Created for expats living in Japan

Manga / Animation Design Schools (Professional Training Colleges) in Japan

In this article, from among the numerous vocational schools in Japan, we feature Manga / Animation Design Schools. Some schools have voice acting departments as well. Most design schools have a 2-3 year curriculum. We list some design schools that accept foreign students. Please keep in mind that, in addition to language proficiency, there are several other requirements for studying at Japanese vocational schools. For more information, please read this article.

What is a manga / animation design school?

Manga and anime vocational schools are strong in terms of job placement in the entertainment industry. They provide opportunities to learn from active professionals, engage in practical studies, and develop the skills demanded by the industry.

Curriculum in a Manga/Animation Vocational School:

In manga/Animation vocational schools, the curriculum is designed with beginners in mind, so it often starts with the basics of drawing, such as figure drawing and sketching. Students also learn how to draw characters, backgrounds, and other elements, enabling them to have a solid grasp of illustration by the time they graduate.

Many schools also offer classes on drawing manga using digital software. In addition to technical skills, students also learn about storytelling, character development, and dialogue creation. In this way, they can acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to become manga artists within 2 to 3 years.

Advantages of attending a manga vocational school and the difference from self-study

For individuals aspiring to become manga artists, some may consider studying manga on their own and making their debut. However, there are advantages to attending a manga vocational school that cannot be obtained through self-study. Here are three benefits of attending a manga vocational school:

Access to debut support

The biggest advantage is the availability of debut support. Manga/Animation vocational schools offer unique forms of support, such as having editors from famous publishing houses visit the school to review students' works or the possibility of having manga created during the program published as books. The nature of the support provided may vary depending on the school, so it's beneficial to compare the debut support offered by different institutions.

Instruction from professional manga artists

By attending a manga/animation vocational school, you can receive direct instruction from professional manga artists. Vocational schools teach fundamental techniques such as tool usage, drawing methods, and story development.

On the other hand, as an assistant, you would mostly receive guidance for intermediate to advanced level skills, such as having your manga reviewed and receiving advice. Moreover, becoming an assistant requires a certain level of basic skills, so if you want to learn manga from scratch, studying at a vocational school is recommended.

Building connections within the industry: Manga vocational schools attract numerous manga artists and editors who provide guidance to students. By interacting with professionals from various publishing houses, you can establish connections and determine which publishing house is the best fit for you.

Furthermore, by connecting with industry professionals, you expand the possibilities of making your manga debut.

Japanese Manga / Animation Design Schools Accepting International Students

Each school offers different curricula, please visit the respective school's website for details. There are of course more schools beyond those listed below, so please search with this list as well.

Manga / Animation Design Schools in Hokkaido

Sapporo Manga, Animation & Voice Actor College (Hokkaido)

Departments: Animation Design, Manga Design, Voice Acting

Duration: 2 years

Manga / Animation Design Schools in Tokyo, Kanagawa

Nippon Designer School (Tokyo)

Departments: Illustration, Graphic Design, Comprehensive Design, Visual Design Major, Comprehensive Illustration, Interior Design, Comic Creation, Manga

Duration: 2-3 years

Tokyo Animation College (Tokyo)

Departments: Animation, Manga and Illustration, Voice Acting

Duration: 2-3 years

Yokohama Digital Arts College (Kanagawa)

Departments: Media creative sector, Design, Games and computer graphics, Music

Duration: 2-3 years

Yoyogi Animation Gakuin (Tokyo)

Departments: Animation, Creation

Duration: 2-3 years

Manga / Animation Design Schools in Aichi, Niigata, Osaka

Aichi Zokei Design College (Aichi)

Departments: Illustration and picture books, Comic Art, Manga creation

Duration: 2 years

Japan Animation & Manga college (Niigata)

Departments: Animation, 3DCG Animation & Games, Character Design, Game Graphics, Comic Illustration, Manga Creation, Manga Illustration and Characters

Duration: 2-3 years

Osaka Anime / Voice Actor & e-Sports Professional Training College (Osaka)

Departments: Digital Design Technology, Animation Technology, e-Sports and Game CG

Duration: 3-4 years

Manga / Animation Design Schools in Ehime, Fukuoka

Kawahara Design and Art College (Ehime)

Departments: 3DCG Game and Animation, Graphic Design, Manga Creator

Duration: 2 years

Aso Pop Culture College (Fukuoka)

Departments: Games, CG, Animation, Manga, Illustration

Duration: 2-4 years

Fukuoka College of Design and Technology (Fukuoka)

Departments: Novel & Scenario, Comic Illustration & Manga, Animation, CG, e-Sports, Games etc.

Duration: 3-4 years