New Japanese invoice system could fundamentally harm the manga and anime industry

Manga Industry Foreign Correspondents' Club

A new tax and invoice system set to go in effect in October has more than a few Japanese content creators worried they will have to compromise their anonymity and possibly their safety.

Japan is implementing a “qualified invoice system” in order to more effective apply tax to freelance workers. Many freelancers in Japan allegedly avoid paying a “Consumption Tax” on their work which empowers them to receive better pay for their labor. However this new move by the Japanese government would seemingly force freelancers to foot the bill on the tax instead of their employers.

To make matters more difficult for freelancers, many creatives in Japan choose to protect themselves with pseudonyms and public personas. These anonymous creators are subtle such as Masamune Shirow (the pen name of the Ghost in the Shell creator) to more obvious such as the fledgling VTuber and Virtual Idol industries.

Yesterday, four representatives of the anime and manga industry held a press conference regarding the upcoming invoice system. Maya Okamoto, Masuo Ueda, Teruma Nishii, and Kyoji Koto spoke at a press conference hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. You can find the press conference below dubbed in English:

The representatives of the industry fear there will be “international repercussions” due to the invoice system’s potential chilling effect on creators’ ability to work.

Many manga artists are freelancers or sole proprietors, the two categories affected by these tax changes. As a result, many within the industry fear that they will be forced to go out of business due to the hardship created by the new tax and invoice system.

The grassroots movement “STOPINVOICE” has been coordinating efforts to highlight the potential damage Japan’s new system could do to the international fan community.



A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.

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