A Japanese TV show, on May 21, 2022, revealed that the average yearly salary of a Chinese animator is about 5.2 million yen (about $40,700) which is 2.7 times that of a Japanese animator, who earns around 1.9 million yen(about $14,870) a year.
This stat, which was revealed on twitter by user @rurikoat, also went viral.
Since the fact that Japanese animators are underpaid is not a secret, most comments agreed with the Twitter post. Moreover, Jun Arai, a veteran key animator also pitched in and said that he himself faced a similar difference in pay while working on a Chinese title.
He tweeted, “Chinese animation companies really do pay more than in Japan. Last year, when I was asked to supervise the production of an animation by a major Chinese animation company, the price was up to 100 times higher than the Japanese market price.“
As of writing, the original Twitter post by @rurikoat earned over 51000 likes and 12000 retweets attracting comments from many personnel from the anime industry.
On the other hand, certain comments also pointed out that despite Chinese animators being paid fairly if not as high as 5.2 million yen, many of them have migrated to Japan for work.
To this, Arai explains that even though China has recently acquired a place in the animation business, many animators are curious to learn the makings of high-quality Japanese animations. So they come in the hope to learn the techniques or to work on their favorite Japanese childhood anime.
“The reason why Chinese animators work in cheap Japan is the so-called warrior training. They know it’s cheap, and yet they come to study how high-quality Japanese animation is made. Or they want to make my favorite Japanese anime that they saw when they were a kid,” said Arai.
In addition, Twitter user @ansonye also revealed that even if the animators are paid well, China’s political trouble with Japan and its culture gives them the option to migrate there.
“There is a disturbing atmosphere in China’s political environment, especially in industries related to Japanese culture,” said the netizen. “An intelligent person should understand it. On the other hand, Japan is the easiest country to migrate to compared to Europe and the United States.“
An article by Nikkei Asia reported in 2020, that Chinese streaming companies were actively seeking animation expertise in Japan, knowing that their own industry has fallen under tough times.
Previously, Chinese studios used to serve as subcontractors for Japanese companies, but that position have been reversed after the emergence of cash-rich companies in China who introduced digital drawing facilities, hence improving the quality of Chinese anime.