There’s no shortage of anime protagonists whose defining trait is inexhaustible positivity and vitality. As real-world human beings, though, the anime professionals who produce that animation only have so much mental and physical energy, and an industry survey is once again shining a light on a work culture in which those resources can become dangerously depleted.
The Japan Animation Creators Association, also known as JAniCA, conducts annual surveys of working conditions in the anime industry. Wanting to investigate the health issues its members face, inquiries about mental and physical well-being were added to the most recent iteration. Responses from 429 anime workers were collected, and when the replies were tallied, the association found that 66 percent of the respondents feel that they are suffering from physical fatigue, and even more, 68 percent, feel mentally fatigued. Arguably the most alarming data point from the survey, however, is that 17 percent of the participants said they “have, or have possibly, suffered from depression or other emotional sickness.”
The complete survey results do not appear to be publicly available, with the above statistics being initially reported by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, who says the decision to add the health-related questions to the survey was made “last year,” without specifying if that is referring to the calendar year of the business year, the latter of which typically starts in the spring in Japan. As such, the exact timing of the survey responses is hard to pin down, but with no dramatic shifts in how anime is produced and distributed over the past few months, it’s a safe bet that the respondents who said their mental and physical health is suffering because of their working conditions haven’t had things get significantly easier since they took the survey in terms of workloads and deadlines.
Although it’s not as glamorous as being a movie star or recording artist, the anime industry is a part of show business, and show business has always been an intensely competitive, high-pressure field. As such, it’s unlikely that working in anime will ever be a laid-back, punch in at 9, clock out at 5 every single Monday-Friday sort of job. At the same time, it’s saddening to think that something that, on the consumer end, is fun entertainment is coming at a high personal-wellbeing cost to the people producing it, and hopefully the survey results will prompt a reexamination of working practices in order to find ways to improve them.
Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu
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