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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.]

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