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I saw a post of this Japanese schoolteacher who had drawn a scene from Kimi no Na wa on the blackboard. It was pretty awesome. He had some other mind blowing drawings too. But in the comments one person had written: " Why does this guy not write/illustrate a manga?" To this someone had replied saying that: "Manga artists are underpaid in Japan and do not prefer to write mangas as a primary source of income."

Is it true that manga artists are not paid big sums of money in Japan? I thought they get lots of money from the magazines their manga is published in. And also from various other sources such as when we buy merchandise related to that manga or the anime version...

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According to this CNN travel article, whose statistics are echoed in an ANN article from 2011, manga is very much a winner-take-all system. In 2009, the top 100-earning mangaka from among all titles that had tankoubon published earned an average of $900,000. The top earner, Eiichiro Oda, made around $15 million.

However, out of 5,300 titles with tankoubon sold in 2009, the earnings for the other 5,200 titles averaged around $35,000. While this isn't nothing, it's hardly an amazing living, especially in Japan where cost of living tends to be higher.

The raw numbers also don't capture the difficulty of a mangaka's lifestyle. To make it at all, you can't just be a good artist. You have to shop your work around relentlessly, trying to catch an editor's interest. Once you actually get your work published, you have to work grueling hours to get finished on time. And no matter how hard you work, you might still get axed; magazines publish tons of series and unceremoniously cancel them after a few chapters, either leaving the stories unfinished or forcing terrible rushed endings. It's not surprising that someone would not pursue such a difficult and unstable career when your best plausible outcome is to earn $35,000 a year.

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