A very interesting post on the “jimusho” in Japan by Neo Japon Is Me (neojaponisme). I belonged to several jimushos while etching a living from television, print and film (one). Mostly the experience was good until the money started rolling in and the jimusho did not dole it out. When I was relegated to earning some cold, fast Yen as an extra on television shows or commercials, the transaction was straight forward… show your foreign face for X amount of time and receive X amount of yen.
When I regularly appeared on television, the jimusho blocked me from working with other agencies, prevented me from working or taking work from other television stations (although I previously had no problem working with them during my “extra” days) and attempted to control “my” image (Afro Eric) by giving me Cross Colors-type colored clothes (or their vision of how kokujin (Blacks) dress) to wear on television, wanting me to use certain speech (dialects) and reducing my camera time.
It was a long but fun journey and the best part was always meeting fans across Japan and providing Japanese and non-Japanese viewers a different (and I hope always positive AND funny -in the comedic sense (you can view parts 1 – 7 of the Concorde Packinko commercial via You Tube) of African-Americans / kokujin.
I believe in smart business and leveraging my image. I formed my own company, made side-deals, gained clothing and shoe sponsors and straight-up quit when I felt I was getting the raw part of the deal. I had to be careful though, after learning more about jimusho and who or what “organizations” (which the article below needs to discuss) back them, it is best at times to slide gently and silently in the night (on your own) or face the wrath of being blackballed in the industry (like a very popular “gaigokujin talento” and friend of mind had to deal with) as the articles below discuss.
Besides, many talento in Japan know that things can be a Burning issue, which can have severe repercussions in the entertainment industry. Anyway, enjoy the articles below and be sure to leave feedback!
[Via NeoJaponIsMe] Each country or cultural region has a uniquely-structured industry responsible for producing, promoting, and distributing the products that make up what we consider “pop culture.” In the case of Japan, there is a single organizational category most responsible for the form and content of pop culture: the artist management company, called colloquially jimusho (”office.”) The jimusho wield a powerful cultural influence on all fields that require performers — television (variety and drama), advertising, music, modeling, gravia, and films. Click here to read part one.
[photo credit: Neojaponisme]
Part Two: Organizational Characteristics of Jimusho — Size and Keiretsu
[Via NeoJaponIsMe] In Part One we looked at labor relations within Japanese entertainment industry management companies. This time, we will look at the jimushos’ relations to each other. As we will see, the industrial field of Japanese entertainment offers less than perfect transparency, and our general understanding must come from a mix of industry accounts backed up by third-party verifications — where available. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Special arigatos to Neojaponisme and for more dirt on the jimusho, check out the Tokyo Damage Report