between animators. These animators handle the short frames in-between shots to animate the scene. This work is tedious and time-consuming for hand-drawn anime.
Key-frame animators are usually contracted or salaried, but their earnings dont outweigh in-between animators or assistants. Thats true even for some of the most popular animes. Even the biggest names in the industry are paying their artists a minimal amount to save costs. But this begs the question, why?
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How Will This Affect The Anime Industry
Some of you reading might think, well this is good for the anime community, and you know what, it is. Netflix will produce more anime on its own platform for millions to watch and most likely will pay animators much more than other studios . As you might probably know, Japanese animators dont make much money. It is basically a slave salary. Who knows and if they animators are getting paid too low then it probably wont be reported.
Expect more censorship not just from SONY. However, with Netflix there might not be enough the same type of censorship. Netflix is know for having adults show like Marco Polo and The Witcher that contains nudity and mild sex scenes. The problem is that since Netflix is paying some anime studios to make more anime for the platform, they will start to make demands that could be quite unpleasant and this is where the American politics come in.
Japanese anime fans dont like censorship, they are also not SJWs like in America, Canada or the UK. If Netflix dares to have these studios add their politics on anime like many American movies and shows have been doing for the past decade, then many people will start to get away from anime.
How Much Money Does An Animator Make In Japan
Average Monthly Salary613,000
A person working as an Animator in Japan typically earns around 398,000 JPY per month. Salaries range from 203,000 JPY to 613,000 JPY .
This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Animator salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.
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Frequently Asked Questions About An Animator Salaries
The national average salary for an Animator is $69,986 per year in United States. Filter by location to see an Animator salaries in your area. Salaries estimates are based on 734 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by an Animator employees.
The highest salary for an Animator in United States is $128,920 per year.
The lowest salary for an Animator in United States is $37,993 per year.
Anime Industry Growth But Lack Of Studio Profits
How is that the anime industry posted a;record 2 trillion yen revenue line, but anime studios are struggling to pay their artists? Its because the actual anime itself isnt profitable.
The industries three largest revenue streams are merchandising, international licensing, and anime-themed pachinko machines.
The three lowest revenue streams are Japanese home video, Japanese digital distribution, and anime related music sales.
Notice the trend? Auxiliary segments rake in the cash, whereas the anime itself doesnt gross enough for studios.
The challenge is trying to increase these revenue segments, which;do;have a large piracy rate. This is why so many studios and agency try to educate anime fans about piracy.
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How Much Do Animators Get Paid Per Frame
The most common way of paying anime artists is by frame. In-between animators and key-frame animators can expect to make different amounts per frame. In-between animators, according to most sources, make ¥200 per frame or drawing. ¥200 adds up to be around $2.00 USD.
Heres where animes distinctive style comes into play. These frames can take up to several hours to complete, making this compensation completely unacceptable. Even for in-between artists who are changing only small aspects of a frame, this amount is hardly enough to make a living. Some animation artists only make $5-10 USD per hour, which is below Japans minimum wage. Key-frame artists enjoy drawing more elaborate and important frames, but they are compensated only somewhat more than in-between animators.
Fortunately, innovations in digital art have improved the rate at which artists are able to draw and create frames. Still, some industry professionals point out that this payment rate had remained unchanged since the 60s when ¥200 went a lot further than it does now. As a result, many animation artists have taken to lobbying, unionizing, and even going on strike in order to get the wages they deserve.
Studio executives attempted to deal with high turnover rates and dissatisfied artists by turning to freelancers and contractual artists. Now, these artists are refusing their services unless they are paid a proper wage. Whether or not this up-and-coming movement will be successful is yet to be determined.
Why Are Japanese Animators Paid So Little
Theres a lot of speculation as to why Japanese animators are paid so little. One theory is that the standard in the industry has long been to make as much a profit as possible. Costs for staff and production are kept low, and any potential revenue is eagerly divided among the studio executives and network. This is further complicated if the anime has been adapted from manga because then the publishing company will receive royalties as well.
