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Underpaid and Overworked: Being an Animator in Japan

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What is your take on this video below? Do you think Animators deserve more recognition about their work as well as have a better work condition?

Is being an animator in Japan the least paid job and how it's compared to an animator living outside of Japan? Share your thoughts below...

 

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14 hours ago, Muco said:

Do you think Animators deserve more recognition about their work as well as have a better work condition?

Is being an animator in Japan the least paid job and how it's compared to an animator living outside of Japan? Share your thoughts below...

 


It's kinda tough. Because animation does require a lot of hours to make. So cutting down their working hours would result in less anime being released or shorter episodes. They also seem not to mind it. Based on what she said.

But it's not healthy to work 7 days a week for 12 hours daily. The human body won't be able to take it eventually.

I also did some informal research, and no Japanese animators are not the lowest paid:

1. $6,000 monthly American animators
2. $1,666 monthly Korean animators
3. $800 monthly Japanese animators
4. $600 monthly Chinese animators
5. $300 monthly Filipino animators

I guess that's why Japan outsources the animation to other countries nowadays.

But it is shocking that a part-time job of a highschool student pays more than that of a full-time professional animator. (In Japan)

I think the solution is for anime to just make more money. According to her, anime companies have small budgets hence they can't afford to pay much. I guess if they bring in more profit they can have bigger budgets and hopefully some of that budget would go to salaries for the animators.

 

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Ive heard about it before. And they brought up most people in Japan don't get paid that much. As the way they see it is you can work in a office all day. Or you can work in a office all day drawing anime.  Theres a really high demand for voice actors though, so they get paid more.  Theres really nothing we can do about it. Only japan can fix the problem. 

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I mean...there's more factors to pay output than just the quantity of hours...supply and demand, the perceptive value of the work they're doing, etc.  I'm not sure I really find this all that concerning.  They are people with the power to change what the value of their work is - they just aren't.

Bargaining for labor costs...I was under the impression the Japanese wouldn't see that as a foreign concept.

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1 hour ago, Serge heartless said:

America had kind of the same problem, they were under paying writers, until they went on strike. 

That's exactly what I mean.  They have the power to change the cycle, but just don't.  I'd make a Korea joke, but I'm not sure anyone would get it.  Bottom line is, there's a precedent for things to change, those who don't invoke that change are damned and deserve to stay in the stagnation of their own plight.

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You can't really compare Japan to a country like USA or other western countries. Anime industry had little to no changes in terms of work conditions within all these years, thus it's hardly possible to change it now, all of a sudden. Take for example, game developers (who share some similarities as animators in japan), it's a job solely driven by passion. If you really wanted to make a good living out of coding, wouldn't you work in a job-field with a better salary and with the assurance of staying in the company for another couple years. Job contracts for game devs usually go for as long as the project lasts.

It was also mentioned and explained in the video why a change is difficult to be made - watch from here on wards.

I have found this on reddit and can agree upon many points he stated below:

Quote

It's been that way from the very start. During the production of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka really couldn't afford to pay his animators very much. The budget was just too low and the profit too small. This basically set a precedent for the entire industry and now the suffering of animators has basically become ingrained into the industry. If you try to be the studio that makes a change, then you'll probably just bankrupt yourself (unless you're Kyoani). It really doesn't help that Japan has a culture of "suck it up and work harder", either.

 

Edited by Muco

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5 hours ago, Muco said:

Take for example, game developers (who share some similarities as animators in japan), it's a job solely driven by passion. If you really wanted to make a good living out of coding, wouldn't you work in a job-field with a better salary and with the assurance of staying in the company for another couple years. Job contracts for game devs usually go for as long as the project lasts.

I agree that it can't just change, but this point here is not exclusive to "just Japan" nor is it exclusive to "just Anime" or "just Gaming."  You are working in a market that has known value depreciation and poor pay.  So you're doing it out of passion.  Okay...that's fine.  Then you're placing the passion of your job over the importance of your pay.  I enjoy toying with audio all day, but no one is going to be paying me a reasonable amount of money to do that.  I'm sorry, but the animators have a choice: stay in and do work of passion even though it doesn't pay anything or; make a business decision and go with another route until conditions in the field improve.

