It’s tough carving out a living as an animator in Japan. Many young animators only make 1.1 million yen ($10,340) a year, work long hours with little days off, and face high-cost of living due to most studios being located in Tokyo.
Non-profit organizations like Animator Dormitory and AEYAC accept donations from fans to help lessen the financial strain young animators face, but they can only help a handful a year. Animator Katsunori Shibata is hoping to bring more awareness to the financial difficulties freelance animators face through his own fundraising campaign.
Shibata created a campaign on Campfire with the goal to raise 110,000 yen ($1,002) to split among three animators via a Twitter lottery. As of this writing, he’s managed to raise 648,000 yen ($5,923). The campaign still has 28 days before closing!
Shibata has worked as a key animator on A Certain Magical Index, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Mawaru Penguindrum. He says many freelance animators struggle to make 1.06 million yen ($9,657) a year despite working 11 hours a day, six days a week.
He also notes that the current work environment doesn’t help foster talent, since no correction or guidance is given to freelance artists. Shibata warns that growing top staff (like directors or screenwriters) while ignoring the bottom staff (like in-between artists) will only lead to a collapse.
Shibata hopes his fundraiser will raise enough awareness about the situation and will spark a conversation about how to improve the work conditions for freelance artists, who make up the majority of an art staff.
You can visit the campaign on Campfire The site does not accept donations outside of Japan, but they hope to bring that feature in the future.