Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cracking Into Japanese Show Biz

Araiguma doesn't want to portray a fake priest
The days when a blue-eyed foreigner in Tokyo drew stares from everyone have long since passed, but Araigmua is still able to capitalize on being a "Gaijin" (outsider) by getting regular acting gigs in television, movies and even a Japanese rock star's video.

Araiguma isn't strikingly handsome, but the truth is, if you're a foreigner in Japan, you don't have to be. The work is out there, and it's plentiful, especially after the exodus of foreign talent in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

There are dozens of agencies willing to hire you, no matter your size, shape, ethnicity or looks. And, if you've got an undergraduate degree, private students are clamoring for one-on-one English lessons. The hourly fee for such private lessons ranges from about 2,000 yen (US $24.00) to as much as 5,000 yen (US $65.00) or more. The acting jobs generally pay about 15,000 yen (US $200) a day, but if you manage to become in demand, you can command much higher fees.

There is modelling, voice acting and even gigs where a westerner poses as a priest in "Christian" wedding ceremonies. Such fake priests earn as much as 30,000 yen (US $400) for a single ceremony - a little less than two hours' work. Araiguma thinks wistfully about how nice the money would be, but the idea of pretending to be a priest just makes him too uncomfortable. But if you haven't got any similar hangups, the opportunities are abundant.

If you're a westerner coming to Japan, and you have a valid visa, don't miss out on these ample opportunities to earn a little extra money. Here is a list of the top agencies:

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