In order to maximize their profits, studio executives allot very little salary or budget to the staff behind the anime. This means that key-frame animators have a heavier load on their shoulders, as they are often unable to hire assistants for coloring or other tasks. At first, in-between animators were hired alongside the key-frame animators, but even they were delegated to freelancing and paid significantly less.
What Do Animators Do
Animators work by creating cartoons, usually through hand drawings, motion capture animation, or with computers. In the modern era, most animators use a range of computer programs, though sufficient knowledge of basic animation is still absolutely necessary.
Animation is used for games, films, television shows, and commercials. Animators are often expected to create both 2D and 3D animations using storyboarding, and it’s important to be familiar with a variety of animation programs andRead more
- Design videos for in-person and web audiences.
- Collaborate with teams to understand specifications and create continuity across offerings.
- Use a variety of software to refine, improve, and update videos and create stills for other uses.
Interestanimator In Japan Reveals Their 1st Year Earnings In The Industry
The Animator Dormitory Project runs a YouTube channel, which regularly shares information about labor issues in the anime industry. The latest video breaks down the earnings of a new animator in 2019, which was their first year active in the industry. Their total income for the year was 668,000 yen , which evens out to a monthly average of 74,000 yen .
According to the graph below, the earnings on a month-to-month basis were inconsistent, rarely getting above a few hundred US dollars per month.
They remark that their income might actually be on the higher end as far as first-year animators go. She has often heard that 50,000 yen per month is a typical figure. On the low end, some might make around 30,000 yen per month.
In January 2020, they earned 14,000 yen , which was their lowest pay since becoming an animator. They explain that one of the reasons behind their low earnings in January was that they took time off to be with their family, but also because the payment for large projects can be transferred several months after the job was accepted. “Even with savings, it’s hard to make ends meet like this,” they explain, “which is why freelancers have to factor this in when deciding which jobs to take on.”
The full video is embedded below, and is available with English subtitles. It shares the mundane details of working as an animator, including the work environment and some of the techniques required of the craft.
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Is The Anime Industry Dying
On the contrary! The anime industry is experiencing its largest boom yet. Over the past 50 years, since the advent of animation, anime has grown into a $20 billion industry. It continues to reach new heights, including spreading to countries other than Japan. With large growth comes growing pains, but slowly and surely, the industry is learning to adapt.
One of these adaptions is how audiences view and enjoy anime. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu have changed the entertainment industry for both the good and the better. These platforms, in addition to anime-dedicated platforms such as Crunchy Roll, offer a new way for studios and anime artists to earn revenue from their work.
Its also opened the door for independent animes and webtoons to jump on the bandwagon. Animation software is freely available, and many in-between animators have ditched their tedious work to start animating their own stories. With independent animes, animators earn 100% of the revenue. Some independent animators use their revenue to fund assistants who complete in-between frames.
But for many artists, the dream is what keeps the anime industry alive. Anime fans are hugely devoted to their favorite series as well as their artists, and this devotion is what inspires many to continue to create.
Can I Earn Money From Anime
Your monthly earnings might decrease, but theres a possibility to sustain $81/monthly and turn it into $972/year as long as you bring valuable anime content to your viewers or readers! If youve already established an anime community through your YouTube channel or through your personal blog, then thats even better!
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Increase In Pay Of Anime Animators Asap
- by:;Adnan Raza
Anime industry is on its peak but still it is dying due to low pay of animators and over-work. Anime merch. sales share goes to producers and screenwritere not animators who made the whole thing. On average animators are getting paid $9,648 p.a. including over-work which is a red sign that they barely survive, and still they aren’t paid enough. WE WANT PRODUCERS TO INCREASE THEIR PAY as they don’t negotiate well about their pay. And we anime lovers can feel relaxed that anime production isn’t dying.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it!”
– Denis Gabor
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