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16 January 2011 @ 03:52 pm
Do you wanna be a mangaka? ☆ part 3b - How do I find a job as an assistant? ☆  
This is going to end up being a very, very long guide in the end. ^^ For the time, I'm cutting it up into manageable chunks. There is so much information to include!

Do you wanna be a mangaka?
Part 3b: How do I find a job as a mangaka's assistant?

Part 0: http://hinoai.livejournal.com/781747.html
Part 1: http://hinoai.livejournal.com/782951.html
Part 2: http://hinoai.livejournal.com/783744.html
Part 3a: http://hinoai.livejournal.com/785039.html

(remember, I am talking ONLY about manga made *in* Japan-- Dragonball Z, Naturo, Death Note, etc etc etc. ^-^ I don't have any experience outside of Japan, so I can't really help you there! Gomen! ^^;)

Here it is, in the most basic terms possible:

As long as you meet the criteria put forward by the mangaka, and can legally work in Japan, you can get a job as a manga assistant!

That being said.. what do you mean?

I think that there are two parts to this answer..

☆ Just like any job, a mangaka will have his own criteria for assistants, and it will vary slightly from person to person. If you can do the job that he asks, then you have a good shot at getting hired of course!

YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO WORK LEGALLY IN JAPAN. ^^ I've been getting a LOT of questions on this, but I am not a government official. What I can tell you is:
- If you are not Japanese, then you DO need to get a visa to work in Japan. If you do not have a visa and try to work, you will probably not be hired. If you do find work and the government finds out, you will be deported and possibly banned from Japan for life.
- If you are from Canada, Australia, or a few other select countries, you can get a Working Holiday visa as long as you qualify. This would be enough to allow you to work as a mangaka's assistant. Sadly, America does NOT participate in this program, so Americans can't get them. If you are interested, then contact your local Japanese Embassy and ask them for more details.
- If you are married to a Japanese citizen, then you can qualify for a spousal visa. If you are married to someone who is legally working in Japan, you can also get a spousal visa, but your visa status is dependant on theirs, so be careful!
- If you have a student visa (you can get this only if you are sponsored by a school), then you are NOT usually allowed to work. You're given permission to study, but not to work. To work, you have to get permission from the immigration office to work a part-time job (it's kind of an extension to your visa). To find out the qualifications, travel to your local immigration office once you are in Japan and ask them for information, or ask the school that you are enrolled in.
- There are many other types of visas. Rules are different for every country and Japan doesn't publish them online, so you need to contact your local Japanese Embassy and ask them about work visas for Japan. See my previous posts if you don't know how to find your local embassy (though google is a great tool, too)! Explain to them what you want to do and ask them what they think your options are. It will be different depending on your situation.
- If none of the above apply to you, but you are really determined, and willing to foot the bill, you can contact a lawyer who specializes in visa issues and ask them for assistance. I have a friend who is only engaged (not married) to a Japanese guy, but she was able to get a spousal visa with the help of a lawyer. SO, I think the rules can be bent, but it was very expensive and took her a long time to get. (Wouldn't it have been easier if they had just gotten married?)

That was really long.. umm, thank you.

You're welcome! ^^; Sorry I rambled on there. But I don't work for the government, and the rules are not all published online anywhere. I personally feel that the Japanese government grants visas randomly based on arbitrary feelings, but I have no proof of that, so I can't say that it is true.

So.. umm.. assuming that I can work in Japan, how do I find a job as a manga assistant?

Ahh! This is the easy part! Finding a job is easy, it's getting one that is a little harder. There are four ways that someone who is not already a friend/family member of a mangaka can find a job with one:

1. Check internet job sites! There are several just for mangaka looking for assistants. Check out these two (I've never used them, but they were recommended to me):
2. Look inside one of the manga magazines that you like. (You can also check their websites) Mangaka write here when they are looking for assistants, and what their criteria are. Some mangaka advertise in their graphic novels too.
3. Some mangaka advertise on their personal websites or blogs when they are looking for assistants.
4. Submit your own manga to a contest (I talked a little bit about this in part 2). Winners of the contests who are not ready to have their own series are sometimes asked by the editors if they will help assist a mangaka to gain experience.