It's almost as if they're saying "I wanna work at Amazon, because Amazon is cool - even though they get garbage pay and treat their employees bad."  Then they turn around "omg, this job is terrible, but I'll do it anyway."  

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I'd like to throw out there that those salaries are meaningless as is. Without any real knowledge of cost of living for those animators per country (or even per region of a country) they are just numbers. For instance, East coast vs West Coast in cost of living in the States is VERY different. Ridiculously different (I imagine bad tax laws and other bad legislation is to blame). Throwing out numbers like it means the same no matter where you go doesn't work.

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Well as far as I can judge, this seems to be normal in Japan and thus a generel problem in japanese society. They just have a sick understanding of duty and honor together with sick social constraints, restrictions and demands. I ve watched some documentations about word in Japan and they said, that its normal to have far more than 100 hours overtime per month and that some people in the government trie to introduce a legal maximum, but they couldnt get it lower than 100 hours per month. Above that, the companys have to pay penalties, but it is still sick. To imagine, that all the animes we watch are made under such conditions, is not very amusing and considering that most anime arent even done very well and very expensive to buy, is ehm...it would hardly work out in a "normal" way I think^^ But that is a japanese problem and we cant do anything about it anyways, the same nobody else can solve problems in your country. So close your eyes and join the blind I guess

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Take aaaaaaaallll of this with a grain of salt, because it may not be accurate. I was just trying to get a basic idea of pay in Japan. I am not certain how accurate these are, but if anyone else has legit sources, please correct me! I'm certainly not an authority on this.


Cost of living in Japan:

17.99% higher than the US (this varies, they're using averages for both countries.)
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Japan

I couldn't find what a reasonable amount for weekly food expenses would be.

US to Yen conversion:

$300 is approx. 32,763.40/month

https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?From=USD&To=JPY


Typical salary (again, this is I guess an average.) According this website the average salary is 684,471/month
http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=107&loctype=1

684,487-32,763= 651,724

That's a pretty wide gap, if these numbers are accurate.

Edited by Blue Dragon
Ugh, posted wrong link for one of the sources

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There are way to many unknown variables that cannot be added into the equation to find the correct answer. As I look over the market sales for anime and find that its (as of 2017 sourced through the AJA I cannot believe that a billion dollar industry doesn't take care of their artists. My guesses (and this is just a guess) lie in portfolio exposure, length of time in the industry as well as possible over saturation leading to some of the instances of lower pay. Without having other artists points of view and empirical data (Which I'm too lazy to google down) its hard to have a honest discussion in the first place. I sincerely empathize with her plight but her situation isn't unique just in Japan or to her.

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On 11/14/2019 at 5:22 AM, Oakmi said:

There are way to many unknown variables that cannot be added into the equation to find the correct answer. As I look over the market sales for anime and find that its (as of 2017 sourced through the AJA I cannot believe that a billion dollar industry doesn't take care of their artists. My guesses (and this is just a guess) lie in portfolio exposure, length of time in the industry as well as possible over saturation leading to some of the instances of lower pay. Without having other artists points of view and empirical data (Which I'm too lazy to google down) its hard to have a honest discussion in the first place. I sincerely empathize with her plight but her situation isn't unique just in Japan or to her.

well maybe it is a billion dollar industry BECAUSE they dont care for their artists^^ Like the chinese industry can offer products so cheap only because of the horrible working conditions and payments

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On 11/4/2019 at 7:24 AM, Beocat said:

I'd like to throw out there that those salaries are meaningless as is. Without any real knowledge of cost of living for those animators per country (or even per region of a country) they are just numbers. For instance, East coast vs West Coast in cost of living in the States is VERY different. Ridiculously different (I imagine bad tax laws and other bad legislation is to blame). Throwing out numbers like it means the same no matter where you go doesn't work.

I'm assuming you were referring to the salaries I posted?

I understand you need to know the cost of living to determine if the salary is high enough for that country/region.

But I merely wanted to point out that, contrary to popular belief, Japanese animators are not the lowest paid in the world.

And using a common currency for comparison would achieve that.

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I'm more interested in knowing what the production value and impact is of anime shows in Japan to the overall GDP of Japanese economy.  It surely can't be that high.  Thus I'd find it reasonable that one would call the salary "mediocre."

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