Anime's contribution to Japan's Economy


Anime is arguably one of the most common things which pop up in one’s mind when they think about Japan. A near perfect representation of Japanese culture and ethics, anime has gained global recognition. The Japan External Trade Organization reports that anime has accumulated a growing viewer base in nearly 70 countries that broadcast it on television. Japan may not emerge as a strong global economic force, but the power of its modern entertainment genres has gained mass appeal. Animation, Japan’s third-largest industry, has an annual turnover of 250 trillion yen. The revenue generated by the sale of anime related goods to the Unites States far surpasses Japan’s steel exports to the United States.

Before the inception of animation, Japan was heavily reliant on mangas as a source of entertainment. The mangas brilliantly depicted Japanese pop culture and accounted for more than 10% of the overall production value of the publishing industry by the end of 1960s. Not surprisingly, Japan is presently the largest and most profitable exporter of animation, accounting for almost 60 per cent of the worldwide market. Nicknamed as the “Kingdom of Animation”, Japan has thoroughly dominated the animation industry of Europe and the United States. According to appropriate survey figures, the Japanese animation market has stayed at 200 billion yen or more since 2008. Sales in 2014 amounted to 242.8 billion yen, a rise of 4.21 percent over 2013.



The year 2017 was the first year that the Japanese animation industry had reached the 2 trillion-yen mark (Fig.2). The company posted revenue of 2 trillion 152.7billion yen, rising for eight consecutive years, with five consecutive years of record-breaking high sales. To break it down by category, TV (100.9 per cent), InternetStreaming (113 per cent) and Live Entertainment (116 per cent) increased while five categories (i.e. Film (61.7 per cent), Videogram (97.1 per cent), Merchandising (93.0per cent), Music (91.6 per cent) and Pachinko (95.8 per cent) decreased. Overseas(129.6 per cent) saw strong development, indicating the decline of these five genres. Compared to the survey 10 years ago, TV reported a growth rate of 115.7%,peaked in 2015 and remained steady since then. Movie (193.4 per cent) grew year on year, Videogram (59.9 per cent) decreased unmistakably, and Internet Delivery (551.0per cent) continued to increase significantly. Merchandising (87.6 per cent) decreased steadily after hitting its peak in 2014, although it could be expected that the sector would have increased significantly if revenue from companies not measured in this study, such as mobile games and other digital products, had been covered (note: physical games are already covered by Merchandising). Music (99.2%) hit its peak in 2009 and has remained steady since then. Considering the success of Videogram, Audio, which is part of the company's packaged goods, has performed miraculously well. Overseas(226.6 per cent) decreased significantly since hitting its first peak in the mid-2000s. This has grown again since 2015, becoming the biggest genre in the world today. Pachinko(175.9 per cent), a modern genre from 9 years ago, hit its peak in 2014 and has slowly declined since then.

Live Entertainment (251 per cent), also a new genre from 4 years ago, showed substantial growth. the sharp growth in the overseas market has almost overtaken the domestic market since 2015, while the domestic market, which peak in 2014, has declined for three consecutive years due to the decline seen in major genres such as Merchandising and Pachinko. Substantial growth in the overseas market, which includes the downturn in the domestic market, is very welcome. However, that Japan relies heavily on the overseas market. There are many threats that need to be discussed, such as a sudden shift in China's market climate due to politics (such as the so-called "China Risk") or the distribution landscape dominated by major US platforms. In reality, given the record-breaking market revenues, the animation industry (i.e. animation studios and other related companies) is not getting any upliftment. It may be because animation studios and the like have little ways to reap the rewards of revenue from Internet distribution and computer games, which are thought to occupy a significant part of overseas revenues. It is beneficial for both the consumer and the industry that the domestic market, which is now in transition, will soon stabilize.

2017, the total production minutes of TV animation, the mainstay of the Japanese animation industry, produced 116,409 minutes and crossed the 110 thousand minutes mark for five consecutive years . The estimates, which have been almost the same for five years, did not include the development minutes of original animations specifically for Internet outlets, such as Netflix, as there were not so many animations for them. In the meantime, the production minutes of theater animations remained largely constant for three years, despite the transition to theatrical animations seen since the changeover to digital terrestrial broadcasting.


Just as digitization has begun to influence how people view anime and how distribution networks screen anime, anime has always followed the general Japanese economic trends. This link indicates a strong correlation between the consumption of anime and the economy.

seems to have slowed down). Under these conditions, the animation industry finds itself in a situation where it is forced to increase efficiency as a result of the "Reform of Working Practices" now being implemented at a rapid pace by the Japanesegovernment. Respective studios must the production time while retaining the current quality standard, and the only way left for them to do so is by digitizing the productionprocesses. "Reforming the Working Procedures" means digitization. The Japaneseanimation industry would only be able to shift to the next level if it reaches digitalization.

Just as digitization has begun to influence how people view anime and how distribution networks screen anime, anime has always followed the general Japanese economic trends. This link indicates a strong correlation between the consumption of anime and the economy

After the 2009 economic recovery, Japan's prime minister, Taro Aso, said,"Japanese entertainment, such as anime and video games, and fashion attracts the attention of customers around the world." Understanding the economic impact of anime, Japan hoped to use it at that time to boost its post-crash economy. Yet anime consumption has increased–given increased pressure from digital media–helping to improve Japan's economy. The fact that Japan's leaders understand the clear correlation between anime and the economy is a positive sign of anime growing Japan's investment in anime as a media export even in the face of a weak economy and competition from other types of Japanese cultural media.


The number of theatrical animation works has steadily increased. In 2016, 81theater animation works were released. This was a small decline compared to 86 in2015, still the second-most in history. On the other hand, the production minutes increased marginally in 2016 (6097 minutes in 2015 when the first production minutes reached 6000 minutes). This was due to the continuous popularity of popular anime series such as "Detective Conan" and "Doraemon" as well as the increase in small and medium-sized films. Then came the mega-hit "Your Name." It's not hard to imagine the success of this work that activates the innovative impulses of the industry. he size of the animated Japanese merchandising industry decreased to 523.3billion yen in 2017, which was 93.0 per cent of its size from the previous year. The move from real products to digital products is becoming more noticeable year after year andthe market has been gradually decreasing since 2014 (because digital goods, products related to computer games, are not on the market).

As far as character items targeted at core fans are concerned, the selling of consumer products (i.e. arbitrarily enclosed products) decreased while the growth of fancy goods aimed at young women was outstanding. It is necessary to develop products that meet the needs of the consumer. The size of the domestic animation distribution market was 54.0 billion yen, up 13per cent from the previous year. The distribution market, which was just 0.2 billion yen in 2002, expanded exponentially, increasing the scale of the theater animation industry(46.0 billion yen). It is also approximately 70% of the market for video-grams (76.5billion yen). Sales of animation studios from distribution over the Internet amounted to13.6 billion dollars, a rise of 13 per cent over the previous year. The distribution market has established its presence. In terms of the battle for market dominance, the oligopoly of global outlets has advanced, while Netflix and Amazon have surpassed emerging domestic players such as dTV. The progress of major players, including Netflixproducing original animations or AbemaTV being involved in animation delivery, must be tracked from now on.

In summary, Anime has a great impact in Japan’s Economy and the fact that Japan's leaders understand the strong correlation between anime and the economy is a positive sign of anime, raising Japan's investment in anime as a media export even in the face of a weak economy and competition from other types of Japanese cultural media. Japan's confidence in anime's marketability is supported by numerous hits that produce huge amounts of domestic and foreign revenue. Though Japan's economichealth also seems to control the selling of anime and its related goods, it also stimulates and feeds Japan's economy













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