a crisis for the anime industry

Although anime is massively popular throughout the world, from Finland to Fiji and America to Azerbaijan — there’s an annual anime convention there now, isn’t that cool? — the anime industry faces some huge challenges. Right off the bat, the salaries for many professionals are so low we have trouble conceiving of it, with starting animators and fledgling voice actors earning under $10,000 a year, and many leaving the industry after a few years because they can’t live. A huge part of the problem is the way anime is funded in the anime industry, through the so-called “production committee” method, which is when production companies like Mages, Aniplex and Movic plus figure makers (if there will be figures) or retailers like Animate (if the show will have merchandise) all come together and invest money in a new project, creating a shell company with a name like Madoka Partners or the Attack on Titan Production Committee. When a show is profitable, the proceeds are distributed back to the investors, though usually not to the animation studio, which got paid a flat fee to create the anime, plus a portion of Blu-ray sales. This low level of profit sharing is the norm, and even Shinkai Makoto got no additional bonus for his smash hit film Your Name, though his company gets a portion of Blu-ray sales and merchandising. Clearly a “great re-thinking” is needed in the anime industry, so that every animator, producer and voice actor can benefit of their work is embraced by fans, while managing the risks for all groups.

When learning a language like Japanese, it’s fun to explore some of the archaic parts, just for fun. One area of Japanese that’s interesting to study are the country-name kanji, which were once used to denote the names of countries in Japanese. Today katakana is used for foreign words and country names, so the old kanji are only seen in newspaper headlines, where it’s convenient to talk about 日米関係 nichi-bei kankei (U.S./Japan relations) or 日露戦争 nichi-ro sensou (the Russo-Japan War of 1905). Here are some of the major country kanji:

  • bei (America), meaning rice.
  • nichi (Japan), meaning sun.
  • ei (England), meaning heroic.
  • futsu (France), meaning Buddhism.
  • 独 doku (Germany), meaning individual.
  • i (Italy), refers to one of the mythical gods that created Japan.
  • gou (Australia), meaning “luxurious.”
  • ro (Russia), meaning “outdoors.”
  • ka (Canada), meaning “add.”

Did I miss your country? Hit me up on Twitter and I’ll look it up for you!

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