Post Reply What does working in the Japanese Animation Industry entail?
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Posted 7/8/13
Since I was in 5th grade, I've pretty much always considered living in Japan and animating as a potential career path.

My mother is native Japanese so I've pretty much been surrounded by everything Japanese all my life, thus influencing my reasons to really want to go and live in Japan.

But going to another country and trying to settle there is a whole different ball game I'm not entirely prepared for considering that I've never done that EVER. Especially, when I want to settle AND find an animation job in an extremely competitive job market.

I've been advised by my Japanese employer who lived in Japan since birth that it would be ideal for me to move to Japan and work for the American company simply because the employee benefits are better and American companies give you a bit more freedom. This is all according to my employer though but she does frequent Japan often and has been living there almost all her life.

Basically if anyone can provide any insight on animation careers and living in Japan, it would be greatly appreciated.
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Posted 7/8/13
I heard it was a stressful environment, given that most work do but the animation and deadlines are more consistent and short. Also there recent years there are short of animators since the pay is really bad.

my 2 cent and 1 F*** lol
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Posted 7/9/13
From what I know about it, unless you are extremely talented you may want to choose a different carreer path.

I'm not saying it's going to be impossible, if you really set your mind and heart to it you may find something but I can tell you in advance that it is not going to be easy.
There's plenty of work in Japan, but getting into the animation industry is hard.
Not only is work in the animation industry highly contested, animators themselves aren't paid well, are treated with monsterous deadlines and have to deal with insane stress levels.
Aside from that, these days Japan has started outsourcing a lot of animation projects to cheaper production countries like China, South-Korea and India which makes it even harder to find a job in that industry.

Especially as non-Japanese, despite your mother's roots.
Posted 7/9/13 , edited 7/9/13
Long hours and low pay if you want to be an actual animator, the burn out rate is high so there is likely a fair bit of churn making it that much more difficult. I don't know about the post production side.
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Posted 7/9/13
I've heard it can actually be a pretty horrible environment. Bad conditions, ridiculous hours. Horrible pay. I'm sure it's different if you are a main person working on a manga like say One Piece, but the chances of that happening are slim. I remember an interview with some mangaka from a few years ago where they explained that it is very much an age hierarchy, and you aren't even allowed to get these decent conditions until you're a certain age.

Honestly, you're better off trying to become an animator in America. There are more and more American cartoons shifting towards an anime style of drawing and from what I hear, it's a far better environment.
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Posted 7/9/13
I think you're better off going to canada or something. Or Korea, LeSean Thomas (Black Dynamite, Legend of Korra etc) went there to get closer to the actual animating
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Posted 7/9/13
As people have said, the conditions for animators traditionally are pretty bad in Japan. Long hours, stressful deadlines, and very low wages (last I heard, the average salary for an in-between animator living in Japan was approx. $15k/year). IIRC, an experienced animator can make between $30k-$50k/yr depending on the studio, but it takes time to get to that point. Japan has also been outsourcing their animation to other Asian countries more frequently in the past 20 years due to the lower cost, which makes it a tougher market for homegrown animators to compete in.

Depending on the studio you work at and the role you're performing, you'd either work in an office or at home. Because of the low pay and high cost of living in Japan, many animators have to supplement their income with a second job (or inversely, animating itself is their second job). It's the sort of work that you do because you're absolutely passionate about sitting at a desk staring at drawings for hours at a time. If you're not already doing that on a daily basis right now, and can't see yourself doing that for months on end, you may not be cut out for it. It's one thing to enjoy the final result, and something totally else to actually create it.

You can learn a bit more about the process from watching the Animation Runner Kuromi OVAs. Most everything else I've heard on news articles over the years that I can't remember where they were from.
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Posted 7/9/13
www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2005-11-02/animator's-salaries
http://www.examiner.com/article/animators-japan-paid-an-average-of-11-600-around-1-million-yen-per-year

Incidentally, working conditions and salary of animators aside, it's also worth noting that the general consensus is that it's very difficult for foreigners to find work in Japan outside of teaching English or at a Japanese branch of a company based in your home country.
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Posted 7/9/13
What everybody else is saying - stressful environment, tired conditions, yadah yadah yadah.

But I say, if you truly want to do that, be sure to be ready. No work life is easy. If it's your passion, if it's really got you goin', and that is what you want to pursue for sure, I say go for it. You should always be willing to trudge through a gruesome path for your dream. I know I am.
Posted 7/9/13 , edited 7/9/13
I don't think Japan is a good choice.

The work environment is very stressful, tiring and brutal. It is a completely different lifestyle and culture, and many things to adapt to. Tokyo for instance is the most expensive place to live in, and not living up to standards is considered very disgraceful.

It is extremely difficult for foreigners to find work outside of a teaching job, so job hunting would be difficult.

And on the whole, Japan is not so accepting of foreigners and is extremely xenophobic and rather racist. Same with Korea. Trust me; I'm half Korean.

You'll have to deal with that as well though you may be treated a bit better since you're mixed; and to be honest it would be even better if you're mixed with white over there.

I think it would be better for you to stay in the States, or go to Canada or even someplace in Europe. On the whole, these places are always more accepting and the work life is not as stressful.
Posted 7/9/13
Being a chicken in a coop forced to lay eggs.
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Posted 7/9/13
wow OP I really feel sorry for you seeing your dream be shat on by how horrible reality is :(
But if it is really what you want to do I would say at least check it out and try like a month of working at it and well if it isn't for you quit.
Good luck!
CaelK 
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Posted 7/9/13 , edited 7/9/13
Honestly, I think you'd get a better answer asking that question to an actual animator. There aren't any cons with any animators as guests in your area, are there?

The only other thing I think I can add are questions that I think anyone in your situation needs to answer. I will apologize if I'm being presumptuous, and in the end this is merely my own personal opinion, but I don't know your circumstances.

What do you hope to achieve in Japan that you can't achieve elsewhere?
Is animating really your calling? Do you honestly know, deep within your heart, that you would do nothing else, and would you be willing to do the lowest form of grunt work there is for it for months on end, and get paid very little?
Can you prove (and how will you prove) that you got what it takes to someone who's trying to smash your dreams to pieces... and can you do it in another language?

For how long you wish to try to achieve your goals, how much would it cost you to live there with a phone and internet, and with transportation, food, and electricity?
How much would it cost you to get to some place you can live indefinitely if things don't work out? (My opinion, this one's the most important - without an exit strategy, you can die on the street. No one wants this.)
How will you get your money to Japan so you can actually use it?
Do you actually have that money, and if not, how can you get it?

You don't have to answer them here, I just think you need to answer them for yourself. Again, I apologize if I'm being too presumptuous here.
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Posted 7/9/13
Might as well do your own animation. Have you seen the Annoying Orange?
That used to be in Youtube. Look it now, it's in Cartoon Network.

Even the squeaky-voice Fred is in Nickelodeon.

Advance from an idea, compete from talent.
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