We’ve said it time and time again, that Japan basically treats their voice actors, or seiyuu, pretty much like rock stars. However, even with superstar status, it seems that these celebrities aren’t paid as much compared to some of their American counterparts. This is reflective of the Japanese animation industry’s current state, which is infamous for underpaid animators and staffers who live well below the poverty line.
It was previously reported how much the voice actors for the hit American show, The Simpsons, earn. It turns out that cast members Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardly Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns) each make US$300,000 per episode. Of course, the revelation shocked many fans back in Japan.
For the most part, it seems that this is because Japanese seiyuu don’t earn as much. Let’s take Rei Ayanami’s seiyuu, Megumi Hayashibara for example. She earned around 70 million yen (US$630,000) just last year, and is regarded as the top-selling seiyuu of 2017. Coming in second is Son Goku’s seiyuu herself, Masako Nozawa, who earned 40 million yen (US$360,000) last year. But those annual earnings seem meager compared to the per episode wage the American voice actors have. This also takes into account the fact that each American voice actor voices several different characters in the hit Fox animated show.
While it is true that it’s still unclear if Hayashibara’s 70 million yen earnings are only for her anime voice acting work or it also includes her musical career, but even so, American voice actors do earn much more in just three episodes than her entire year of voice acting. Of course, the disparity sent Japanese twitter users into a frenzy.
“I wish the Japanese anime industry could pay creators, the foundation the industry is built on, like the Simpsons cast gets paid.”
“You could finance an entire modest-budget 13-episode anime series with those six actors’ one-episode salaries.”
“They make enough to buy a new condo every episode.”
“It’s the American dream.”
“I want hit anime series to give more credit to their voice actors.”
Of course, the article did state that the Simpsons voice actors didn’t get paid as much in the show’s first ten seasons. It did admit that they started out with just USD30,000 per episode… which is still a lot bigger than most regular Japanese wages.
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Source: Sora News 24