I looked around, but it's all in Japanese and I don't understand anything..

If it's on the web, you can use something like rikaichan to help you translate. But if the mangaka doesn't speak english, then you will have to communicate with him/her in Japanese.

SO LEARN JAPANESE!! There is no shortcut. As long as you study hard, anyone can learn a second language. You don't have to be perfect, but if you really want this job, and want to be a mangaka eventually, then take it seriously and find a way to study. I am still studying because I am nowhere near good enough to write my own stories. I'm terrible at languages too, and I hate studying them. It's boring. But I have to, for my future. Not to mention, Japanese is a really pretty language, and improving feels really good. *^^*

I see. Can you explain more about 2 and 3?

Yep! =^-^=

#2 is how I got my job as Konomi-sensei's assistant. So let's start there!

Of course, the easiest way if you are in Japan, is to check your favorite magazine. There usually isn't a page reserved for assistants, but if a mangaka is in particular need of them, they often write in their comment section that they are looking for assistants, or on the side of a page of their manga.

(I've been trying to find an example, but of course when you are looking it's impossible to find one. I will edit this post when I do come across another! ^^)

Then, like I said, there are sometimes official web pages for the magazines that have assistant listings. This is exactly how I found my job! Luckily, SQ has a great page that I can use as an example (see that Konomi-sensei is always looking for good assistants)!

Here is the link: http://jumpsq.shueisha.co.jp/contents/assistant/index.html

Let's look at a specific ad:

I chose the last ad on the page, from Hoshino-sensei:

Here are what the numbers correspond to:
(I put the artist's comments in parenthesis)

1. Artist name: (In this case: Hoshino Katsura)
2. Name of the manga: (D. Gray Man)

3. 雇用条件: Employment Conditions
4. 業務内容: Job duties (in this case: backgrounds, finishing work, speed lines, etc)
5. 必要スキル: Necessary skills (In this case: Experience, or a beginner who is full of spirit)
6. 勤務日程: Work Schedule (about a week in the middle of the month, not staying over.)
7. 勤務時間: Working hours (In this case 12-9 with a 1hr break)
8. 勤務時間: Pay scale (Depending on abilities)
9. 勤務地: Location (In Tokyo)
10. 交通費: Travel expenses (Will be conpensated)
11. 食事等: Meals (will be covered)

12. 労働環境: Working environment:
13. ペット: Pets: (None present)
14. タバコ: Smoking (Prohibited)

15. 応募資格: Qualifications
16. 経験の有無: Level of experience (People with experience preferred).

COOL! So, I want to become Hoshino-sensei's assistant. What should I do now?

Well, there are always instructions provided! ^^ It will vary depending on where the ad is that you are looking at.

In this case, these are the instructions at the bottom of the recruitment page:

〒101-8050 東京都千代田区神田神保町3-13-1 集英社 ジャンプスクエア編集部

How to apply:
Send your resume and a sample of your work (with the time it took you to draw written underneath) in an envelope to the following address:

〒101-8050 東京都千代田区神田神保町3-13-1 集英社 ジャンプスクエア編集部
(Replace ○○ with the name of the sensei that you want to apply for work with. I didn't write out the address in english, because I think that it's best that you just copy or print it out in Japanese ^^. Basically it is addressed to the editing department of Jump SQ)

Please write clearly. Persons under 18, please do not apply. Please understand that we can't return any submissions. Please wait for contact from us (rather than contacting directly).


Here you go!

But wait..!! A resume? What kind of resume? What do they mean by sample? Do you mean like a manga page?

Ahh... the kind of resume they want is probably a little bit different than what you're used to.. and I don't mean manga page! (though that is good, too) You need to show them something that will demonstrate your skills! For that... stay tuned for the next installment!! =^^=
Meruxxxmirai on January 16th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
Ohmygosh. The resume part. O.O
vanessersaquaricom on January 16th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
wow, you are really going above and beyond by providing this, thank you so much. You are amazing miss jamie, may i call first dibs on being your assistant to return the favor, when the job opens up?

