Otaku USA Magazine
Newbie Animator Hourly Wage: Around One Dollar

A newbie animator in Japan gets paid around 120 yen – that’s one, yes, one dollar – an hour.

That’s the word from animator and character designer Sachiko Kamimura (City Hunter, Arslan) in a recent blog post where she appeals for the industry to change its ways.

Kamimura writes “after seeing so many new animators unable to eat and slowing wasting away, I feel like something must be done.”

The problem, Kamimura writes, is animators are paid not on a fixed monthly or hourly salary, but for each completed drawing.

Twenty years ago it might’ve been possible to draw enough frames to earn a decent living, she writes, but that’s impossible with the style of today’s anime, which requires more delicate lines.

She estimates that people with high skill who cut down their sleep and take no vacations can draw about 500 frames a month, earning far less than Tokyo’s minimum wage of 888 yen ($7.50) an hour.

In her appeal to the industry, Kamimura argues without decent wages, newbie animators are forced to drop out of the industry, which ultimately compromises the quality of anime.

Source: Kamikura’s blog via Xavier Bensky

More animator stories:

The Animator Wage Discussion Continues
An American Animator in Tokyo
Miyazaki Blames Otaku Animators for Anime Decline
Takahiko Abiru Interview
Anime! Real vs. Dream: In-Depth Review

Matt Schley

Matt Schley (rhymes with "guy") lives in Tokyo, and has been OUSA's "man in Japan" since 2012. He's also written about anime and Japanese film for the Japan Times, Screen Daily and more.