How to Get a Job in Anime Industry in Japan?
Do you love anime or manga? We dream of getting a job in such industry at least one time.
Sometimes Onegai Kaeru team were asked by people living outside of Japan this question "how to get a job in animation company in Japan? How can I find an anime studio in Japan which hires foreigners?".
Well, it is not a easy industry to get into esp. for foreigners due to the work permit and it is also very tough industry to survive.
With this article, we explain how to find and get a job in anime industry in Japan and also the list of recruitment page/contacts of the key anime production companies in Japan. Do not miss it!
How hard to get a anime job?
If you meet some big anime production companies, you learn it is so hard to get a job there. 50-100 applicants for one opening at a popular big anime company.
But here is a dilemma. If you meet small and medium size anime production companies, they say there is not enough worker.
Why? When you search for animator job, you search online, right (unless you are student at anime college and go to the job search office for the offers from potential employers )? You see most of the job offers are from the companies which are not anime production companies but those which own the character rights and only want to produce some merchandise (toys, pen or so), or are the game companies which made good money enough to create animation based on their game characters. These companies have big money to spend to push their job offer info to your eyes.
This way, the job offers from "old and traditional" (small and medium sized) anime production companies do not often come out on your online job search.
How many anime companies in Japan?
There are around 700 anime related companies in Japan. Most of them are in the western Tokyo area. Many of them do not recruit at a particular season and also may not have website even. Therefore, for the anime job seekers, it becomes so hard to find a job information and many only find a big anime production company information and so many try to rush into them.
So how to find a job?
Our recommendation is you need to work hard to find the anime production information first:
1) check carefully the end credit of the anime you love. There are always the names of the anime production companies.
2) you need to read wikipedia and online info of animation you watch.
3) once you find, you call them or write them (even though there is not a website or the website with no HR section)
The popular and big anime productions are very tough to get a job. You should apply but do not get disappointed even if you did not get the job. You can always climb up.
How much anime job pays in Japan?
How much does the job pay? It is something we do not dare to ask much but probably the most important and critical question.
The answer is "unfortunately not much".
We see some articles from the 2016 research paper of AEYAC (a NGO to protect rights of animator in Japan) that more than half (53%) of animators in Japan, as AEYAC questioned, cannot live with the salary as animator thus their family support them. 35% lives with their parents. More than 50% commute for 30 mins to work and 14% commute for 1-1.5 hours to work. 33% of animators are paying back the student loans.
Wikipedia article even says around 90% of animators quit in the first year due to poverty. The average working hour is 18 hours a day (2 days a week with no sleep) and the pay is 20,000-30,000JPY (160-250USD) per month (!). 25 % of animator earns less than 1mil JPY (9000USD) per year. We hope this is not 100% true.
Why is the payment so low? One reason is that there are many middle companies in the anime industry which take significant margins leaving so little for animators who work on the field.
It is not easy world. It is the job you do with passion. And if you are a foreigner, you also have the visa/work permit issue. You need the employer to sponsor your visa. The issue is that when you want to change the job, you are better if you can find the job before you quite so that the new employer can support your visa.
We see this industry as the same as artists'. Most of the artists are just surviving or doing as a hobby because they can not live with doing art. To be able to life nicely, she/he must climb up the ladder from the very bottom to the top by establishing her/his name and setting up their own company. (There were some exceptions where the kid of a famous anime producer/creator has a short cut such as Goro Miyazaki (a son of Hayao Miyazaki))
In sum, you need to be the owner (or one of the owners) of anime production company. To do so, you must have a lot of passion, creativity, social skill and business sense.
But why Animator SAlary so low?
In Japan, it is common to form a "committee (called 製作委員会/Seisakuiinkai)" to make an animation movie/series. It means that several big companies with a big money e.g. cinema company, publisher, advertisement agency form and invest to form a committee which subcontract the animation production to an animation production company which further subcontract to small animation production companies or freelancers.
The committee owns the commercial rights and keeps the sales from the hit animation movies and does not share with the production companies. Even there are animation blockbusters, the money does not go to the production side.
there are some job seminars
[ the below article is published in 2014. The seminar ended.]
We are not experts of the industry but we would like to introduce one seminar which was held in Tokyo, Japan in May. The seminar was finished already. But there are many seminars like this in Japan.
The Association of Japanese Animations, AJA, announced today that the association will host a seminar for those who are interested in the animation industry.
The lecturers will talk about the animation industry esp. roles of 2D works, 3 works, the difference from other industry, job of editing and post production etc.
The details of the seminar:
Date/time: 24th May, 2014(Sat)/13:00( start) - 14:30
Available seat number: 40 current students or teachers of animation industry
Address: 4F Akihabara UDX, 4-14-1 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0021
Lecturer: Kiichiro Inoue, CG director from Sunrise
Akio Nakagwa, Editor from Studio Gallop
To apply for this seminar, you need to send the following application email to this mail of the AJA:
There are several requirements for this email content. And all must be written in Japanese (As there was no English info, this is our guess)
1) The email title must be: " アニメ業界デジタルワークスセミナー参加希望 " (this means "Request to join the Animation industry digital works seminar")
2) your name (and how to read your name)
4) name of your school
5) What do you want to ask the lecturers
The deadline is 23rd of May (FRI), 2014
There are only 40 seats available and you may not be able to get a seat.
The seminar shall be in Japanese and you need a good Japanese communication skill.
Recruit sections of major anime productions in Japan
Are you ready to apply or look for a job in anime industry? Then, start now!
Studio Ghibli: Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli announces their job opening here. (quite rare to see one though)
"The" animation house of Japan
As our Japan Anime job member knows, after Hayao Miyazaki announced to create the last long animation movie, the studio received a lot of applications from overseas. The paper screening is over and the actual work test starts in September, 2017. Good luck for all! (Updated in Aug, 2017)
Kyoto Animation: the recruitment page (in Japanese)
the company of A Silence Voice
the company of Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Production I.G. : the recruitment page (in Japanese)
the company which makes Ghost in the Shell
General question: email@example.com
Studio Khara: the recruitment page (in Japanese)
The owner, Hideai Anno, famous for evangelion
For example, the details of recruitment for 2018 shown in this PDF (in Japanese) Payment is "performance based"
Contact: HR department
Sunrise: the recruitment page (in Japanese)
the company of Gundam series
ufotable: the company's recruitment page
HR contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A-1 Pictures: the company's recruitment page
the company which produced RahXephon andWolf's Rain
Tatsunoko Production: Here is the recruitment section of the Tatsunoko production
Here is a quite useful link of anime studios in Japan for your further research.
Note: the recruitment page does not only show anime production job but admin or sale etc. as well. if you are not really serious, better not to contact, otherwise you and the company will waste their time.
Share your knowledge
Do you know a better way to find a Job in anime industry? You can share and communicate with the readers on the comment sections below.
OK Agent support
Many asked us if a foreigner has a chance to be in the anime industry, the answer is that you have a chance as long as "you are good".
( In fact many animations are made outside Japan as outsourced to such as South Korea and China for cheaper cost. )
If you have a great work, we can be your OK agent as your business partner to push your work to the world with professional translation, coordination with the industry.
But remember the industry is super tough for even Japanese to survive. Even you could get a job, the income maybe too low. Most of the animators give up.
Japanese Job Support for you
We help you with your search of the job in Japan.
We bring your creation to Japan. We can check your CV for translation as service.
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Source: AEYAC, Wikipedia
Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source.