Japan's Anime Industry Feels Competitive Pressure

Yuka Hayashi/The Wall Street JournalAs the West’s love of anime, Japan’s stylized animation, grows with hip culture types, Japan’s industry is struggling. The Wall Street Journal reports that anime workers are unhappy, toiling long hours at low pay and feeling the competitive pressure from studios in China and South Korea.

Japan’s negative birth rate has driven many small shop studios into animated soft porn and violent movies targeted at adult audiences.

Morale is low. Industry executives estimate nine out of 10 new workers quit within three years, with the many talented employees leaving for better-paying jobs in areas like videogames. A survey conducted this year for industry executives showed that animators in their 20s made just 1.1 million yen ($11,000) a year on average, while those in their 30s earned 2.1 million yen.