Sunday, July 23

JETRO report on anime industry.

A report from Japanese Government on anime industry trends. Not suprisingly, it is not too optimistic in tone.

Abstract:

Japanese animation is in the spotlight not only in Japan, but overseas as well. Amid an expanding domestic market for films, television and videos, Japanese animation film producers have also been turning their eyes toward overseas markets. At the same time, new developments have been seen in terms of diversified funding methods for film production. Against this background, the Japanese animation industry is working hard to deal with shortages in certain human-resource skills, reductions in domestic film-production sites and the challenge of expanding operations overseas.

Some parts of discussion:

Japanese animation (“anime”) has been acclaimed worldwide for its original, Japan-based culture and content, to the extent that it is called “Japanimation.” Director Mamoru Oshii’s animated film Innocence was nominated for an award at the 57th Cannes film festival in 2004. Innocence is the sequel to Ghost in the Shell (1995), which reached number one on Billboard’s video chart in the United States.

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the feature length animation Oscar at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, reprising its capture of the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival and proving once again Japan produces world-class animation.

Many American and Asian animators reportedly want to work on Japanese anime productions, indicating that Japanese animation is viewed by professionals as leading its field. Spirited Away’s commercial success, however, demonstrated Japanese anime’s merits and international competitiveness among the global general public as well. The world clearly views Japanese anime as having potential for big business.

Nonetheless, the industry has not yet shifted its posture sufficiently to respond to overseas acclaim. Moving forward, the Japanese anime industry not only must expand overseas, it also must develop the necessary production/distribution systems and personnel to capitalize on the global business opportunities for anime and other content.

Production systems have in fact been set up, but the industry still has many glaring weaknesses in domestic/overseas distribution and rights, such as licensing and international business expertise in general. In the field of personnel development, animators do not have a suitably high social standing, so the exodus of such personnel to other industries and countries has become a large problem.


Sources: Japanese Economic Monthly, Jun 2005.

The English PDF can be downloaded here.

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