Website Washi’s Blog also has a helpful explanation of the different productions and how they fit into the process.

This survey is for 2015, so 2018 might be slightly different. Over 750 people participated in the survey, with a nearly 60 to 40 percent breakdown between men and women. Via Yaraon!, All Nationz and 4chan, here are the results of the industry survey.

Series Director

Chief Animation Director


Character Designer

Animation Director

3DCG Animator

Episode Director


Art Director (Background Art)

Color Designer


Production Assistant

Key Animator

Inbetween Checker

Layout Artist/Rough Keyart

Paint Staff

2nd Key Animation/Clean-Up

Inbetween Staff

The top positions, such as a series director, make a good salary, but if you compare that paycheck to what a television series director gets or what a Hollywood filmmaker makes, it’s significantly less.


More disconcerting is how when you move down the scale, there are people who aren’t even making minimum wage. According to Mainichi News, Tokyo, where many anime studios are located, has the highest minimum wage in Japan (it varies by location) at 907 yen ($8.18) per hour. So, compared to the lower-paying anime jobs, you could easily make more working minimum wage. That’s depressing.

If that’s too abstract, NHK did a story on animator wages, putting them in concrete terms.


Animators are paid about 200 yen ($1.80) per drawing.


It’s possible to do up to 20 drawings a day.


For a monthly takehome salary of 107,833 yen ($972).


Each workday is 11 hours long with around four days off.

Damn. It’s even more disheartening when you realize that more anime is being made than ever before, yet there are people in the industry who don’t even earn a living wage.


This article was originally published on May 5, 2016. It has since been updated.