‘Japanese animation,’ which makes much money worldwide, is in frenzy and chaos.

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At the end of April, Ichijo Sunami, managing director of Comics Wave Films, which worked on the blockbuster anime movie “Suzume no Tojimemari,” landed at Gimpo International Airport in South Korea with director Makoto Shinkai.

The final stage of the world tour includes screenings in 9 countries and 13 cities for about two months. I entered the city of Seoul after watching Shinkai wait for a bodyguard to the extent that he needed a bodyguard even though it was daytime on a weekday.

I visited Animate, a well-known anime specialty store in Japan, to hold an autograph session for Director Shinkai. Managing Director Sunami, who had imagined an atmosphere filled with otaku fans, was shocked by the expansive scenery, just like another overseas Animate store he visited about ten years ago.

Japanese anime is no longer a “subculture.”
The area where the store is located in Hongdae, a youth town known as the “Harajuku of Korea.” The inside of the store is not at all otaku, and young people pick up anime goods as if they were trendy fashion items. Managing Director Sunami was convinced. “Japanese anime is no longer a subculture. It has become the world’s main culture.”

The internet and television are buzzing daily with news about the remarkable achievements of Japanese animation overseas. Released in China in March, “Suzume no Toshimari” surpassed 15 billion yen in local box office revenue. At the same time, on April 20, an anime movie based on the popular basketball manga “SLAM DUNK” was released in the country, quickly reaching 12 billion yen.

This is not a transient phenomenon. In 2021, the movie version of “Kimetsu no Yaiba,” a social phenomenon in Japan, became the highest-grossing foreign-language movie released in the United States in 2021.

On the other hand, in Brazil, piracy damage to Japanese animation will occur on a scale of 200 billion yen in one year from August 2021. A search of the suspect’s home was carried out earlier this year as part of a crackdown by industry groups and the country’s justice ministry.

Japanese animation has become a movement that has surpassed enthusiasm and even created chaos worldwide.

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