A Japanese website called President.jp posted an article called “The seriousness of “Japan-China reversal” progressing in animation production” in which he discusses how Japanese animators are now preferring to work for Chinese animation industry because of better work environment and better pay.
The reporter, Rei Nakafuji in his article mentions that “According to China’s job offering websites, the annual salary for the animators is 520,000 yen, while in Japan, the monthly income is 175,000 yen (which is higher than industry average).
Rei Nakafuji further went to a Japanese division of Chinese animation studio where he describes his experience as:
“It is a building in a residential area in Machida City in Tokyo. I took the elevator to the fifth floor and entered a room. There I found multiple men and women using drawing tools and an electronic tablet. What I am describing to you is an animation studio called Colored Pencil Animation Japan . In fact, among the projects they were doing could be seen parts of a series titled The King’s Avatar. That’s right, Colored Pencil Animation Japan is the Japanese division of a Chinese animation studio, which was established in 2018.“
“ Recently, the number of Chinese companies establishing a division in Japan to hire Japanese animators is increasing at a very high rate. Popularity of anime is on the rise in China but the restrictions on the distribution of content outside of Japan are becoming more severe, and people started to stop consuming anime in China around 2018. In response to that, distribution companies who wanted to expand their content took steps to now produce their own series, in essence ‘Chinese series with Japanese animation’ ».
Main reason why Chinese companies are able to hire Japanese animators is because they are providing better working condition, a stress free enviroment and better compesation for their work. Daisuke Iijima, who researches animation industry trends, commented: “ For China, whose market is expanding, there is a need for Japanese animators. Being able to pay three times the salary that Japan offers, it is not surprising that the Japanese prefer to work there, causing a massive brain drain“
CEO of Colored Pencil Animation Japan, Fumijiro Eguchi, said:” Our priority is to improve the working conditions of animators, with the aim that they do not think to work for Japan and retain their talents.” Behind all this phenomenon is the undeniable reality: the salaries of Japanese animators in Japan are very low. The animation industry has sometimes boasted of being ‘functional’, but appalling working conditions and low wages show another reality.
You can read the full article on the website president.jp but it is a paid subsciption article.