On the Cost of Producing Manga
From the Japanese blog lovelovedog comes an article looking at the cost of manga production in Japan. The analysis, written by a school teacher, calculates how much it takes to produce a volume of manga, and compares the result with incomes from other fields.
On the Cost of Producing Manga
In the case of anime production cost, various references can be found in the following article:
Generally it takes around 8,000,000 to 10,000,000 yen to make a 30 minute episode anime. In the case of manga, because there isn't much information available, for now we'll consider the pay for a one-page manuscript as 20,000 yen. Please pay attention to how the calculations are handled, since even by analogy the following calculations contain many steps.
In the case of a weekly serialization, because in 2 months a tankoubon can be compiled, a 100-page monthly production rate = 2,000,000 yen.
Even putting together the costs of toner, pens and paper, the necessary expense is around 100,000 yen. The rent of the office is difficult to evaluate, but we can assume it's about 100,000 yen. What requires the most money is the labor cost paid to the assistants.
1 chief-assistant + 2 or 3 sub-assistants + 1 background artist, it's a group of 4 or 5 people.
When we include social insurance and even pension (considering such cases are frequent), for one person, 150,000 yen should more or less be necessary. Moreover, in the case of the chief-assistant, due to his experience, it's not rare for the cost to be 300,000 yen.
If such salaries exist, and if the assistant start to work in their 20's or 30's, they can barely make a living (if they give up the idea of having a house, a wife and kids). So, the wage of a mangaka, counting only the labor cost, should be around 750,000 to 900,000 yen. If they have a weekly serialized story, with approximately 10,000 yen for each manuscript page, they should feel like they're earning money.
In the case of a tankoubon publication, there will always be problems on the publisher's side. Even with 10,000 copies, each costing 420 yen, the sales would be around 4,200,000 yen. Also, for tankoubon at the price of "New Book Edition", the minimum circulation required must be 10,000 volumes. For example, "Norakuro" is an old manga, but it is being re-published in a splendid format. The front cover is a hard cover, and it's boxed. The price for it at the moment is around 2,000 yen per volume, which is unreasonable.
If it takes 15 minutes to read a volume of manga, 30 minutes to read 2, and if we decide to use a minute-based cost of 8,000,000 yen for a manga, the cost becomes almost the same as the amount of money needed for an anime.
A movie at the theater for 1,500 yen can amuse a person for about an hour and a half, but there is no way a movie costing 24,000,000 yen would be possible, although the movie population and the anime population are different.
For a 20 to 30 year old person considering making a living by drawing, there are plans to increase the wage, such as raising a mangaka's wage (and perhaps the salary of the assistants as well), drawing without using assistants or a working place, raising the cost of tankoubon. However, when compared to business designers, fine arts school teachers and so on, the occupation of a mangaka is only "worth it when he or she scores a 'home run'", otherwise the occupation amounts to very little.
People that play sports, compose music, write articles, and so on, are in the same situation as people from a creative world. In the case of novels writers, generally there aren't a working place and assistants, and concerns of the circulation of tankoubon are very rare. Although there are many cases where the first issue comes with a hard cover, the expenses are only slightly better than a mangaka's. The fact that there are publishers who commission writings and manuscripts with newcomers, it's only because it's a period in which new materials are starting to sell well, and every year a newcomers comes out.
There's also this kind of article:
If we consider this, does even the job of a manga assistant at the chief level needs a monthly income of 1,000,000 yen (more than 10,000,000 yen of annual income)? At this rate, what would the situation be in Japan where the mangaka has to pay his or her assistants?