The animators were starving in Japan…Some really are.

From ANN

Japanese Animators, Directors Establish First Union

…According to JAniCA, a storyboard artist finishes the storyboard of a 30-minute episode in three weeks for 220,000 to 230,000 yen (US$1,900 to US$2,000). That averages to 70,000 yen (US$600) a week, 280,000 yen a month (US$2,400), and 3,360,000 yen (US$28,800) a year, with no vacation. A key animator earns about 3,000 yen (US$25) for one scene, and completes about two scenes of key animation frames in 10 to 15 hours on one day. That averages to 6,000 yen a day (US$50), 180,000 yen a month (US$1,500), and 2,160,000 yen (US$18,400) a year, with no vacation. If any of the workers have family or raise children, then it is impossible to work these hours without days-off. 20% to 30% of all animators earn an annual salary of around 1,000,000 yen (US$10,000), or 6,000 to 10,000 yen (US$500 to US$900) a month…

…late-night television, the Internet, and other new venues, the number of television animation programs produced every year is now about a hundred – a three-fold increase from twenty years ago…

…One 59-year-old had to cut back due to deteriorating physical health, and now subsists on 120,000 yen (US$1,000) a month. Some of the 59-year-old animator’s former colleagues now receive public assistance or are now homeless…

Ray’s take: …I don’t know what to say.

[Editor’s note: for those interested in a discussion you can go to the ANN Forum here at]

[Editor’s note2: find the snap shot of the  excel file for the budget for Bamboo Blade episode 1 here.]

4 thoughts on “The animators were starving in Japan…Some really are.

  1. Me, neither. This doesn’t almost seem possible. But bear in mind that in Asia, most people get paid low wages compare with western countries, especially for industries that don’t have high social status or importance in societal views. We love and some of us adore anime, but in Japan, loving anime is like one of the social taboos (!)

  2. Very interesting blog. I recognize your interest in my aggressive chest I have a joke for you =) What do you need to split an atom? A fission License.

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