It’s set up in Japan so that a new invoice system will begin in October 2023, and part of it takes away tax-exempt status from freelancers and sole proprietors. 1,275 people took part in a recent manga industry survey on the matter, and just 17 of the people approved the new system.
A press conference was held by people who don’t like this change to taxes. Mangaka Reon Yutaka pointed out that 98% of people in the survey count as sole proprietors, and 20% are in a position where they might go bankrupt if they lose their tax-exempt status.
While a handful of mangaka become famous and make a lot of money, that’s not true for most. Looking at manga assistants, about a third of them earn between $7,213-$14,425 annually, and about a third earn even less than $7,213. If this continues, famous mangaka and publishers can stay on, but not most creators and artists. Piracy only makes this worse.
Mangaka are also concerned because under the new system, their names will be available publicly. For mangaka who wish to remain anonymous or use pen names, this system could out who they really are.
Masuo Ueda, speaking as a representative director of Skyfall, said that one fourth of freelancers in the anime industry also think they will go out of business.
“People call the anime industry a black industry,” Ueda remarked. “However, in recent years, the industry as a whole has been working to improve the working environment and ensure employee status for animators. However, the reality is that not everyone can be made an employee, and the importance of supporting freelancers will remain unchanged in the future. Forcing freelancers, especially animators, to close their businesses will mean that young people will no longer be able to enter the industry. I fear that the anime industry will be devastated in a few years’ time.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.