Japanese Animation Schools


If drawing animation is your passion and you want to turn that interest into a profession, formal education at an animation school will add an extra kick to your resume and open doors that would otherwise be difficult to reach. Known for its extensive work and advancements in the animation field, Japan is often the chosen destination for anyone looking to study more about the craft. As long as you have a suitable knowledge of the Japanese language (formerly described as JPT Level 2 or above), studying at one of these schools is certainly a possibility.

Yoyogi Animation Gakuin

  • Yoyogi Animation Gakuin offers several training options, from a general two-year animation program to various one- and two-year certificates with special focus on work like animation camera, digital animation, background art and junior novels. The school has various branches throughout the major areas of Japan, including Tokyo, Sendai and Osaka. Foreign applicants are accepted, but you must have a college-level understanding of the native language. Yoyogi’s entrance exam is entirely in Japanese, and consists of drawing your self-portrait (either in realistic or anime style) and a character from an established manga or anime. Job placement and internships are available upon graduation, although some companies require you to take a test to be considered for the position. Because Yoyogi, like most animation schools in Japan, is classified as a trade school instead of a university, it cannot offer a student visa; you must find an alternative method such as a cultural study or renewable tourist visa.

    Yoyogi Animation Gakuin
    1-57-1 Yoyogi Shibuya
    Japan 151-0053

Tokyo Animation College

  • With four departments offering programs that range from animation to voice acting, the Tokyo Animation College is one of the most well-known design colleges in Japan. The two-year animation course guides students from the basics of drawing objects in motion to background art and animation editing techniques. The parallel digital animation course focuses more on 3-D art and computer graphics, while the three-year “complete” animation course incorporates every aspect of anime production, from conception to the final touches. The comic department has a very similar layout, concentrating on how animation can be applied to still frames and panels found in manga. A six-point “support system” is in place for students, offering a variety of services from tutoring to job placement. You must e-mail the school to obtain a brochure for potential applicants, which is in Japanese.

    Tokyo Animation College
    1-1-8 Shimoochiai Shinjuku
    Japan 161-0033

Tokyo Designer College

  • The Tokyo Designer College is known for its high acceptance rate for foreign applicants; the majority come from Korea and other Asian countries, but Western applicants with a college-level understanding of Japanese are also welcomed. The school focuses on every aspect of creative design, with separate departments for graphic design, manga, illustration, computer game design and animation. The program runs two years, with flexibility that allows you to supplement your major with courses from another. A written exam is given to applicants to prove their knowledge of Japanese.

    Tokyo Designer College
    2-11, Kandasurugadai Chiyodaku
    Japan 101-0062
    +81-33-292-1675 (fax)

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