Photo: Pakutaso

17% of anime workers in survey have or possibly had depression, other mental issues

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Live with parents or burn through your savings? Survey of young anime workers draws bleak picture

-- More than half of young anime workers live with their parents or receive money from them【Survey】

-- Lower income earners at higher risk of depression, Japan’s least shocking research finds

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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anime workers in survey have/have possibly had depression, other mental issues

Underpaid and working overtime but at the same time won't quit their job.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Why would anyone choose to be an anime worker?

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

But how does this compare to other jobs?

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Yeah? And what about the rest of us?

2 ( +11 / -9 )

17% of anime workers in survey have or possibly had depression, other mental issues

The problem is how Japan Inc. is allowed to ,anage and gatekeep artistic talent.

Too many times I have seen and read of comic artists or other artist/performers living like students in poverty conditions even after their big break.

The agencies execs take a Smaugs share and eventually after a long running hit parlays into other income sources can the artist live comfortably.

Capitalism is the worst, it is a vampire squid that feeds on dreams and talent for the enrichment of useless capital hoarders.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It's a problem that sooner or later Japan government will fix..

Matter of time..

Anyway, there are some organizations in Japan trying to solve this problem..

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Unfortunately the % would probably be quite similar for salarymen because of the work culture.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It's a problem that sooner or later Japan government will fix.

Will attempt to fix, without any guarantee of actually doing it, for all we know this will be long after the industry collapses and people in other countries (with much better support) become the main produces of animation. As it happened with scientific development, technology production, etc.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That's actually much lower than I would have expected

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I imagine those results would be replicated no matter what industry you looked at in Japan! The work life balance is still sorely lacking in Japan but until there is a govt that is willing to enforce the labour laws not much will change!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

That seems perfectly normal and even low.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Otoku are usually depressed. But most Japanese read manga.

I know an anime artist, she is so talented. She is part of the 83% not depressed. I see salaryworkers drinking on the train, scoffing down coffee and tobacco and I’m sure they are about 50% depressed.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I feel like at least half of my office have or possibly had depression, other mental issues

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Many workers in this industry will be low-paid freelancers.

As of October 2023, many low-paid freelancers are now effectively forced to file a consumption tax return and hand over up to 10% of their earnings to the government. People with sales under 10 million yen were previously under the tax radar. The actual amount of tax paid will depend on a balance of ins and outs, such as expenses. This development is called "invoice seido".

With prices in the shops going up on everything, I'm surprised more people who've had a pay cut are not depressed.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

having worked in a related industry and knowing many people working in the anime/manga industry I think the real number is more like 50 - 70%. Japanese normally wouldn't easily say they have been depressed, and in many cases not even knowing that's a thing, mostly it's just seen as being weak. Also depends on how the survey was done.

In the west we would very easily say we have been depressed for honestly very small things, but here I'm guessing the ones that do say they have been is the ones that have been at the point of hospitalization.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

if they are not fit to do that job they can do something else.

cause closed.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

It’s not only anime workers but almost everyone in all working fields!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

That's actually not bad at all. I estimate about 50% of Japanese people are depressed.

-11 ( +9 / -20 )

I can only imagine the development of AI tools, which are taught using the works of these (and other) anime workers, to replace them is going to make that situation way worse.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

WA4TKGToday  07:24 am JST

Yeah? And what about the rest of us?

Yes. Without knowing that, this article is meaningless.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Depression is serous. I had a high-level tech guy who disappeared for half a year, I went through it myself.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

17% of anime workers in survey have or possibly had depression

Sooo..........83% are all good?

Thanks for the game changing news.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

17% seems like quite a low number to be honest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Of course they do, you can't create or make art without these conditions.

Artist must get out of our boxes to be able to create Anime and other forms of art, or they are NOT artistic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Probably because 20% of them are terrible at anime.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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