Police have confirmed that A-1 Pictures worked one of their animators to death, ruling that being made to work hundreds of hours of overtime a month drove him to suicide.

The case centres on a man, 28 at the time of his death in 2010, employed on as a full-time animator at A-1 Pictures from 2006 to the end of 2009.

In 2010 the man quit his job after suffering severe depression, having been denied a transfer after his health collapsed, and later in the year committed suicide, prompting his bereaved family to retain a lawyer and pursue his former employer as being directly liable in a case of “karoushi” – death through overwork.

For some reason A-1 Pictures kept no record of the hours employees actually worked, but hospital records included the revelation that he “worked 600 hours in a month,” and Shinjuku police in charge of enforcing labour regulations confirmed that in the months prior to his diagnosis with depression he worked over 100 hours of overtime each month.

The family’s lawyer claims the reality was significantly worse, saying online posts he left suggest he started suffering from depression in 2008 and had to work from 134 to 344 hours of overtime in the months leading up to his departure.

He also mentions that “he frequently could not go home and no evidence of him ever being paid for any of this overtime survives” – at one point spending an entire week sleeping at the studio, and working for 3 months without any day off.

Despite the discrepancy in accounts, the family have nonetheless likely won the case – the police investigation officially concluded his death was caused by depression stemming from overwork.

His family say they launched the suit because “He loved anime and worked fervently – we wish nothing similar to occur at an anime studio in future.”

A-1 Pictures say “the police verdict was unexpected, and as we don’t know how they arrived at it we cannot comment.”

The man worked as a production coordinator, and titles he was involved in include Kannagi and Ookiku Furikabutte.

The case has prompted outrage online – anime studios already being notorious even amongst Japanese companies for exploiting their animators with miserable pay and working conditions:

“Rest in peace. I liked the studio but 600 hours in a month is just inhuman.”

“20 hours a day or something to that effect… my prayers are with him.”

“I work 12 hours a day and that is bad enough. This is awful.”

“He worked on some top titles… such a shame. RIP.”

“I would suppose they impose the same conditions on the rest of their employees?”

The men behind this.”

“Criminal liability should be sought against the directors!”

“Cool Japan – what a joke when this is what lies behind it.”

“A-1 is blacker than black!”

“Labour standards need to raid this company. 600 hours is outrageous. A 5 day work week of 8 hours a day is 160 hours, and even 16 hours a day is only 320. 600 is like 20 hours a day every day of the month. They treated him as a slave… poor guy.”

“Why is the anime industry like this? They just through away their artistic talents with this kind of treatment.”

“Hard to enjoy anime hearing stories like this about how it is made.”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    07:07 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I worked in Japan for 2 years; they only gave me 10 holidays to use each year (but got angry if i requested to use them) and a few sick days I could take (but got angry if I needed to use them), public holidays didn't exist.
    I used to try and make smalltalk with coworkers - so many of them didnt even have any hobbies because they literally had no time to do anything else. And there were still old guys who looked down on westerners for having 2 weekend days and an average working day of 9-5, despite the proven health benefits of leisure time it's just not 'honourable' to not work yourself to death or something. The average japanese salaryman thinks he's working hard for the sake of his family, but its all just a front, its just for his dumb 'honour of a man' bullshit while his kids and wife never get to see him and he passes out in a hotel somewhere with a hooker.

    The reason 'NEET' is such a problem in japan is incredibly obvious. It's a horrible workforce and I wouldnt want to be involved in it either; I'm glad I only spent two years and was given slightly more leeway as a foreigner.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:15 20/04/2014 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    i was fired from my job when i used that 10 day holiday. the next day they told me that theyre not gonna renew my contract. fuck japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:14 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Should have found a better job first, then used those 10days so they'd shit can you without you having to break any signed contracts.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:44 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm sure they were like, stupid foreigners not working themselves to death! they have no honor!

    Avatar of Denshousha
    Comment by Denshousha
    00:33 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I tried working there a few years ago. I was extremely jetlagged from the LONG flight and these bastards wanted me to start filling out the paperwork for my job the very instant I stepped off the plane.

