Mangaka - The Occupation
The 2005 Wealthiest People Ranking has been released. One of the occupations in the list was "mangaka," which appeared on the "Megawealth index." Certainly, being a mangaka must result in high pays and offer a luxurious life that people in a salary system long for. So how exactly does one spend their luxurious life?
A local magazine, "No!", from the Fukuoka area took a look at the real life of a mangaka. The special issue, "The Various Occupations," interviewed Ms. Yoshiko Chijiwa (who is currently active in Monthly "Dessert"). When asked about her annual income, she replied, "I cannot possibly survive with only manga (cry)". Ehhhh!? What does that mean!?
"Without a serialization, my income is irregular. I manage my budget by doing part-time lecturing at a specialty college for manga," says Yoshiko Chijiwa.
So without a serialization, a mangaka's job is unstable, in which case the income must be unstable without a regular manuscript fee. It is difficult for a mangaka if his or her series will not be released as tankobon, which makes it hard to win the loyalty of a magazine. Relying only on the manuscript fee for a living is a bit too much.
Then how much is the manuscript fee in comparison to the market? I tried find the answer from a manga magazine editor.
"I think it varies from magazine to magazine, for example, a monthly magazine would be around 10,000 yen per page. So if one draws 25 pages in a month, then the manuscript fee for that month is roughly around 250,000 yen," says an editor from an anonymous manga magazine.
250,000 yen is the "starting salary + bonus of a new employee"? On top of it being irregular, that much money is really harsh on the artists. In any case, mangaka has it tough, huh?
"I fall to the 'deadline hell' every time (laugh). My sleep decreases dramatically five days before the deadline, it's crazy.... Then, there's the problem of coming up with ideas. When I can't get inspired, I even pray to God, and turn to my editor when I'm in trouble! Let's think of an idea together," says Yoshiko Chijiwa.
After hearing that, being a mangaka really involves extraordinary labor; however, Ms. Chijiwa finally told me this: "For me, being a mangaka is 'a dream come true.' What doesn't happen in reality is granted to me in the manga. It is the best job that allows you let your own imagination exlode!"
On the other side of labor, it seems that for a mangaka, extraordinary joy awaits.
Translated by Floating_Sakura