Ufotable, the animation studio behind the smash-hit feature Demon Slayer — Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train, has been formally indicted by the Japanese government for tax evasion. Prosecutors in the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office sought ¥137 million ($1.24 million) in unpaid taxes.
Studio founder Hikaru Kondo, 51, has also been indicted, according to The Japan Times. Kondo stepped down as the company’s president in 2019.
The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau found that Kondo minimized the company’s income for the fiscal years ending in August 2015, 2017, and 2018, underpaying ¥109 million in corporate taxes.
The remaining ¥28 million Ufotable owed was in consumption taxes, which stem from the company’s retail cafe/restaurant businesses in Tokyo and Osaka.
In a statement on Ufotable’s website, the company says that it has fully repaid the amount it owed the government.
The news of Kondo and Ufotable’s tax evasion comes amid growing awareness of how little rank-and-file workers earn in the anime industry. This story suggests that even though many artists don’t earn a living wage working in Japan’s animation industry, there’s plenty of excess money floating around studios at the management level.