    I told them I was very jetlagged and exhausted from the flight and I would need 24 hours rest to acclimate. The refused. They said I must begin working immediately the next morning. (Which was only in a few hours at this point.)

    My spider-sense was tingling. I could tell what kind of job this was going to be and I quit right there. In retrospect I should have just told them to fuck off and just started making demands.

    I agree with you about NEETs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:49 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    >And there were still old guys who looked down on westerners for having 2 weekend days and an average working day of 9-5

    If only more of these fossils would die off from being overworked already.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    07:57 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yah I had an employer who didn't believe in sick days or time off.

    I fucking quit that job and got a new one.
    Ended up the best decision I ever made.

    The funny thing they could keep anyone for long.
    The person replace me I heard lasted a little more then half as long and I heard she just walked.

    Avatar of かん いか
    Comment by かん いか
    23:53 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yes, but unfortunately, a disproportionate number of Japanese men don't have the balls to quit such a shitty work situation and find something better. It's the "Since everyone else is working 16+ hours days, I have to as well, or else I'll be that nail that sticks up!" bullshit.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:14 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    When I was working in a factory in Japan the japanese guys were the ones that didn't want to work overtime while we the foreigners would work more for the extra money.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:21 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    my cousin who lives next door works twelve hours each day and when he comes back home he does housekeeping chores for his stay at home wife since she doesn't want to and is always angry,he never spends any time and with their kids and always looks dead tired,we both live in france.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:50 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    It is illegal. But a lot of employers don't give a fuck about labor laws, and lots of salarymen back them up on this (i got some colleagues asking me if I had taken half a day as holiday when going home at 5pm - despite arriving at work at 8am).

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    13:59 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    I thought that was illegal to do in France even for management or is he self employed?

    Also lazy wife is lazy.

    This is not a male female thing just who ever gets to stay home should do the chores.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:50 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    NEETS are a problem, because they can just make people work more hours, rather than actually hire additional people or push back deadlines.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:27 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Which kills the whole point of overtime.

    Labor laws determine that employers pay more outside their usual 8 to 9 hours, precisely to encourage employers to hire more people.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:36 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nah, they just make the employees work as much as they can anyway to "keep costs low".

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:03 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    How much do they even pay the animators? Worked 100+ hours in overtime a month should still be a lot of income even if they get paid $5 (500yen~?) an hour. I would have just quit.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:42 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I don't think overtime works like that if you are on a salary. You're scenario implies hourly wage.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:50 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    normaly overtime should get paid twice

    Avatar of Noodlestein
    Comment by Noodlestein
    09:22 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    This. Also may depends per country

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:42 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    In Japan, there's something called "service overtime" where you work overtime without getting paid. Some honor or loyalty to their company bullshit, and companies milk this regularly.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:15 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    they DON'T pay overtime

    Avatar of rorix
    Comment by rorix

    This is not paid overtime. They tell you that if you don't work like that you will get fired, and in Japan getting your ass fired is practically a death sentence in the labor market. "Better" to work as a slave than not work at all, I guess they they think in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:50 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    he is not an animator, but "production assistant".
    This job is bad VERY MUCH.

    They earn ONLY 1500$ in a month,
    work over 16 hours in one day,
    And, NO HOLIDAY!

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:04 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    What the fuck I make almost that much in my crappy ass retail job, that kind of pay to an artist is immoral and criminal. I feel so bad for this guy...

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:57 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)


    Do you think "Why they resign this job?"

    They and he love anime so much!

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:12 30/04/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)


    They don't quit jobs like this because:

    1) They have nothing else to turn to
    2) Quitting a job means serious backlash from their fucked-up society
    3) They don't have enough guts to stand up for themselves

    Japan is the worst "sophisticated" place to live in if you value your life, freedom and individuality.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:29 24/01/2016 # ! Neutral (0)

    "if you value your life"? Japan has the highest life expectancy of the industrialised countries.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:26 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    It also said he had a family so quitting might be hard if he was the only one bringin food to the table...

