Japanese anime is very famous around the world. Japanese anime have been broadcasted in many countries and some Japanese words such as “moe” and “kawaii” are well known. However, Japanese anime sales have been decreasing in Japan and foreign countries since 2007. Japanese anime companies should solve this problem. In this research paper I will discuss whether Japanese anime industry will be accepted by many people and gain a profit or won’t. In the first section I will write the present situation of Japanese anime, and then I will write what the Japanese animation companies should do to succeed.
Around 2000, Japanese anime was in peak condition in Japan and overseas. A Japanese anime, Ghost in the shell(Fig.1) (攻殻機動隊 Koukaku Kidotai) hit the top of the US Billboard video charts in 1996(Tsugata , 2004). An essay entitled “Japan’s Gross National Cool”, that the Japanese pop culture such as anime and manga are popular around the world. This essay was written by McGray(2002). Moreover, Hayao Miyazaki’s work, Spirited Away(Fig.2) got the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. Japanese anime was then at the zenith of it was power. However, Japanese anime sales have been decreasing since 2007.
Most of the sales of Japanese anime are based on DVD and VHS, which have been decreasing. Jikuya (2011) points out that the anime DVD was important goods to make profits for the past 15 years. The overseas sales were favorable from 1998 to 2006. However, these large markets such as overseas sales and video productions have been rapidly reducing for the last 3 or 4 years. The main reason is a reduction in the DVD rental market, so that now it is only twenty percent the size it was at its peak. Blu-ray sales and the webcast service market could not be a source of income to compensate for reduction in the DVD market. The anime market is a niche market from the economic standpoint.
The reason for the cause of reduction of Japanese anime sales is illegal downloading. People can download Japanese anime for free on the Internet that’s why people lost a desire to buy DVD and VHS (Kataoka, 2011). Now, people can download Japanese anime and create the pirate edition anime easily. Masuda(2011) comments that “ There are many people who illegal download Japanese anime and create the pirate edition anime and bootleg them in China, Southeast Asia, and Europe. The overseas sales of Japanese anime are presumed to be about billion yen, but it is presumed that the overseas market is larger as several or several score times as the current market potentially”.
The cause of reducing the DVD market is oversupply. Around 2006 that started to reduce the DVD market. Between 80 and 100 animations were produced, which made the viewer being fed up (Matsumoto, 2007). Illegal downloading and the quality of Japanese anime are considered the reason of reduction the sales. However, there is a more fundamental problem. Some people are may difficult to buy Japanese anime DVD.
The sluggish economy is the one of the causes of the reduction the animation market. The Japanese economy is still in recession. Moreover, the European countries and the USA economy are also in recession. The animation sales have been decreasing since 2007 as described above. At the same time, Greece was bankrupt, which influenced other European countries. In 2008, Goldman Sachs went into bankruptcy. That’s why the overseas sales have been decreasing. Matsumoto(2007) comments that “The anime sales dropped by 94% compared to the previous year. Because of decreasing consumer demand by the financial depression from the Lehman Shock”. The Japanese anime fans love Japanese anime, but some of them are difficult to buy animation DVDs. The Anime DVDs usually valued at between 5000 yen to 10000 yen (In US dollars about 50 to 100 US dollars) in Japan. In America, the price of DVDs is usually cheaper than Japan, but valued at 30 to 50 dollars. Previously, if you try to watch animations, you have to buy a DVD to pay much money. However, people can watch anime with a video hosting service without paying money. Some people illegal download Japanese anime, because Japanese anime is interesting for them. However, sometimes Japanese anime is unacceptable for them.
Japanese anime have been broadcasted around the world. However, sometimes Japanese anime is not allowed to be broadcasted because of differences culture. There are some cultural differences between Japan and the foreign countries and it sometimes prevent the Japanese animation companies from producing a profit. For example, violent scenes in Japanese anime are usually regulated in the USA, the European countries. Some violent and sexual scenes of Japanese anime are often cut or limited in the foreign countries. Some Japanese anime are not allowed to broadcast. Not only violent and sexual scenes, there is another case when the Japanese customs are unusual for the foreign, especially the USA and the European countries. For example, it is a common sense that children take a bath with their parents and sleep in a bed together. However, this is not a common sense in the western countries. Some people accept these Japanese customs, but not every people accept these inconceivably culture. Cultural differences, illegal downloading, and the quality of anime are difficult problems to spread the Japanese animation in the foreign countries and to get profits.
It is difficult to advance overseas and make profits. There are some problems to advance overseas such as cultural differences, illegal downloading and the quality of anime are hinder making profits in overseas. However, there have been several suggestions about how to solve this problem.
One is to broadcast legal content early rather than illegal content rises on the Internet. Taniguchi(2010) and Aso(2010) comments that “ An American Japanese anime distribution company named Crunchyroll which manages the video sharing site which offers Japanese anime. Crunchyroll distribute the regularly licensed Japanese anime to the foreign countries”. Crunchyroll is expected to reduce illegal downloading. Crunchroll broadcast famous Japanese anime such as Naruto one hour it has been broadcasted in Japan. Crunchyroll was launched in 2006 and the number of members is more than 10,000 people now. Crunchyroll was founded the Japanese corporation and cooperate with Toei company limited and delete illegally downloaded Japanese anime movie and offer the software that detect illegal posting the Japanese anime movie. It managed to contract with a big Japanese TV station, TV Tokyo Corporation, which allowed Crunchyroll to broadcast the Japanese anime an hour later after the animation broadcasted in Japan. 3 sites including Crunchyroll distribute the Japanese anime for free 7 days later after the anime broadcasted. Free broadcasting NARUTO was accessed averages about 160,000 in every episode. It is considered that it is impossible to prevent illegal downloading completely. However it may be able to reduce it less. Crunchyroll aims to suppress illegal distribution and is expected to exploit a new market, such as Asian countries.
A second possible answer is to advance into the vibrant market, Asian countries to expand Japanese anime and make profits. Asian countries are big market, which have a large population. For example, China has 1.3 billon people. India has 1.2 billion people. Republic Indonesia has 238 million people. Japanese anime are well known and the cultures between Japan and Asian countries are rather similar, so this may be an advantage. Japanese anime would be more accepted in Asian countries than the countries that have completely different culture, such as European countries and America. Moreover, it would be an advantage that many Asian countries are still developing. Many people are still hard to live in their countries, but their countries are developing and the middle-class has been increased. They would be able to earn much money. People always seek entertainment when they have much money such as many Chinese people come to travel around the world because of increasing middle-class in China. There is no cultural difference not much and it is possible to develop market in the Asian countries.
Another way to solve the problem is to build its own brand like a famous animation company, Pixar. It requires educating men for ability to develop interesting stories. The Japanese anime companies should make the working environment better and make the place appealing, which make people think the anime companies are good and want to work there. The most of the anime companies can not afford to make new men develop. They should learn from a famous anime company Kyoto Animation. Kyoto Animation operates its own animation school and they develop the famous and hit works such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star and K-on (Takahashi,2007). Many young Japanese animators bound to serve for starvation wages on the order of 1 million yen a year. Some people say that the Japanese animation companies outsource the production of the animations to the low-paying countries in Asia. The sales of the Japanese animations have been decreasing, so the Japanese animation companies need to save money. The Japanese animation companies make animators work for many hours, and outsource to the Asian countries to cut the cost. However, under above-mentioned circumstances, human resources are not developed. Young animators would not interesting stories. The Japanese animation companies should educate men of ability to develop and bring out high-quality animation into the world.
Japanese anime have been broadcasted in many countries and many Japanese anime have the world-famous prizes, so it must be famous around the world. However, the Japanese animation sales have been decreasing. There are some reasons, but content companies such as animation companies are difficult to make profits. It is difficult to judge whether a work will commercially successful or not, because contents such as animations are entertainment, not daily necessities. There are people who like a work, but also there are people who don’t. A few works for everyone like Disney works, but many works are consumed by a few people (Yamaguchi, 2007)
Even many anime are watched by a few people not everyone, if anime are more exported to the foreign countries, much people will watch them. A report from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “How we export contents” (2012) show that American creative industry export the 17.5% of the all contents, but the Japanese contents industry export only 5% of the all contents. Japanese anime are not exported very much. If Japanese anime are more exported, Japanese anime companies may possibly make more profits.
The Japanese government’s help is required to produce and export the animations. Uchiyama(2011) points out that the government’s help is need for the content industry. Specifically, granting a subsidy for planning, producing works, and distribution. The Japanese government should give financial support such as subsidy and favorable taxation measures to the Japanese anime companies.
There are some countries that Japanese anime is difficult to broadcast such as China, Korea, and France that have protectionism. However, old animations such as Dragon Ball, Pokemon became hit in many countries, because they were interesting. Recently, many Japanese animation companies save money because of reduction Japanese anime sales. However, if the Japanese Government give a subsidy, Japanese anime companies will easily to produce animations.
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry proposes a policy called COOL JAPAN, and have decided to help Japanese anime companies spread their works. The Japanese anime companies will be able to spread their works to the foreign countries. Just now, the Japanese anime companies should work out their strategy and make overseas oriented works completely.
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