I do think itss unfair to say being an assistant is barred from Student Visa holders, since Mangaka work is perfectly within the legal jobs foreign students can get. It really depends on scheduling and hourly conflicts, rather than visa status.
孤児: Science?koji on January 16th, 2011 08:44 am (UTC)
I agree~ If the assistant job is not full-time (28 hours or less) you'd be able to still do so with a student visa. So really it would depend on if said mangaka is willing to hire someone that has restrictions to how many hours they can work (^w^); It's not impossible, just makes it harder to be hire-able. I'm still hoping I can manage it!
(no subject) - tohsakas on January 16th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - perfectdays on January 16th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hinoai on January 16th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aquaricom on January 16th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - koji on January 17th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
icysnowdrop: ♡【カメックス】 → heartsicysnowdrop on January 16th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
I'm digging this guide so far! It's very resourceful. :D I'm going to bookmark this. I can't wait to see you put out a manga as well!
icysnowdrop: ♡【町】 → fantasy landicysnowdrop on January 16th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
Can you work as a non-paid volunteer? I dunno how that'd look on your resume, but sometimes I like working for experience instead of jobs to foot the visa issue. I dunno how that'd float with the mangaka though.
Re: 質問があります - hinoai on January 17th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: 質問があります - icysnowdrop on January 18th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
harrissette on January 16th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
That's the part I was really expecting! ^^
Good job!And thanks (>w0)b
cassie, sometimes emiri, sometimes bryonyperfectdays on January 16th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
You're really putting a lot of effort into this, hon! I'm amazed.
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on January 16th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks! =^^= I'm hoping to gain readers, so I'm trying to write about things that people will find interesting ^^
Francesca {フランチェスカ}fantasy2004 on January 16th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Very interesting indeed, about all this visa things. That what I think my firend's husband (got a spouse visa) did to work in japan. *she's japanese, but her husband isn't.
現実逃避shiroro on January 17th, 2011 02:44 am (UTC)
I've looked into being a mangaka assistant before when I was still in school but, what always made me hesitate was the "experience" part. Granted, I do have a BA in comics but, that has nothing to do with having experience so. . . I'm just wondering how much previous experience do you think they'd want before hiring?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on January 17th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
I think it depends on the artist. Some of them say that beginners are totally okay, so I would go for one of those first off. ^^ For the ones that want experience, I think that they want as much as possible of course, but if you can do the work, then I think they'd take beginners. ^^
キヨミナイkiyominai on January 18th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
Wow; I'm going to show this to my friends in Japan who were looking for jobs as assistants. very informative. I think I could write a paper on it now lol

Thank you
The Eunikarakurimi on January 18th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
WOW! I love the detail in your guide! Waiting for the next installment!~
ʀìɴ-α-ℓιcιouṡ: sтocκ | ❝ to the sea she sings ❞tohsakas on January 23rd, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC)
My question for you is, was your working visa sponsored by someone else when you got the job as a mangaka? Or were they able to sponsor your visa?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on January 23rd, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Kimono-Sensei sponsored my visa (^ー^)ノ
(no subject) - tohsakas on January 23rd, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 30th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
do you usually get the visa first then apply for the job or vice-versa? I am still confuse about the visa situation. Thanks.
ʀìɴ-α-ℓιcιouṡ: εvα | ❝ pockets full of sunshine ❞tohsakas on January 30th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Re: visa
I'll answer for her since I live in China and this thing is universal: you can't get a working visa if you don't have a company to sponsor your visa. So, you have to apply for the job first and THEN hope they pick you and sponsor your visa.
Re: visa - hinoai on January 30th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
editrixfox: Sesshy Pupeditrixfox on March 3rd, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
Can you recommend a language-learning program for those who want to learn Japanese? I have a couple of translation dictionaries, but those don't help much with pronunciation or grammar. And isn't living in Japan insanely expensive?
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on March 3rd, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
Yes, Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities on the planet. u.u