    Comment by Anonymous


    in animation drawing salary with 600hrs is

    $36000 a year. so that is sick.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    13:53 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Well they feel they have a chance of moving up the corporate ladder to a better job so they endure the shit position.

    Then there's the belief that quitting a job would leave a huge negative mark on their resume.
    I guess in Japan it's a far bigger deal then in lets say the US where it's something almost everyone has done at one point.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:40 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Very true about that.

    Some Canadian people are concerned about their condition.

    In Japan, No Excuses.

    Trust Me. I see a lot of realistic scene.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    20:12 22/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Plus, with those working hours it's hard to look for another job while keeping this one. And with the salary as it is, it might also be pretty hard to be unemployed for too long..

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:06 22/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    +1 Zettai no Majo.

    And for those who haven't read the novel Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb, or seen the movie version with Sylvie Testud: read it, or watch it. It's autobiographical and it tells a lot about how hard the culture of work is in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:55 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.6)

    The death of anime won't be from pirating. But from the anime studios themselves by making the industry into such a undesirable field to work.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:58 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.7)

    I totally agree with u

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:42 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Killing the goose that laid the golden egg....

    Avatar of Noodlestein
    Comment by Noodlestein
    09:21 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    That sounds like a very likely possibility. A shame really.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:40 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not really. A huge number of people in Japan consider anime a passion and would gladly take over this poor guys job. He could have quit, but didn't. This attitude of 'there's more where he came from' has lead the studios to use people up as expendables.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage
    13:48 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (-0.3)

    Yah I would not want to work in any field that want me to regularly put in 150 hour weeks.

    You'd pretty much be living at work.
    I guess this explains a lot of the animation mistakes called flubs you sometimes see.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    16:25 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    I dare say most of us would not want to work in Japan. Period. Simply because they expect you to do overtime and not get paid for it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:46 22/04/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I dunno about you, but every retail store I've worked actively discourages overtime even one minute over.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:26 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    You've clearly never worked retail America.

    Even if you're union, you're still required to put as much unpaid overtime in as possible because your supervisor will assign unreasonable amounts of work that will never be done.

    Here's a dose of reality:
    "If you are given more work than you can reasonably accomplish, then you don't clock out."

    Retail America will tell you to clock out and keep working. Don't do it.

    Avatar of Benoist
    Comment by Benoist
    11:24 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    or in video games industry

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:26 20/04/2014 # ! Good (+0.5)

    Expected already. Same shit as dreaming to live in japan. Your dream is over as soon as you understand how much you have to work in japan to survive...

    Japaneses doesn't give a fuck to pawns of industry/commerce. Work 12 hours a day and use Monday at bed since your body will be so fadiged to do anything... Plus, weekends in japan? What a joke.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:57 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    It's actually kinda hilarious in an absurd way.

    Work more+abenomics=earn more but prices all rise so your buying power is reduced.

    The other fun thing is what the evil bitch from the IMF is proposing: more women in the work force so more dual income families. So far in the USA dual income has just lead to higher mortgages, higher prices, depression, neglected children, weakened families, higher divorce rate.

    Avatar of Denshousha
    Comment by Denshousha
    00:40 21/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, the USA shouldn't be giving moral advice to anyone. And this is an American speaking here.
    The Japanese family is doing just fine with mom properly raising the kids.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:38 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Not to mention, it's also gonna accelerate the declining birth rate because those women are gonna be overworked too and too tired to have and raise children.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Its funny how retards like you speak about things they have ZERO idea. You write that if a japanese woman start to work there will be no children. Japan has the lowest birth rate on the planet. Japanese population is declining for few years now. So their system is not working correctly in the first place. FFS shoot yourself in the head.

    Avatar of Dark Mage
    Comment by Dark Mage

    I do see a correlation between problem children and the so called latchkey child syndrome.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:11 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    08:58 20/04/2014 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thus why all the men are impotent & all the women remain unsatisfied.

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