Echoing the recent coverage of the troubles facing the anime industry, here are translated excerpts of blogs written by Japanese anime industry insiders. Several are taken from a fascinating website called Off the Record Animation Industry Gossip (subtitle: "Read this if you're thinking of becoming an animator! This is the true face of the anime industry! Do you think you can survive?") Bear in mind that as these blogs are anonymous, there is no way to verify the veracity of the claims. But they are a fascinating counterpoint to the "soft power"/"Japan cool"/"otaku utopia" rhetoric often espoused by foreign journalists.
"In any country other than Japan, animators are on the regular payroll as full employees, with full salary and benefits. It used to be that way in Japan, too... But ever since Tezuka Osamu employed what could be called an 'abnormal' work system to produce Tetsuwan Atom (1963), animator salaries have collapsed, the animators were demoted from full employees to contractors, and they became poorer in the process. Animators have a special set of skills; they are craftsmen. So why are the salaries of these crafstmen on par with what you would pay a high-school kid working at a convenience store? Animators in other countres aren't poor. In America and Europe, they are paid according to their skills. Japanese animators should be paid based on the Labor Standards Act in a manner commesurate with their skills. And if you ask me, Japan deserves to lose its poor animators, so it can only have ten anime a week instead of the hundred or so currently produced. Even TEN a week is a lot by European or American standards!"