Anime series like Shirobako allow anime fans to catch a glimpse into the lives of the animators creating our favorite anime. As that anime has shown, being an animator is hard… really really hard. Yes, these guys are working 11 – 12 hours a day with little to no rest just to make deadlines. However, being overworked is just the tip of the iceberg as a recent report by NHK shows, animators in Japan are also quite under-payed.
A survey made by the Japan Animation Creators Association on 759 animators has shown that animators only make 1.1 million yen per year, and given the high standard of living in Japan, that’s really low. Add that to the fact that these animators are working 11 – 12 hours a day, and that just shows how tough it is working for the anime industry.
NHK also reports that the labor industry in Japan, which of course includes the animation studios, have to compete with the cheap labor in other Asian countries. In fact, some of the anime done by one studio, Toei Animation, is being done in their studio in the Philippines. In fact, some of the backgrounds, key animation, and in-between animation for several Toei anime like One Piece, Sailor Moon Crystal, and the PreCure series, have been outsourced to their Philippine studio.
The survey was requested by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, which means that the issues for the low wages for animators are currently being tackled by the government of Japan. The Japan Animation Creators Association, which did the survey, acknowledged that young animators are the key to the future of the Japanese animation industry, so the government’s involvement in the matter is surely a welcome sight, however, as of the moment, these young animators would still have to have their daily struggle in making a living. So to all the Ema Yasuharas out there, gambatte!