The shrinking Japanese market for anime
The Wise Wizard
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Posted 7/3/10 , edited 7/3/10
The problem with anime is Japan is that it has always been most successful with the younger audience, and it is hard fact that audience is getting smaller. Birth rates in Japan are around 1.3 children per woman, which of course means that as most women are part of a couple when they give birth, means a shrinking population, and of course the young are at the leading edge of that decline.

Further, it is likely to get much worse:
http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/handbook/c02cont.htm (Table 2.2, Trends in Population)
A chart giving population percentage under either 18 or 21, but this table that shows it for 15 & under should be representative.

In 1995, 15.9% of the population was 15 or under. By 2004, it was down to 13.9%, and is projected to hit 13.0% this year. By 2020, the projection is for only 10.8% of the population to be under 15.

Total population growth over the past decade has barely inched forward (from 126.87 million in 2000 to 127.7 million in 2008, actually down from a 2006 population of 127.77 million the year before):
http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:JPN&dl=en&hl=en&q=Japan+population

By comparison, population in the U.S. went from 282.17 to 304.06 in the same 2000-2008 time frame, and shows steady upward growth. Per the CIA World Factbook, 20.1% (62.38 million) of our population is 14 or under, while they show 13.3% (16.88 million) for Japan.

To put it another way, if the interest in anime among the youth of the U.S. was at about 1/4 per capita of that of Japan, it would already represent a market as large as Japan. Of course, interest is likely not that high, but this also does not factor in the remainder of the world.


Put in simple terms, the market for anime in Japan is only going to get smaller going forward, which means international sales should become even more important.


I say should, as the numbers do not seem to bear that out, according to one article ( http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6935641.html ) I came across that pointed out that international revenue fell 21% between 2006 and 2009. It also noted that the number of total minutes fell by 20% during the same time period, but that 1% difference still means a slight decline instead of growth.


The following article with information from the Japan External Trade Organization is 5 years old, but contains a substantial amount of interesting (and often worrisome) information:
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-08-10/state-of-animation-industry-in-japan

One of the worrisome items, which may explain the slight decline in international revenue is this:

Almost all of the animation broadcast in South Korea used to be from Japan. South Korea now produces 30% to 40% of the animation on television in their country.
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Posted 7/4/10
So for Anime to continue to be a profitible market for anime makers, it's got to be profitibly exportable. Boy I sure hope the anime Makers see The crunchy model as profitable.

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Posted 7/11/10
Its hard to picture a Japan without anime in the near future. There may be fewer show made, but I doubt it will ever go away.
Posted 8/12/10
At least Hentai will live on, there'll always be a market for it. I agree to the user above me, CR and other similar sites are the way to go for the industry if it's no longer relevant at HQ. It will live on too.
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Posted 8/12/10
I third papagolf on that one.

Also, a lot of young women generally are not into Anime in Japan. They read manga the same way that they would read books sometimes, but it generally is not all that popular among college-age women. It's losing a big audience in Japan.
Posted 8/12/10

angrierchick wrote:

I third papagolf on that one.

Also, a lot of young women generally are not into Anime in Japan. They read manga the same way that they would read books sometimes, but it generally is not all that popular among college-age women. It's losing a big audience in Japan.


to be fair anime it's self is not that big in japan as it used to be, manga, visual novles and light novles. and even drama cd's are more picked up by the female crowd.
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Posted 8/12/10

rabbitofcaerbannog wrote:

Its hard to picture a Japan without anime in the near future. There may be fewer show made, but I doubt it will ever go away.


This.

Ofcourse I have no doubt that all the OP's arguments are correct, but I think an aging population has far deeper reaching impacts than decline in anime sales. There will always be anime because there will always be a market, albeit a shrinking one but it will never be gone completely.

What I don't understand is, judging from the number of audience, the OP is right in the fact that its the younger audience watch most anime in Japan, which explains why stuff like Sazae-san, Doreamon, Konan and One Piece are so popular, whereas here in the west, or anywhere outside of Japan for that matter its the more "adult" (not necessarily hentai) proved to be far more popular with an older audience. I wonder why that is the case?

Maybe the Jap PM need to start "re-educate" the population. Me thinks some hentai will both boost the anime industry as well as raise birth rate...
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Posted 8/12/10

CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:


angrierchick wrote:

I third papagolf on that one.

Also, a lot of young women generally are not into Anime in Japan. They read manga the same way that they would read books sometimes, but it generally is not all that popular among college-age women. It's losing a big audience in Japan.


to be fair anime it's self is not that big in japan as it used to be, manga, visual novles and light novles. and even drama cd's are more picked up by the female crowd.


Does Japan do visual novels aimed at women?
Posted 8/12/10

confuser987 wrote:


CecilTheDarkKnight_234 wrote:


angrierchick wrote:

I third papagolf on that one.

Also, a lot of young women generally are not into Anime in Japan. They read manga the same way that they would read books sometimes, but it generally is not all that popular among college-age women. It's losing a big audience in Japan.


to be fair anime it's self is not that big in japan as it used to be, manga, visual novles and light novles. and even drama cd's are more picked up by the female crowd.


Does Japan do visual novels aimed at women?


well higurashi and umineko count since they horror/mystery clannad was a visual novel at 1st and hmmmm you would have too look around.
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Posted 8/12/10
Of course targeting anime at the younger generation aged 15 and below becomes more of a struggle toward the US (and unless the US gets a series no other english speaking nation will). Children have a set time slot on TV broadcasting, and although anime should very easily become popular, what its classification is wont usually allow it to be broadcast anyway. such series which in Japan would have been aimed at the young teen market, will no doubt be forced into either a watershed period (don't know US systems.. here in UK there is an 8pm watershed after which higher rated programs can be broadcast), or non child specific cable channel.

So as such they don't get much advertising for their age group so to these people little is known about what is available and the following wouldn't matter anyway.

I talk about Broadcasting as when you think about it, not many parents who may disregard the ratings will go to buy the DVDs for the series as it will most likely have a negative impact (might happen once or twice before the realisation sets in), unlike movies where the feature is finished after 2 hours, done, go do something else, an anime series on average is 26 episodes complete, at 25 mins per episode, which is 10 hrs and 50 mins not including disc change over time... that's 10 hrs and 50 mins a child will be insistent on remaining in front of a TV (wont apply to some, but most I know are like that, will always watch something to its end), and they will want to because most anime flows, rather than restrains itself to whole stand alone episodes.

... well I know I was like this when I was that young (remembers a "land before time" movie marathon, was constantly being pestered to get away from the TV to go outside... was even worse when Sky did a pokemon marathon... my parents completely gave up all hope XD

anyways because of the whole broadcasting issue involving classification, we find ourselves with companies like the 4kids monster that destroys the legally obtainable english versions of anime. We wait longer for the re release by the companies that re obtain the licences after they run out.

As for movies like anything Miyazaki created, they WILL sell and are popular with both kids and adults.

So to conclude, anime is really hard to aim at young teens and kids in the US (and english speaking countries) for various reasons, luckly there is a very large following in the US (etc...) of those of us who both fall within the US (etc...) classifications for these said animations and enjoy them as much as the kids they were originally aimed at would, should they have been allowed to watch them... now for THAT target audience, online sites like crunchyroll are the way to go!
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