There has been much talk over the years about the state of animation in Japan. From being overworked, being underpaid to working literally to death. After the continually growing concern about these conditions hurting the hard-at-work artists and the anime industry as a whole, there has been several attempts at making changes. Just last year, the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida vowed to bring about changes towards better pay within the animation industry. There’s also a group called Animator’s Dormitory which strives to support and help new members of the animation industry as they step into the world of animation for their first 3 years in the business.
Now a new attempt of change has been created just in May of this year. CloverWorks, WIT STUDIO, Shueisha, and Aniplex have joined together a new company focused on the production of art and animation. CloverWorks and WIT STUDIOS are the animation studio. Followed by Aniplex as the producer, with Shueisha as the publisher. With these three different sectors, they become JOEN.
They describe their vision as:
“…high-quality animation is vital to the success of creative works. As such, animation studios have begun to play a greater role in the production process, simultaneously shouldering the growing demands and expectations that accompany it. Even if the final product—or the company that created said product—is successful, it can be difficult to distribute the profits among the staff, creators, and those involved in the animation studio.
To bring about change to the present situation, we aim to collaborate with these studios to build a new business model, wherein profits are directed back to the creators. To nourish the production of high-quality animation, we as a production company would like to lay down the foundation for a long and prosperous future wherein creators can produce animation comfortably. We aspire to introduce a new structure for those involved in the creation of animation, by creating an environment that allows for the continuous production of high-quality animation while ensuring studios and creators are rewarded in line with what they produce.”
As they describe, the name JOEN comes from the word JOIN. Simply add three lines to the letter I, and you get JOEN. “These three stripes are reminiscent of the famous Japanese legend of the Three Arrows, which turned the three arrows into a Japanese symbol of unity and teamwork. Through the incorporation of these three tenets, the company will endeavor to play a supporting role, and facilitate smooth connections between organizations.”
According to the website, “We strive to support the animation industry and related ventures by taking a supporting role and allowing the people involved in planning, production, and distribution to take center stage. We’d like to rise to the challenge of establishing a new framework for the animation industry through cooperation with those who can help us accomplish this goal.
Supporting Creativity, Empowering Creators.”
Hopefully the combination of these major companies can help bring about much needed change towards a healthier environment for everyone for a stronger future of anime content production.