The issue of worker rights for animators in japan

An arts issue I would like to focus on is why Japanese animators are overworked and underpaid, this is a widely controversial issue that has been around in Japan for many years.

This is mainly caused by the increased quality in anime which has forced a lot of animators to work overnight and into the next day without any sleep because of constant redrawing frames and scenes. A studio in particular which has been outed for this same thing is Studio Mappa which is a highly regarded and popular anime studio for many of its popular releases such as Attack On Titan, Jujitsu Kaisen and Chainsaw man. 

The recurring issue that has been mentioned above is that Mappa continuously overworks employees and makes them stay overnight till the sun rises to fix drawings and not even properly training animators before assigning them to do the task. According to one worker called Teruyuki Omine who was an episode director for Attack on titan when it was still on air tweeted that he was not able to go home for three days straight. 

This was further backed up when Mappa started producing the second season of Jujitsu Kaisen. In the middle of the season, it came to light that Mappa made animators sign a NDA contract about the production of the season and many employees did in fact confirm that Mappa was still forcing an unreasonable workload for an unreasonable amount of pay.

This then brought a meltdown for several different animators for Mappa during the production of the 14th episode in which several animators went to X to complain about the working conditions with some even calling to disband altogether. However in Mappa’s defence, before this Mappa attempted to provide a non toxic environment by creating a building called Studio Annex. Studio Annex was supposed to cultivate a positive environment for animators to work. This included warm, wooden desks, an open-space lounge, a shop and a cafe located on the site also. Even though this came off as something along the lines of damage control, It was obvious Mappa was indeed trying to become a better company. 

In terms of my final argument. I do believe that as much as animation companies need to meet deadlines, it is highly important that the working conditions are not unfair as your employees are still people with lives and families and forcing them to work in poor conditions constantly is very bad for their health and their mental state. 

In conclusion, I believe that companies should be held responsible for their employees health and safety, just because they work for you does not mean you own them.


Joriy O' Neale

Joriy O' Neale

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