what drove/drives animation studios in Korea, elsewhere?

I am wondering what confluence of factors led to the development of Korea (and Japan and Taiwan?) as the animation powerhouse that it is? Besides cheap labor and that some industries tend to aglomerate in certain localities, what drove this? Is there a reason why some other places (like Brazil) have not developed this industry? Or are they? Just wondering how Korea got it and if it will lose this sometime in the future.

(Also wondering how big the industry is there and elsewhere; maybe it’s not as big as I imagine, just a strong hold on many major, visible contracts.)

The story I heard:

  1. Art classes in Korea (and many other Asian countries) involve copying the masters. Imagination is discouraged. Therefore, there are armies of artists who can copy a prototype perfectly, which makes them ideally suited for animation work.

  2. Salaries are far smaller since art is not considered a creative job as in the states. It’s more of a factory style job than one that requires actual talent.

  3. In general, entertainers don’t make as much in Korea as other places. Most actors, for example, make as much as an upper level manager in a company. This also explains why Korea is so prolific at making soap operas.

  4. The proliferation of computer animation has essentially eliminated cel-drawing in the US. I believe Disney closed down their last hand-drawn animation studio over 5 years ago. If you wanted to make one in the US now, it’s very difficult to find enough people and very expensive when you do.

So cel-drawing is what is done for Simpsons, etc? I assumed that all animation had moved on to computer drawing of a bit or a lot of the work. Like what I see in the behind the scenes videos for the FX show “Archer.”

Still, the cheap labor argument doesn’t explain why other nations don’t have this industry. Maybe one or two nations just tip into the lead and keep it.

Sorry, if this should be in the arts forum…just realized that.

You will pardon in this case if I don’t want to reveal my source? A person I know who has a very “responsible” position in an Asian anime studio is the illegitimate son of a wealthy American whose job in the Korean War era took him overseas.

It’s not clear how much the father helped his son be successful, but he certainly had the money, power and influence to do so.

If it happened once? Seems to me that it could happen many times. (In fact, I know of another somewhat similar case, but unrelated to anime.)

North Korea has animation studios, but American producers steer clear of them for obvious reasons.