Artist Warns Foreigners NOT to Move to Japan to Work in Anime Because of Painfully Low Paychecks

A Japanese animator has completely rejected the idea of foreigners moving to Japan to work in anime for one crucial reason.

Terumi Nishii, whose major credits include “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” and “A Town Where You Live,” explained her side on her second Twitter account, which reportedly functions as her primary connection to international otakus.


For the record, Nishii does not oppose internationalization, a phenomenon some citizens have actively rallied against.

Instead, she discourages foreigners from making the decision, as anime workers — like many of Japan’s employees — have been suffering from overwork.

“No matter how much you like anime, it is not advisable to come to Japan and participate in anime work,” Nishii wrote in a tweet. “Because the animation industry is usually overworked.”

“Japanese animation is surprisingly low budget. But the quality is high. That is because they have low wages and work long hours. Even if it is impossible, the budget will not go up,” she added.

Nishii reportedly started as a rank-and-file animator. For the long hours she had put, she made a measly 2,800 yen ($25) on her first paycheck.

After her first year, that figure rose to 60,000 to 100,000 yen ($537 to $896), but such remains meager considering that the minimum wage in Tokyo is 985 yen ($8.80) per hour. And still, her promotion to character designer later did not improve her working conditions.

Nishii pointed out that in order to survive, many animators rely on their parents’ money. For context, a 2016 survey conducted by the Young Animators Assistance Council revealed that 35% of employees with less than three years of experience still lived with their parents, while another 18% who lived by themselves still relied on some form of allowance.

“Japanese anime has nothing like royalty or revenue sharing for character designers. The material we drew is collected and discarded,” Nishii wrote.

For such issues that have long crippled workers in the industry, Nishii believes that foreign capital may provide a boost. Additionally, she anticipates a generational shift as more Japanese animators work with foreign talent.

For now, Nishii does her part in making change: she has worked on character designs for “Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac,” a reboot of the same title releasing on Netflix. Check out the trailer below:


Featured Images via Twitter / @Nishiiterumi1

Related Posts

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: