Ukrainian Refugees Find Work Subtitling Anime

Ukrainian Refugees Find Work Subtitling Anime

Ukrainian Refugees Find Work Subtitling Anime

by Danica Davidson
January 3, 2023

Because of Vladimir Putin’s ordered invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians have fled the country, and some have evacuated to Japan. While the majority of Ukrainian refugees have not been able to find work in Japan, Japanese news site Kyodo News reported on a story of Ukrainian refugees finding work in the anime business.

The Ukrainians in the story are all currently students at Japan University of Economics in Dazaifu in Fukuoka Prefecture. They had also previously studied Japanese in Ukraine before they escaped. The Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy, which is located in Tokyo, has brought these students in as interns. Their job is to write Ukrainian subtitles for anime, including the iconic Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro.

The article noted that many of these interns had grown up watching anime that had been subtitled in Russian, not Ukrainian. There is interest in getting more anime accessible to more Ukrainians by using their own language.

“It’s important for Ukrainian language content to increase,” said a Ukrainian refugee known only as Daria.

Daria’s mom also escaped Ukraine, but instead of going to Japan, she’s ended up in Poland, along with many other refugees. Still, mother and daughter are able to communicate, and Daria’s mom has watched some of her daughter’s subtitling work. “It feels special to see it in Ukrainian,” she remarked.

Some, but not all, of the students expressed an interest in staying in Japan and continuing translation work.

They’re getting aid from their college, too. Associate Professor Shinichi Matsuzaki has been making phone calls to help students find employers and job interviews.

“The university will continue to support all students until they are set on their career path or pursue further education,” remarked Matsuzaki.

Sega, Nintendo, the Japan Cartoonists’ Association and more have made efforts to help the people of Ukraine during the war.

Source: Kyodo News


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at

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