Why Are Japanese Animators Paid So Little?
Hentai Artist Talks About How Editors Nearly Drove Them to Brink
The hentai industry is a dream come true for erotic artists. Who doesn’t want to get paid and gain fame for drawing sexy stories?
Sadly, one artist revealed that things aren’t too great. Canned Beef (牛野缶詰) is known for drawing Pokémon doujinshi, but they have been attempting to become official. The attempt turned them suicidal.
Canned Beef didn’t name a publisher, but they claim that a hentai editorial department was so toxic that it has forced them to quit manga and think about killing themself.
It all began with the low pay and unreasonable deadly lines. Canned Beef shared that they were only paid 7,000 yen ($63) per page every two months. The average hentai has about 24 pages, so that’s only 168,000 yen ($1,512) every two months. Try making that stretch with bills to pay.
But it gets worse, Canned Beef shared that their editors made it a hobby to reject their storyboards – and that their pay would be void after 200 rejected storyboards. Due to this, it wasn’t uncommon for Canned Beef to only be paid 80,000 yen ($719). Here’s a page that an editor rejected:
— 牛野缶詰 (@con_beef) August 22, 2018
Canned Beef felt locked-in, since they were prevented from freelancing for other publishers. The editors also prevented them from working with a sister magazine, telling them “they aren’t good enough.”
As a note, it’s common for publishing houses to publish an artist in multiple magazines as a way for them to build up a readership, experience, and to earn some side money.
One of the breaking points was Comiket. Canned Beef hoped to publish a doujinshi for the event, but editors imposed restrictions that they couldn’t meet. Despite Canned Beef’s growing frustration, an editor jokingly commented, “We’re thankful that doujinshi is making you more well-known! Oh, but please stop becoming a hentai punk like that!”
That statement made Canned Beef realize their situation, which led to them quitting. They apologized to the fans that were hoping to see them at Comiket, but they Tweeted “I just can’t draw there.
Canned Beef finished their Tweet storm with, “There’s no paradise to run away to, but if you’re about to be broken then running is your only choice.”
— 牛野缶詰 (@con_beef) August 27, 2018
On the plus side, Canned Beef has received an overwhelming amount of sympathy on Twitter and Pixiv. We hope to see Canned Beef bounce back once they take some time to themselves.