Almost a fifth of Japan’s animation industry suffer from depression
Creating Japanese anime might seem like a dream to some, but according to a recent survey reported on by NHK, 17% of animators suffer from mental health issues like depression.
The anime industry has a reputation for extremely long working hours, especially as deadlines are approaching. According to the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAnicA), there are animators whose health has deteriorated as a result of their crammed work schedules. Previous media coverage has also highlighted the tough conditions that animators face, especially those who have just entered the industry. In some cases, animators fresh out of college were only guaranteed a monthly income of 50,000yen (around 350 USD) and advised to have their parents help pay for living expenses.
In response to these industry issues, JAnicA added questions about health to its annual survey, which aims to assess current conditions in the industry. There were 429 respondents to the survey sent out to animators.
According to the results, 17% (73 people) stated that they had developed mental health issues like depression. In addition, 68% (291 people) responded that they felt their work was psychologically tiring, and 66% (285 people) stated that it was physically tiring.
The NHK article sheds more light on the tough working conditions with one animator reporting that it is not unusual for animators to sleep at the office in order to meet the weekly deadlines. She adds that it is normal for employees to have essentials like shampoo and towels at the office. As there is no sleeping area, people sleep in their chairs or in sleeping bags. She also said that there have been some weeks where she has only spent about 30 minutes at home.
Recently, the issues faced by animators have been brought into the public eye thanks to media coverage and individuals speaking out on social media. Although it will probably take time, it is hoped that this increased awareness will lead to positive change in the industry.