How Much Does a Manga Artist Make? (Japan vs America)


Manga artists give us some of the most beautiful works of art we have ever seen. The extreme amount of time and effort they put into every panel does not go unrecognized. They deserve to be rewarded for all their hard work.

The average manga artist in Japan generally earns $30,000 to $60,000 every year. Meanwhile, the average manga artist in the US earns $65,000 every year. Much of the rate depends on what manga they’re working on. They could also earn royalties if the manga becomes popular.

However, we all know that there is a considerable disparity in this salary range. Established manga artists earn much more, whereas beginner manga artists earn much less. Read on to learn more about this!

How much does an American manga artist make?

On average, an American manga artist makes $65,000 yearly. Still, this largely depends on what manga they’re working on and how established they are in the field.

Manga artists have a median salary of $21.56 per hour. That is according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics. If they work 8 hours a day, they would earn $172.48 daily and $862.4 weekly. That is, presuming that they work 5 days a week.

However, given the lifestyle of manga artists, they could potentially work 7 days a week. That pushes up a manga artist’s weekly salary to $1,207.36. That’s $4,830 monthly and $58,000 yearly.

Meanwhile, the mean salary of manga artists in America is $25.52. We would see that there is a difference in the median salary. This implies that a small number of well-paid manga artists push up this statistic.

A manga artist earning the mean salary of $25.52 would have $204.16 daily and $1,020.8 weekly. That is if they work 5 days a week. Working 7 days a week would push up their salary to $1,430.

Then there are the manga artists in the 90th percentile, who earn $170 per hour. That amounts to $1,360 per day for 8 hours. This daily income is nearly as much as what a mean salary manga artist earns in a week.

Further, a manga artist in the 90th percentile would be earning $6,800 weekly and $27,200 monthly. That makes a yearly salary of $326,400.

According to Comparably, the highest salary for a manga artist in America is $339,998 annually. That would translate to an hourly salary of $177.

Here’s a table that could help you understand these ranges better:

Salary levelHourlyDaily (8 hours)Weekly (5 days)MonthlyYearly
Median salary$21.56$172.48$862.4$3,449.6$41,395.2
Mean salary$25.52$204.16$1,020.8$4,083.2$48,998.4
90th percentile$170$1,360$6,800$27,200$326,400

Now, here’s a factor to consider: location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manga artist salaries vary per state or city. Those with the highest ranges are New Mexico, California, and Indiana.

How much does a manga artist make in Japan?

On average, a manga artist earns $30,000 to $60,000 every year in Japan. This depends on their position and contribution to the manga. Main manga artists earn the most.

Base salary

A manga artist in Japan earns an average of 5,500 yen ($41.41) per manuscript page. The normal range is between 3,000 yen ($22.59) to 8,000 yen ($60.23).

Now, a manga that is published weekly has an average of 20 pages. Meanwhile, a manga that is published monthly has an average of 40 pages.

This means that manga artists who work on weekly publications earn an average of $828.2 every week. This totals to a monthly salary of $3,312.

Meanwhile, manga artists who work on monthly publications earn an average of $1,656.4 every month.

It is worthy of note that many manga artists hire assistants out of their own pockets. This means that the base salary they get to take home will be further reduced.

Here’s a breakdown of a manga artist’s expected salary for easier viewing.

For manga artists that publish weekly:

  • Yearly: $40,000
  • Monthly: $3,300
  • Weekly: $830
  • Daily: $120

For manga artists that publish monthly:

  • Yearly: $20,000
  • Monthly: $1,700
  • Weekly: $425
  • Daily: $60

Volume royalties

The rich and successful manga artists mainly get their income from royalties. For instance, Eiichiro Oda once earned 1.3 billion yen in one year just from royalties. That’s over $15 million. Then again, very few manga artists ever make it to that level.

Volume royalties typically make up most of a manga artist’s salary. However, a manga artist receiving financial success from volume royalties is fairly low.

The percentages look like this. During the first run of a manga publication, a manga artist will typically receive 8-10% of all copies released. In the succeeding runs, only the number of volumes sold will be credited to them.

Let’s get into the math of this. Let’s presume that a manga artist will be selling his manga for 500 yen ($3.77) a piece. If the publishing company orders 50,000 and he has an 8% royalty, then:

$3.77 x 50,000 x 8% = $15,080

He is expected to make $15,080 just from that first print.

Now, let’s presume that the manga sells well and a second run is ordered. Even if 20,000 copies were printed, the manga artist will only receive royalties from the copies he sold.

This means that if he sold only 1,500 copies from the second run, he will only receive an additional $452.4.

Much of the money-making potential on this end then lies in the popularity of a certain manga.

Money from anime adaptations

First and foremost, the expected payment for an anime adaptation varies. How popular is the manga before it is adapted into an anime? How well do producers expect it to be? Is there a demand among the fanbase?

If the expectations are high, the manga artist will be able to negotiate higher fees. But we know that underrated and less popular gems get adaptations too. In such cases, the manga artists may not have the same leverage.

It is important to note here that the fees we’re talking about are licensing, not royalties. Manga artists rarely receive money from the box office. They only receive a flat licensing fee. Hence, they would earn more from manga sales than anime adaptations.

A good base or estimate for payments received from anime is 150,000 yen ($1,131.45) to 200,000 yen ($1,508.24). This is per 20 or 30-minute episode. One season of 12 episodes would then amount to an average of $15,800.

Here’s a table to help you visualize the potential profits:

Number of SeasonsNumber of episodes per seasonLicensing Fees

However, it is rare to encounter anime adaptations that run for multiple anime seasons. Most of them are limited to just one season.

Following the same range for movies, licensing for a 90-minute anime movie would be around $5,000. That’s really not that much. Yet even then, the fees of live-action remakes are considerably lower. This means that there isn’t much to gain in terms of finances in that regard.

Now, it’s time to hear from you:

Did I miss anything?

Do you think manga artists are paid enough? Why or why not?

Whatever your answer is, let’s hear it in the comments below.

How Much Does a Manga Artist Make? (Japan vs America)

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