AEYAC, the nonprofit organization whose role is to support young animators in their careers, held a briefing session on the results of the ‘2016 AEYAC Actual Condition Survey on Young Animators’ Lives’ on 25 February 2017.
The Tough Life of Young Animators
As a part of their supporting activities, AEYAC held an online survey on the living conditions (e.g. form of residence, amount of remittances, etc.) and labor conditions (e.g. earnings, hours of labor, etc.) of animators with up to 3 years of experience. 153 animation professionals answered the survey.
Out of the respondents, 77.1% were 20-24 years old, with 28.8% male and 69.9% female. The results have made it clear that the labor conditions of young anime producers are unstable and their earnings are very low.
Living Conditions: Form of Residence
Living Conditions: Remittances (for those who live alone)
Living Conditions: Have you broken into your savings?
35.9% are living at their parent’s home, and 48.4% are living alone. Out of those who are living alone, 38% are receiving remittances from someone. About 60% of young animators either live at home with their family or are receiving remittances. This means that more than half of them are getting some kind of financial support. Also, 58% of the respondents answered that they are breaking into their savings. This tells us that about 60% of those who do not live at their parents’ home need to dip into their savings to make a living.
Labor Conditions and Careers: Hours of Labor per Day
Labor Conditions and Careers: Earnings (Starting Salary)
Labor Conditions and Careers: Earnings (Average Monthly Salary Over Three Months)
Labor Conditions and Careers: Monthly Salary according to Pay System
|n||Below 20,000 yen||20,000 – 39,999 yen||40,000 – 59,999 yen||60,000 – 79,999 yen||80,000 – 99,999 yen||100,000 – 119,999 yen||120,000 – 139,999 yen||140,000 – 159,999 yen||160,000 – 179,999 yen||180,000 – 199,999 yen||Over 200,000 yen|
|fixed pay + piecework payment||59||3.4||1.7||8.5||20.3||15.3||20.3||10.2||10.2||3.4||1.7||5.1|
|Payment by the hour||1||0||0||0||0||0||100||0||0||0||0||0|
A staggering 17% of animators answered that they work for 10 hours and another 17% for 11 hours per day! The second highest was 15.7% for those who work 13 hours. The results made it clear that 88.2% of the animators worked for over 200 hours per month.
For the ‘Earnings (Starting Salary)’ division, people who answered ‘Below 20,000 yen’ accounted for 23.2% and next came ‘40,000 – 59,999 yen’ which accounted for 21.2%. About 80% of the people earned a starting salary of less than 100,000 yen. The average starting salary for university graduates is said to be from 130,000 yen to 190,000 yen, so compared to this number, animators earn much lower salaries.
Regarding ‘Earnings (Average Monthly Salary in Three Months)’, the highest rate was 17.7% which was for those who earned ‘40,000 – 59,999 yen’. Next came ‘100,000 – 119,999 yen’ which accounted for 15.7%. Although the average salary goes up compared to the starting salary, this is not the case for everyone, and the wages greatly differ amongst the animators.
Looking at the ‘Monthly Salary according to Pay System’ results, the highest rate was 28.2% for the people that earned piecework payments of ‘40,000 – 59,999 yen’ per month. Those who receive ‘fixed pay + piecework payment’, ‘60,000 – 79,999 yen’ and ‘100,000 – 119,999 yen’ both accounted for 20.3%, the highest rate. For ‘fixed pay’, ‘140,000 – 159,999 yen’ occupied the biggest portion of 25%. In regards to the employment system, 92.8% of the respondents were non-regular employees, and most were in an unstable financial condition in which their earnings get higher in proportion to their working amount.
Matsunaga, the director of AEYAC, commented on the survey, ‘From the survey results, we have found out that the reason for the young animators’ low income levels was their pay system, especially the piecework payment system. However, the animators’ earnings get higher in accordance with their years of experience, so the way to earn a stable income is by developing one’s animating skills.’ Yet, many young animators never get the chance to actually create animation pictures within the first three years of their careers, so Matsunaga pointed out, ‘Developing the skills for anime producing is not something one can accomplish on their own, especially without any actual working experience.’
Supporting Activities for Young Animators
At the briefing session, Akiyoshi, the chief director, spoke about AEYAC’s future supporting activities and goals, based on the survey results. Two main plans have been announced. One is to provide training sessions to animators. AEYAC will hold training sessions taught by experienced anime producers, and also provide the opportunity to actually undertake work that will help the young animators improve their skills. AEYAC’s goal is to make young animators’ average wages higher by raising their experience levels. The second plan is to provide financial support such as housing allowances and incentives as medium-and-long term activity. Akiyoshi explained with passion, ‘We would like to offer housing allowances and incentives for those talented and ambitious people who are about to give up their dreams of becoming an animator for financial reasons.’