BR / Charisma

Aaron Gerow gerow
Thu Jan 11 21:43:46 EST 2001

>I have found it extremely difficult to get more than a glimpse into how
>much the top actors make
>from their films here.  It's another black hole that the industry protects
>so well.
>Aaron, do you or Mark have any ideas?  Is it possible for someone to pay the
>rent without dressing in a ketchup bottle and cavorting on the tube?


That's a good question, and as someone who studies the industry 
historically, it's an answer I'd like to know.  But as you say, the 
industry can be very secretive about these things.  With older cinema, 
you could sometimes find information on "average budget for an average 
film" which included total actors salaries, but even then the industry 
did not make public budget info, let alone good box office data.  Onoe 
Matsunosuke was rich enough he could donate public housing to Kyoto, but 
that was another age.

Nowadays, with talento, for instance, you can figure out their annual 
income from their tax paid.  This is public info in Japan and most of the 
geino papers love announcing all this stuff.  In that, you can see some 
talento who are making 200 to 300 million yen a year (though probably by 
appearing in 7 or 8 TV shows, plus commercials; note also that income 
info can depend on whether the star has incorporated him or herself).  
Top CM talent can get up to 100 million for a single commercial (or 
contract)--that is the best pay--though their agency probably pockets a 
lot of that. Given, however, that most of the independent Japanese films 
made these days have budgets under 100 million yen (most averaging around 
50 to 60 million, with some, like Acacia Walk, being only 25 million), 
you have to figure they are not getting paid that much.  But given that 
top TV talent are appearing in films--the bigger budget films distributed 
by the majors--one can figure that they are getting paid there about what 
they would get for similar work on TV.  But I've always heard that per 
episode pay on TV is not great even for stars (thus they have to appear 
in a lot to make money).

But a lot of this is just speculation.  Any hard facts?

By the way, most of the directors I know agree that Yakusho is the best 
actor working in film these days.  Some actually lament on the shortage 
of good film talent, especially among actresses, which is possibly why so 
many want to use Yakusho.

Aaron Gerow
Associate Professor
International Student Center
Yokohama National University
79-1 Tokiwadai
Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501
E-mail: gerow at
Phone: 81-45-339-3170
Fax: 81-45-339-3171

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