Will “Japanese Anime” Follow the Same Path as Home Appliances and Japanese Movies?

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Before I knew it, I was overtaken by someone who was disappointed that the technology and quality were “lower.” Will such a nightmare be repeated?

Recently, various media and experts have often advocated the threat theory that “the Japanese animation industry may lose overseas.”

As you know, anime is a Japanese specialty. Ghibli, One Piece, Attack on Titan, and recently, Kimetsu Kaisen and Jujutsu Kaisen are all popular anime works overseas. However, China and South Korea threaten to become the “world’s number one anime powerhouse.”

It is pointed out as the basis that Chinese and Korean creators who have studied animation production in Japan in recent years are making high-quality works after returning to Japan. In addition, even in Japan, the world-famous low-wage labor state, the harsh working environment at the animation production site is by far the best, and it is also significant that engineers who are disgusted with black labor have begun to “outflow overseas”. ..

Do you feel deja vu in such an episode? Yes, home appliances, semiconductors, etc., which were said to be “the best in Japan’s technology in the world,” were overtaken by Chinese and Korean manufacturers who were looking “below” themselves. It’s very similar to the pattern.

Of course, there is an opinion that such an indication is off the mark. What is essential in the anime business is not the “country” but the “brand.” Even if you look at the popular anime rankings overseas, Japanese manga original works are overwhelmingly popular.

China and South Korea are at the stage of imitating that, so even if sales and market size are overtaken, the competitiveness and value of Japanese animation will not be shaken. From the perspective of copyright business and content power, many experts say that Japan will not lose.

There is a part that I am convinced that “I see,” but personally, when such an opinion comes out, on the contrary, I feel a little dangerous.

Looking at the “losing industries” so far, they do not accept the fact that China and South Korea are growing on their shoulders, and “Japan will not lose” and “Japan’s superiority will not be shaken.” This is because there are overwhelmingly many patterns in which people continue to shout and decline.

In the early 2000s, when Chinese white goods manufacturers such as Haier began expanding overseas, many Japanese people laughed with a nose, “Isn’t there a lot of breakdowns anyway?” There was a widespread view among experts that “the status of Japanese home appliance makers is unwavering,” so they did not take any measures.

Even though the brands were still in China and South Korea, the core parts of those home appliances were often made by Japanese manufacturers. In short, I firmly grasped the essential technical part, so I was relieved that the competitiveness and value of “Made in Japan” would not decline.

However, this sweet idea was wrong. While experts argued loudly that “Japanese manufacturers are dangerous,” Chinese manufacturers have grown steadily and can now buy Japanese manufacturers.

In 2012, Panasonic sold Sanyo Electric’s washing machine/refrigerator business to Haier. In 2016, Toshiba sold its white goods business to Media (China), and Haier acquired General Electric’s (GE) home appliances business. In 2018, Toshiba sold its television and other video businesses to Heissen (China).

Naturally, China’s technological capabilities will increase as a result of numerous such acquisitions. It’s been less than ten years since I was proud that “Japan’s superiority is unwavering,” and it has become a reminder that “Japan’s white goods are the best in the world.”

This structure also applies to the Japanese content business. Japanese movies were in the same position as current anime until the early 1960s. “The number of Japanese movies produced is 443 per year, which is the highest in the world” (Yomiuri Shimbun, March 28, 1958), looking at other countries “below.”

Works by Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa fascinated filmmakers around the world. The Western movie “The Magnificent Seven” is a remake of “Seven Samurai,” and “Star Wars” was also inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress.” The same phenomenon that Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno were respected by anime producers worldwide. Their works and techniques were imitated occurred in Japanese films more than 50 years ago.

Then, unfortunately, the superiority of Japanese movies is still swaying. The production cost is less than one-tenth that of overseas, and monetization is difficult. A filmmaker active in the world, such as director Hirokazu Koreeda, expresses a sense of crisis, saying, “Japanese films will end as they are.”

In contrast to such a declining Japanese movie, South Korea has been watching “below” for a long time. The first Academy Award in Asia is a Korean work. Korean dramas have grown into content that sells in the global market, including “Squid Game,” a record hit on Netflix.

In South Korea, where the entertainment industry had not developed under the military government until the 1990s, after democratization, the entertainment industry of Japan and the United States was thoroughly studied, and the whole country focused on entertainment exports. In other words, this is the same as white goods, and “I was overtaken even though I came later.”

Certainly, Japan’s superiority, which now has many “popular manga works,” is unwavering. But what if publishers with those copyrights were acquired by Chinese capital?

Just as the acquisition of Sanyo Electric, Toshiba, and Sharp led to the improvement of the technological capabilities of Chinese manufacturers, there may be world-class hit manga such as “One Piece” and “Attack on Titan” coming out of China. If that happens, there should be a lot of Chinese animation that sells in the world, so the superiority of Japanese animation, “there are many original mangas that sell in the world,” will rattle and crumble. It is the same defeat pattern as white goods and Japanese movies.

You may think that you are thinking too much, but in fact, there are advanced cases in China that are already making such acquisitions and raising the level of “domestic content.” It’s a movie.

For example, Alibaba started investing in “Mission Impossible / Rogue Nation” in 2015, and in 2016, it co-produced and jointly invested with Steven Spielberg’s movie company Amblin Pictures. It’s tied.

