This week I am reflecting on my initial post on the popular Asian cinematic genre of anime. Due to delving into the universe of anime during the lockdown, I have developed a deeper understanding of its themes and the international digital transactions involved. The specific digital transaction that I will now further explore is the strong economy surrounding anime.
In my initial reflection, I did a small amount of research surrounding the financial success of anime, so I will now discuss it further in greater detail. Firstly, it is important to understand that the success of anime did not happen overnight nor steadily, for it switched between increasing and decreasing over the years. Between 2002 and 2005 there was an increase in the animation market in Japan, from 136.6 billion yen to 223.2 billion yen, and then experienced a decrease between 2006 to 2009, for it reached a low of 145.7 billion in 2009 (Hernández 2018, p. 6). However, it then proceeded to increase after 2010 (Hernández 2018, p. 6) and reached 1.2 trillion yen in 2019 from overseas sales alone (Statistica Research Department 2021). This is an outstanding amount of financial success and has been the underlying motivation for Japan to push anime further into international entertainment.
Popular Japanese anime studios earned up 35% of their revenues on foreign markets around 2006 (Brown in Oóhagan 2007, pp. 242). Due to this occurring in 2006, one can only imagine the amount of revenues Japanese anime receives internationally in this current year, especially with the help of the advancement of entertainment services. This has increased international viewership and has made anime more accessible.
By increasing international viewership, it has encouraged people from all over the world to learn more about Japanese culture, including an increase in people wanting to learn how to speak Japanese (Japan Info 2015), promoting Japan’s tourism and more sales of Japanese export products (Hunt 2020, p. 37).
However, a concern surrounding the increase in digital entertainment services and the prevalence of digital money promises a reduction in significant transactions that go with providing material currency (Athique & Baulch 2019, p. 12). The reason why I mention this is because Japan, alongside India, is one of the world’s foremost cash economies (Athique & Baulch 2019, p. 12). Therefore, this advancement in digital transactions may decrease local viewership and revenue from within Japan itself. This is another possible reason why Japan is pushing for international viewership because it will provide security for the market surrounding anime.
Another form of security that has been factored into the marketing of anime is the intellectual property of anime characters. By claiming the property of said characters and using them as a marketing tool, it prompts consumption regardless of the nature of the merchandise to be consumed or act as a communication tool between the customer and the seller or brand (Hernández 2018, p. 6). Other than merchandising and television/ streaming services, there are many categories of revenue that support the anime market, such as, theatres, videos, social media, comic cons, fashion, video games, music, and pachinko machines; however, television remains the highest sources of income (Hernández 2018, p. 6).
This exploration into the financial transactions surrounding anime has not only added to my understanding of its success but also the troubles it faces. In my initial response, my assumption of anime was that it was a niche, however, anime is more mainstream than I first believed. It could be considered a niche in Australia, but it may only be a matter of time for this status to change and become more successful as it has in many other destinations across the world.
Athique, A & Baulch, E (eds) 2019, Digital Transactions of Asia, Routledge, New York.
Funimation 2018, Happy One Piece, image, GIPHY, viewed 17 September 2021, <https://giphy.com/gifs/funimation-money-one-piece-nami-PoK3zuKMTYqNUFFbaG>.
Funimation 2019, One Piece Kiss, image, GIPHY, viewed 17 September 2021, <https://giphy.com/gifs/funimation-one-piece-nami-5sYeHNxWaqiN8fYoox>.
Hernández, A 2018, ‘The Anime Industry, Networks of Participation, and Environments for the Management of Content in Japan’, Arts, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 1-20.
Hunt, L 2020, ‘The Economies of Anime: Anime as a soft power, a cultural product and a (trans)national medium’, PhD thesis, Brunel University London.
Japan Info 2015, How Has Japanese Anime Influenced the World?, Japan Info, viewed 27 August 2021, <https://jpninfo.com/31964>.
Oóhagan, M 2007, ‘Manga, Anime and Video Games: Globalizing Japanese Cultural Production’, Perspectives – Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 242-247.
Statistica Research Department 2021, Sales revenue of the anime industry Japan 2019, Japan, April 2021, viewed 16 September 2021, <https://www.statista.com/statistics/1093754/japan-animation-industry-revenue-by-segment/>.