Japanese Actors Union

Tom B. Tom.Bayles at pomona.edu
Tue Jul 25 03:46:17 EDT 2006

   Hi all,

      I'm doing some research on Japanese filmmaking processes and  
need to find out about actors unions. I am curious if Japan has a  
fairly monolithic structure like the one that exists in the U.S.-- 
wherein a large decision indie filmmakers will have to make at the  
outset of their production is whether to work with union or non-union  
actors (and usually then for financial reasons)--or rather if there  
exists a broader range of options for privatized job security in the  
acting profession.
      Though I'm not familiar with the systems of other countries,  
the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is the monolith I'm referring to in the  
States: after earning enough "credits," an actor can join the union  
and is then entitled to minimum wage pay, fixed hours and (I believe)  
overtime compensation, and protection against shoddy working  
conditions. For many very low-budget indie filmmakers, though, these  
minimum wage requirements often crest well over their available funds  
and turn them to non-registered actors or simply people who don't  
seek to act professionally.
      How does Japanese cinema handle the institutional protection of  
actors? Is it quite simply not handled in a similar way at all, or is  
it found nipping at the heels of both indie directors and fresh-faced  
aspiring actors there too? Any information or links anyone has would  
be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading,

   -Tom Bayles.

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