In addition, the real estate giant Wanda Group acquired AMC Entertainment in 2012 and has become the largest movie theater chain in the world. In 2016, it acquired US Legendary Entertainment, which produces “The Dark Knight” and “GODZILLA Godzilla.”

In this way, Chinese money is in the world movie industry.

The level of Chinese cinema is rising.
When you hear the story, many people may have the impression that “Chinese actresses should be the main characters in Hollywood works, and China should not be portrayed as a villain.” Indeed, in the movie “Top Gun” with Chinese capital, the problem of “use of movie propaganda” is also a problem. There is a story that the flags of Japan and Taiwan that were in the leading flight jacket in the previous work disappeared. These acquisitions have raised the bar for Chinese films.

For example, the works that have hit China so far have been big movies overseas. According to JETRO’s “Chinese Film / TV Market Research,” only four of the top 10 box office revenues in 2017 were domestic films, and the rest were overseas films such as Hollywood.

However, in 20 years, all of the top 10 movies have become Chinese domestic films. Of course, this may be due to the influence of the new Corona, but it is not unrelated to the fact that the “evaluation” of Chinese films has risen.

“Chinese people are now rationally choosing movies, and they no longer respect it just because it’s a” Hollywood movie, “and even more praise for interesting domestic movies. It has become” (People’s Network Japanese version January 05, 2021)

Why is it evaluated? One is the domestic boom called “national tide.” As symbolized by “bomb buying,” it used to be very popular in China as “Japanese cosmetics are of high quality,” but now Chinese cosmetics makers are becoming popular. “Domestic” is favored because of growing patriotism.

Of course, this also applies to movies. The movie “Eight Hundred-Heroes of the Battlefield,” which was the most hit in China in 20 years, is set in the Sino-Japanese War, and the Japanese army is a bad guy, so you can understand what it is without looking at it.

However, it is not a simple story that this movie was a hit because it stimulated the patriotism of Chinese people. The total production cost is 8 billion yen in Japanese yen, the same level as Hollywood’s entertainment blockbuster. By the way, the average production cost of major Japanese movies is 350 million yen. Letting money say something, Tim Crosbie, the VFX supervisor of “X-MEN” and “The Lord of the Rings,” participates.

However, it is a scary part of the movie business that it can slip a lot even if you pour money into it, but this work has produced good results. With over $ 461 million worldwide, it ranks first in the world box office revenue rankings for 20 years.

In China this year, “Lake Nagatsu,” which is based on the Korean War, is viral, but on the other hand, a work called “Hello Mom,” ​​directed by a famous Chinese female comedian, is also a hit. The fact that such a wide range of works have been mass-produced and received high praise may mean that domestic content production capabilities have improved as we acquired overseas movie companies.

Well, let’s return to “animation” there. Although the level of Chinese animation is rising and the market is growing, it is still not popular globally. On the other hand, although the market for Japanese animation has shrunk, many works have received high praise worldwide. There is also technology. There are also many prestigious creators. In that sense, there is nothing to lose to China.

However, if China develops the animation industry as a national policy, why not reach out to Japanese publishers, manga authors, and animation production companies?

To develop the movie industry, China has even acquired a US movie company that is geopolitically crackling. In Japan, which is so close and economically dependent, there is no reason not to do the same.

If that happens, the Chinese animation industry will develop at once with the mechanism we have talked about. A massive amount of money is invested so that Ghibli works can not reach the feet, significant works are made, and the market is activated. Since many human resources are gathered, it is not surprising that “Shun Miyazaki of China” and “Hideaki Anno of China” will appear among young creators.

In other words, the time may come when Chinese animation, which was previously seen “below,” will be on par with Japanese animation, no, overtaken.

The era of overtaking may come.
“Mobile Suit Gundam,” which spread the word “Japanimation” to the world, will be visualized in Hollywood. Many people have said “Stop it” because of the failure to make live-action films such as “Dragon Ball” so far, but there are many people who like it when it leads to the re-evaluation of Japan’s proud animation “Gundam.”

However, this work is being produced by a movie company with Chinese capital, Legendary Entertainment, which I mentioned earlier.

Initially, it was Japanese killer content, so it should be made into a live-action film by the Japanese and sold worldwide. It is not from nationalism, but unless it is industrialized in its own country, the “next” will not continue.

According to Teikoku Databank, 60% of the 300 Japanese animation production companies have 20 employees or less, and 30% have sales of “less than 100 million yen.” Full of small and medium-sized enterprises, low-wage workers are killing their lives and supporting high quality.

Initially, it was the cornerstone of content to be sold to the world, so as a national policy, these small companies must be integrated and reorganized to create a vast animation production company. As the size of the company grows, investment can be attracted, and wages rise. Exports will also be promoted. That’s precisely what Studio Dragon sells Korean dramas to the world.

While saying “Japanese animation is popular in the world,” only those in the copyright business are getting rich. The “maker” does not have the benefit. That is why it is necessary to have a system to firmly industrialize content in Japan, rather than a style that allows content to be sold to overseas companies.

White goods, semiconductors, shipbuilding, steel, and Japanese movies … While shouting “Japanese brands are unwavering” and “Japanese technology is the best in the world,” the same smell as the industry that was overtaken one after another drifts from “animation.” Is it because of my mind?

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