Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lean Times for Japanese Animators

The L.A. Times published this piece (,0,7946983.story) about the low wages animators in Japan earn ($10,000 a year on average -- and, having been to Tokyo a couple of times, I can attest that you can't live very well there on $10,000 a year) and the trend toward outsourcing. There's not much new about this news: Animators have likely been making low wages there for decades; and I heard back in the '80's that Japanese studios were outsourcing to Korea the animation that American animation companies outsourced to Japan.

What is news is the threat this poses to the industry's future. Both outsourcing and low wages are shrinking the number of experienced animators. (I suspect that the number of anime artists who can do completely hand-drawn animation -- as opposed to the computer ink-and-paint process that has been in place since the 1990's -- is shrinking as well.)

I wonder if at some point Japan will change its economic model for anime. It needs to take the money all the ancillary merchandising makes for the rights owners and channel more of that yen to the folks who create the actual animation.

No comments: