The State of the Animation Industry in Osaka and Issues for the Future
September 26, 2005
The content industry, including the animation industry, has become the focus of great expectations as one of the industries that will support the next generation of the Japanese economy. As part of a drive to introduce intellectual property measures, the government has established an Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters within the Cabinet Secretariat and the Diet has passed a number of laws providing support measures. The rapid progress of conversion to broadband has also heightened expectations of the moving image distribution business.
Estimates based on figures published by the City of Osaka suggest that the Japanese market for animation in 2002 was worth around ¥ 471.9 billion and that the market in Osaka Prefecture (Osaka-fu) was worth around ¥ 40.8 billion (approximately 8.6% of the national market). Although the local industry is much smaller than that of Tokyo, it is of a certain size - Osaka has 5-16% of the total number of image-related business enterprises nationwide.
Japan's animation industry is highly regarded internationally but the production base that will support the industry in the future is weak. The profitability of animation production companies is low and, because young people are not joining the industry, the human resources needed to support future growth are not being fostered.
The industrialization of existing animation production systems, which are highly labor intensive, is as yet insufficient, but, thanks to the increasing sophistication and falling cost of personal computers and software, personal animation and Web animation, produced by individuals or a few people working together are coming to the fore. This trend has accelerated in recent years, especially in Osaka.
Osaka presents increasingly attractive opportunities to the animation industry.
(i) The supply of labor is plentiful, creators themselves have begun to industrialize in Osaka of their own accord, and are gaining recognition. Meanwhile, the creation of a base for the fostering of human resources by universities has begun.
(ii) Regional funds established to support the contents, including the animation, succession functions of national subsidies to support the contents, fund operation functions, etc. have been put in place.
(iii) Forums for the showing of works of animation, including the CG Animation Contest, the BroadStar Contest, BACA-JA, and JAWACON, are being established.
(iv) To help build potential for the future, projects linked to the training of young people in animation production and the revitalization of local communities are being pursued.
To promote the development of the animation industry in Osaka, we propose the following four courses of action:
(i) Enhance awareness of personal CG animation and Web animation, which are considered promising in Osaka, through symposiums and screenings.
(ii) Create production centers equipped to train new human resources. Use these as bases around which to concentrate related institutions and industries.
(iii) Provide support through legal systems such as copyright agreements. (iv) Use regional content funds and national projects to support animation production as a means of fostering producers.
For more information on the content of this report, please contact: Tomoyuki Yokota the Japan Research Institute, Limited.