Seiyuu throughout the land are so hard pressed to find work that the vast majority can only subsist with the aid of additional employment, according to an industry insider.
The insider is しろがねしょおむ / Shomu Shirogane, the director of agency Winner Entertainment.
He has this to say about the business of voice acting:
“How many seiyuu are thee in the country at present?”
“It’s thought there are about 1600. Of that figure, about 10% are “free” (freelance as opposed to agency employed) seiyuu, and some 80% can’t make ends meet with just their voice acting work, so they work other jobs part-time.
The numbers go up a bit if you include all the actresses, idols, talent and so on. It’s said if you go so far as to include all the potential seiyuu candidates, the number swells to around 80,000, all in all.”
“There are that many? That’s quite harsh. What do you have to do to become one?”
“Probably the main shortcut is enrolling in a specialist seiyuu school, or in a training school run by an agency. By the way, there are actually more than 50 such specialist schools in the country, just for training seiyuu. Of course, just getting into one is no guarantee of becoming one.
In the seiyuu business there are also thought to be more than 850 seiyuu who are not actually formally employed by their agency, but are instead temporarily attached.
Even if they do get formally employed, it’s no guarantee they’ll find work soon, they have to keep auditioning constantly whilst working part time. Their income is by no means stable.
And then even if they land a part, they may only be employed if their fee is low – if it climbs too high they are no longer wanted.”
Via Ameba News.
Clearly, this is a highly competitive trade, and not one which is necessarily highly remunerative.
Of course, supremely talented though they are, the cost of extravagantly paid seiyuu has to come from somewhere, so from this perspective anime and game fans may very well be much better served by the money going towards production or development, or else going to the original creators and encouraging more such works, rather than fuelling the ever increasing girth of Aya Hirano…