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May 31, 2011



A man is not a thousand :eng101:


Er...no, you mixed 万 and 千. Their average royalty payments were 280万, or 2,800,000 -- about USD $35,000.


Thanks for the catch! 猿も木から落ちる、as they say: "even monkeys fall from trees." And I am nothing if not a monkey.

Aaron Gerow

Not a very good summary of the original Japanese. First, it does not say "$900,000 a volume", but rather per person. Second, it no where says the lower rung got "$35,000" per volume. Again, it is per person. It only says that artists must publish more than one volume a year and sell more than 120,000 copies of all their volumes a year to make a good living.

But there is a lot missing in the original article as well. First, this is "inzei" or royalities, not "genkoryo," which is what artists get for first publishing their work in magazines. Second, it does not mention all the other income if you happen to get a bit of merchandizing or secondary use deals. Third, it does not mention that most artists producing serialized work (especially once a week) have to hire and pay for assistants--which comes out of their fees. I should stress that it is the assistants that often get the lowest salaries (and thus many artists do both: work as assistants for others while also doing their own work).


Well, I read that even payments that artist get from magazines has not increased since the late 1980's


Its a massive interview but extremely informative.

Everybody has been sounding the drums that Manga is declining with no end in sight and the article Matt posted is reinforcing it.


"Not a very good summary of the original Japanese. "

Why thank you, Aaron!

Actually, you're right and you're wrong. It was probably bad to say "per volume," as that assumes each author has but a single volume out (which some do) and this is more about what they earn in royalties altogether. I fixed that and thank you for pointing it out. But the genkoryo (per-page rate) doesn't really figure into this because, as discussed in the other articles linked above, it isn't really possible to make a living off of genkoryo for most artists. It's low to start with and as you say, the most popular (=busy) artists need to hire assistants, which eats it up even further. Tankobon royalties are how manga artists really make their money.

Selling 120,000 volumes of anything is a tremendous achievement. If that's what it takes to make the average salaryman's salary (which is what the Sato Shuho, the manga-ka being quoted, is saying), it's yet another example of just how difficult it is to make a solid living in the industry.

The original Japanese article actually does discuss merchandising, albeit obliquely. It states that the author of One Piece made 1.3 billion yen (!) in royalties out of a total yearly income of 3.1 billion yen (!!), the other part not clarified but undoubtedly consisting of licensing/merchandise deals. But this isn't really a realistic portrait of what the average manga-ka is making. There are a huge number (perhaps the majority) of manga that don't have any sort of merchandise deal.

draw people - ashley

I'd assume its mostly about volume and less about the price of your works. Yes the top artist get high price points, but for the average artists, price points are pretty even. You have to have lots of transactions.


Actually, I hear it's not quite as expensive to live in Tokyo if you eat like the natives (which I assume these mangaka do) because the cost of living was calculated using how much it cost to have an American-style steak dinner every night (obviously more expensive in Japan). But I heard it at an anime convention panel about living in Tokyo.


I'd take anything you hear about Tokyo at an anime convention with a grain of salt. (Perhaps whoever was speaking confused steaks with the "Big Mac index" that the Economist uses to explain the relative power of currencies.) We're talking about annual salaries, not a cost of living index. That's a whole different ballgame.

Account Deleted

I rally like watching anime or manga series.


No matter what it still gives you a great understanding of there pay scale.


i like to be a manga artist


i want to be a manga artist but i dont know how to start...


In life and in manga just a few people rocks and make lots of money. Any way, I love gooood manga.

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