Sorry, but I have never used a language program, so I can't recommend one! Maybe you can find a site that reviews them somewhere? Or check the reviews on Amazon?
Shadymaiteoida on March 5th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this! It's very informative. I'm actually looking for assistant work at the moment, and I just had a few questions about the 履歴. Do they expect a normal one, like if you were just applying to a non-manga job (as in, should I buy one of those forms they have in conbini and fill it out)? Also, with the sample of your work, do they mean an entire comic you drew out, or just a page or two?
lazuli888lazuli888 on August 18th, 2011 09:48 am (UTC)
ths is the PM i was gonna send u but since i cant if u dont add me..
Sorry for sending a PM out of the blue! O__O
I was looking for some info on how someone can become a mangaka assistant and the first thing that appeared on google was your entry.
I have to say that it is a really good and detailed one!Thank you so much!
About becoming a mangaka it is my "personal myth" [as in "the Alchemist" by Paolo Choelo,if u have read the book]
I cant really put everything i feel about it in one PM but i m determined to achive this dream or die trying.I know what everything is possible.
I know that some would describe the job of a mangaka/assistant as insane and torture because indeed it's a really difficult job with extreme working hours.
But when i think about it i wouldnt mind doing this for the rest of my life.
I know some things about the editing departments and the assistants and some things about what someone needs to have if they want to work as an assistnat in Japan.What i dont know is the techniqes that are needed.For example,I have ideas about stories [more of the social/everyday life kind,not so much fantasy stories] and i know how to draw characters well.I make my own mini mangas but im not so good when it comes to backgrounds or special effects or inching [which is pretty much the job of an assistant >___>;]So how can i get experience on these parts ,while in Japan there are so many kids that go to special schools for mangaka!How can i get prepared for this.
I think the problem is that i dont really know all the proccidure that a manga page has to go through till it gets ready to be printed.
An other thing is, you say on your entry that it is not neccesery for someone to have a degree from an art school!That really surprised me!Wont the people who have a degree from an art school be favored?Because if this is the case im sweating all these years to get a degree from my national art school in vain!
And its 4-5 years to finish this school!And i only wanted to be in it cause i thought it is needed to get a job in manga industry!
Of course i know i need a degree in japanese,that is on its way.
Visas etc seem the easy part for me.
Also you said that it is not that difficult to get a job as an assistant cause there is a lot of demand.[this is what i was thinkin too]
So i think my biggest question here is what is the knowledge i need to have to start as an assistant and how can i get prepared for it.
Also is there a problem with the age?Cause im nearly 20 now and i dont knwo how old i ll be when i manage to get close to being an assistant.
If the degree isnt playing such a big part must i drop the art school and start taking steps to the real thing?
And since i cant afford to take lessons for manga/assistants in Japan how else can i get prepared?
I am really sorry for blabbing so much ;___;
I m really nervous about all this and you seem like a really good person that can answer some of my questions.
It would mean the world to me if you can answer to this PM if you are not too busy!
Waiting for your answer.Thank you so much for listening!
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on August 19th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Re: ths is the PM i was gonna send u but since i cant if u dont add me..
Hi Lazuli,

First off, I want to say Good Luck on your goal! I actually have my PM feature turned off at the moment, due to time constraints. I'll think about turning it back on, though.

Most of the answers to your questions are coming up in one of the posts that I hope to make soon! They take a long time to write, and I want to share the information with everyone, so if you could be patient, I'd really appreciate it!
bonbonpichbonbonpich on March 4th, 2013 09:04 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Before I read this I never thought a dream of becoming mangaka is possible. I thought mangaka has to draw pretty artwork and know Japanese well enough. Now that i've read your journal, the dream seems possible. Aside from the information that you've written, I think you have a way of encouraging and influencing on other people, which I think not too many people has it. I usually stop reading after a few first paragraph if it weren't encouraging enough (in my opinion) but i kept reading yours. I even feel inspired to do something after having been lazy for a while now. Thanks so much! I'll look into this.