Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't quit your day job if you're a Japanese voice actor

by Chris MaGee

By and large people don't get involved in the arts to get rich (they certainly don't get into film blogging to get rich, that's for sure!), but I find it really sad to hear about just how difficult it is for the vast majority of Japanese animators to make ends meet. Of course I'm not talking about your Hayo Miyazaki's or Mamoru Oshii's. I'm talking about your everyday, battling it out in the trenches animators. Hell, according to the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), the union that represents animators, even veteran artists have to scrape by on as little as $30,000 a year.

Keeping that it mind it saddened me even further to read this story posted at DarkDiamond.net (who picked it up from Anime News Network) about how only 10% of seiyū or Japanese voice actors can actually make a living at their profession while the others have to end up taking part-time jobs just to pay the bills. Even with those discouraging numbers there are still young people anxious to give voice to their favorite anime characters, like the students above who attend the Yoyogi Animation Gakuin Yokohama, one of nearly 50 anime vocational schools in Japan.

So does the old adage of "don't quit your day job" apply to the internationally popular medium of Japanese animation? Unfortunately it sounds like it. Gee thanks, Economic Down Turn!

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