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Working in the Anime Industry: A Struggle
The Japanese Animation Creators Association just recently released the results of a survey taken in 2015 of over 750 different people working in the Anime industry in Japan. Coming from an American standpoint, where our entertainers are paid staggering amounts of money, you might think it would be similar for Anime creators, considering how popular the medium is. You'd be wrong. Here's a collected set of averages from Kotaku that shows the median salary for each different position in the creation of anime. Series Director Average Age: 42 years old Average Monthly Salary: 540,833 yen ($5,036) Average Yearly Salary: 6,490,000 yen ($60,437) Chief Animation Director Average Age: 43 years old Average Monthly Salary: 470,000 yen ($4,378) Average Yearly Salary: 5,640,000 yen ($52,521) Producer Average Age: 39 years old Average Monthly Salary: 451,667 yen ($4,206) Average Yearly Salary: 5,420,000 yen ($50,471) Character Designer Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 425,000 yen ($3,958) Average Yearly Salary: 5,100,000 yen ($47,491) Animation Director Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 327,500 yen ($3,045) Average Yearly Salary: 3,930,000 yen ($36,602) 3DCG Animator Average Age: 34 years old Average Monthly Salary: 320,000 yen ($2,980) Average Yearly Salary: 3,840,000 yen ($35,764) Episode Director Average Age: 41 years old Average Monthly Salary: 316,667 yen ($2,949) Average Yearly Salary: 3,800,000 yen ($35,391) Storyboarder Average Age: 49 years old Average Monthly Salary: 310,000 yen ($2,887) Average Yearly Salary: 3,720,000 yen ($34,647) Art Director (Background Art) Average Age: 35 years old Average Monthly Salary: 285,000 yen ($2,655) Average Yearly Salary: 3,420,000 yen ($31,864) Color Designer Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 278,333 yen ($2,593) Average Yearly Salary: 3,340,000 yen ($31,120) Cinematographer Average Age: 34 years old Average Monthly Salary: 265,833 yen ($2,476) Average Yearly Salary: 3,190,000 yen ($29,723) Production Assistant Average Age: 30 years old Average Monthly Salary: 257,000 yen ($2,394) Average Yearly Salary: 3,090,000 yen ($28,788) Key Animator Average Age: 36 years old Average Monthly Salary: 235,000 yen ($2,189) Average Yearly Salary: 2,820,000 yen ($26,271) Inbetween Checker Average Age: 35 years old Average Monthly Salary: 217,500 yen ($2,026) Average Yearly Salary: 2,610,000 yen ($24,314) Layout Artist/Rough Keyart Average Age: 38 years old Average Monthly Salary: 195,000 yen ($1,817) Average Yearly Salary: 2,340,000 yen ($21,800) Paint Staff Average Age: 26 years old Average Monthly Salary: 162,000 yen ($1,509) Average Yearly Salary: 1,950,000 yen ($18,167) 2nd Key Animation/Clean-Up Average Age: 27 years old Average Monthly Salary: 93,333 yen ($870) Average Yearly Salary: 1,120,000 yen ($10,434) Inbetween Staff Average Age: 24 years old Average Monthly Salary: 92,500 yen ($862) Average Yearly Salary: 1,110,000 yen ($10,340) The people at the top of the pyramid make the most; that's something we can understand universally. However, even at the highest salary, the numbers still pale in comparison to what series directors would be receiving here in the States. It only gets more depressing as you go down the list, where some of these positions mean that these employees are making less than minimum wage. Considering the amount of work and pressure these people are under, it's a little disheartening to see how little they earn for their efforts. So, maybe rethink your foray into the industry for now...