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Working Conditions In The Anime Industry

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The Japan Animation Creators Association has released the results of a recent study on working conditions in the anime industry.

Around 1,500 people were sent questionnaires, and the association received replies from 382 individuals. Out of those 57.6 percent were men and 41.4 percent were women. The average age was 39 years old, with the average for men being 42 years old and the average for women being 35 years old.

Out of those who replied, 97.6 percent were Japanese citizens and 1.6 percent were citizens of other countries and 0.8 percent did not disclose their citizenship. Out of those polled, the average years of experience was 16.3 years.

As NHK reports, the questionnaire polled them about their salaries, working hours, days off and more. Have a look at some of the results below. Some of the answers are compared with previous surveys.

Top Five Anime Gigs/Projects

1. TV Series - 78.8 percent (88.4 percent in 2015)

2. Anime Feature Films - 54.2 percent (44.7 percent in 2015)

3. Video Games - 23.8 percent (44.1 percent in 2015)

4. Commercials/Ads - 14.4 percent (12.4 percent)

5. Promotion Videos (such as music videos) - 11.5 percent (12.7 percent in 2017)

6. Videos/DVD - 11 percent (30.2 percent in 2015)

7. TV specials - 10.5 percent (11.9 percent in 2015)

The top five most popular places where anime industry workers live are:

1. Tokyo - 76.2 percent

2. Kanto (outside Tokyo) - 12.3 percent

3. Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc) - 4.5 percent

4. Kyushu - 1.6 percent

4. Chubu (Central Japan) - 1.6 percent

5. Chugoku region (Hiroshima, Shimane, Tottori, etc) - 1 percent

Average Annual Salary - 4,408,000 yen or $40,000 (3,328,000 yen or $30,000 in 2015; 2,552,000 yen or $23,000 in 2009). Here is how that breaks down by age:

Ages 20 - 24: 1,546,000 yen or $14,000 (1,210,000 yen or $11,000 in 2015; national average for this age 2,620,000 yen or $24,000)

Ages 25-29: 2,457,000 yen or $22,000 (2,340,000 yen or $21,000 in 2015; national average is 3,610,000 yen or $33,000)

Ages 30-34: 3,652,000 yen or $33,000 (3,270,000 yen or $29,000 in 2015; national average is 4,070,000 yen or $37,000)

Ages 35-39: 5,111,000 yen or $46,000 (3,730,000 yen or $34,000 in 2015; national average is 4,420,000 yen or $40,000)

Ages 40-44: 5,207,000 yen or $47,000 (4,470,000 yen or $40,000 in 2015; national average is 4,680,000 yen or $42,000)

Ages 45-49: 5,298,000 yen or $48,000 (5,040,000 yen or $45,000 in 2015; national average is 4,960,000 yen or $45,000)

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Average Hours Worked (Daily) - 9.66 hours (11.03 hours in 2015; 10.5 hours in 2009)

Under 8 hours - 33.7 percent

Between 8 and 10 hours - 37.7 percent

Between 10 and 12 hours - 20.9 percent

Between 12 and 14 hours - 4.5 percent

Between 14 and 16 hours - 2.4 percent

Over 16 hours - 0.5 percent

No Reply - 0.3 hours

Average Hours Worked (Monthly) - 230.97 hours (262.6 in 2015; approximately 273 hours in 2009)

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Average Number of Days Off (Per Month) - 5.4 days (4.63 days in 2015; 4.01 days in 2009; 3.7 days in 2005)

4 Days Off - 23.9 percent

8 Days Off - 22.9 percent

6 - 7 Days Off - 18.9 percent

5 Days Off - 16.9 percent

Less Than 3 Days Off - 16.9 percent

No Reply - 0.6 percent

Type of Employment:

Freelance - 50.5 percent (37.7 percent in 2015)

Self-Employed - 19.1 percent (14.9 percent in 2015)

Company Employee - 14.7 percent (15.5 percent in 2015)

Contract Employee - 6 percent (23.1 percent in 2015)

Other - 4.5 percent (4.5 percent in 2015)

No Reply - 2.6 percent (0 percent in 2015)

Company Executive - 2.1 percent (1.1 percent in 2015)

Part-Time - 0.5 percent (0.7 percent in 2015)

Temp staff - 0 percent (0.3 percent in 2015)

Work Location:

Production Company - 68.3 percent (90.6 percent in 2015)

Home - 27.2 percent (7.1 percent in 2015)

Other - 3.9 percent (2 percent in 2015)

No Reply - 0.5 percent (0 percent in 2015)

Out of those polled, 63.4 percent said they wanted to continue working in the anime industry as long as they can.

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The next popular responses were 7.1 percent saying they hadn’t thought about what’s next for them as an animator, while 6 percent said they’d like to work in the industry for up to two years and then find another line of work. Similarly, 5.5 percent said they’d like to get another job in the next five to ten years, while 4.5 percent said they’d like to get one in the next two to five years.

In case you missed it, Kotaku previously reported how anime salaries breakdown by job.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.