The End of Anonymity: How the New Japanese Law Could Transform the Manga Industry

The End of Anonymity: New Japanese Invoice System

June 29, 2023

What We Know

Japan is about to take a step that might change the landscape of its animation and manga industry. The country plans to introduce a new filing system (better known as “Japanese Invoice System”) for invoices in October 2023, which will require Mangakas, VTubers, Illustrators, and other artists who have been working anonymously to reveal their identities. Based on the information that was revealed, it will be stored in a database that will be accessible to the public. The Ministry of Finance has finalized this system and has no plans to change or review it. The individual’s real name will be used as the point of identification in the new system, which is aimed at making it efficient for companies to deal with bulk invoices​1​.

Why It Is Good

This new law could have potential benefits for the industry. Firstly, it could bring more transparency and accountability. The new invoice system will simplify the process for tax authorities to collect data on how businesses are paying their contractors, including VTubers and Mangakas. This might also encourage more responsible business practices within the industry. Furthermore, fans and consumers might appreciate knowing the real people behind their favorite characters and stories, which could create a stronger bond between fans and authors.

Why It Is Bad

On the other hand, it could stifle creativity and personal freedom. Many artists in the manga and virtual space prefer to work under pseudonyms for various reasons, including personal safety and creative freedom. We have seen too many cases when manga authors or any other artists, whether it was a vtuber, a light novel writer, or an illustrator, would get threats, and in some cases, worse. Being forced to reveal their true identities could lead to a significant shortage of people and make them think twice before deciding to pursue this path. It’s full of vulnerability to harassment, criticism, and private life that they have been able to avoid until now. Furthermore, it’s alarming how the law doesn’t seem to have robust measures to protect the personal information that will be made public, raising further concerns1.

Impact on Japan and the Industry

The new law could have far-reaching consequences for both Japan and its renowned animation and manga industry. This might be too great of a sacrifice for some artists, leading them to leave the industry. This could result in a loss of talent and potentially stifle innovation and creativity, which has been a prime example for all authors of the industry. Moreover, Japan’s global reputation as a hub for animation and manga might be affected if the law results in a decline in the quality or quantity of output. It could be expected whether it’s a solo author or a big studio will be too afraid to try something new to prevent any issues. However, we must understand that, as humans, we all think, see, and do things differently. It’s close to impossible to please everyone, and there will always be someone who won’t be pleased with your work and actions. Unless there are going to be some adjustments or rules for the safety and protection of privacy, we can only expect a decline of the Industry.

What Does It Mean To Us

It’s hard to give accurate expectations of what to expect or how it will turn out. As of now, from a consumer point of view, it’s obviously a bad thing with way more cons rather than pros. However, it’s important to remember that Japan, on its own, is an entirely different world. Don’t get me wrong. I’m saying that Japan, in most instances, is ahead of time, and a good example would be its Financial and Economic structure. Let’s see this from a different point of view, and hopefully, over time, when this new system goes live, we will have a clearer understanding of what to expect, and hopefully, all of our concerns will vanish as we will see step forward in the development of the Industry.

As a side note, it’s worth pointing out that in the near future, we can see possible solutions that will allow authors to be registered under foreign businesses or local organizations in a way that will work as a protection filter from it. If you want to learn more about why the economy of Japan is ahead of time and a good indicator for the future, please watch the video below. Please let me know in the comment section of this post what you think about this situation and your uptake of it 🙂

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