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80% of Seiyuu work at McDonalds

12:37 AM on 01.09.2009 // God Len

Yes it’s true, well partly true; 80% of anime Seiyuu have to work part-time jobs in order to make ends meet. Meaning, that quiet, unattractive, zit-faced waiter in Japan that served you was probably Nobuyuki Hiyama; yeah you should of asked him for an autograph when you had the chance.  Now the man behind this statement, Shomu Shirogane, the director of agency Winner Entertainment has this to say about the business (after the jump.)


“How many seiyuu are thee in the country at present?”

“It’s thought there are about 1600. Of that figure, about 10% are “free” (freelance as opposed to agency employed) seiyuu, and some 80% can’t make ends meet with just their voice acting work, so they work other jobs part-time.
The numbers go up a bit if you include all the actresses, idols, talent and so on. It’s said if you go so far as to include all the potential seiyuu candidates, the number swells to around 80,000, all in all.”

“There are that many? That’s quite harsh. What do you have to do to become one?”

“Probably the main shortcut is enrolling in a specialist seiyuu school, or in a training school run by an agency. By the way, there are actually more than 50 such specialist schools in the country, just for training seiyuu. Of course, just getting into one is no guarantee of becoming one.

In the seiyuu business there are also thought to be more than 850 seiyuu who are not actually formally employed by their agency, but are instead temporarily attached.

Even if they do get formally employed, it’s no guarantee they’ll find work soon, they have to keep auditioning constantly whilst working part time. Their income is by no means stable. And then even if they land a part, they may only be employed if their fee is low – if it climbs too high they are no longer wanted.”

Well, this makes perfect sense, 20% out of 1600 seiyuu is about 320; 320 popular and talented seiyuu who can afford to live off being a seiyuu alone. That leaves us with 1280 who have to find some other means to bring home the bacon. Even though this is kind of expected, it is still disheartening to know that 80% still can’t fully live the dream. Though it’s also nice to know that there are hidden seiyuu working around Japan at any given moment.

[Via Sankaku Complex]

God Len,
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