Top cosplayer Enako reveals shocking truth about her incredible income

Cosplayer Enako is special in many ways, not only in terms of her looks and talent, but also her willingness to talk openly about the ins and outs of her profession.

The 27-year-old elfin star recently appeared on a late-night TBS TV show, where she divulged information about her income, long a source of discussion.

At the 2019 Comiket, she posed for more than 800 fans. She has self-published her own photo books and produced lots of merchandise.

This all adds up to a lot of cash: she claims her income is an incredible ¥50 million (around $455,000), which is more than top politicians and corporate heads earn.

Of this remarkable figure, around 70% comes from corporate gigs, she said, and 20% from her self-published photo books.

Her corporate projects include work as a PR ambassador for games, appearing in commercials, doing events, and so on. She has contracts with about seven or eight corporations.

Since she doesn’t have to give a cut to a publisher, she can earn a lot more from a photo book than a regular model (though she has published at least one photo book with a major publisher). She also had to shoulder the initial production costs, of course, including photography and printing, and also the very expensive bikinis and costumes she wore (sometimes as much as ¥40,000 per item — one prop even cost ¥150,000, she claimed).

She sold her own photo books at Comiket (thus cutting out the need for a distributor or retailer), possibly earning as much as ¥10 million in a day.

Enako then made the shocking claim that she earns nothing from gravure photo shoots for manga magazines, which are a major part of the gravure industry (along with weekly magazine shoots). While this is only for manga magazine shoots (as opposed to Weekly Playboy, Weekly Post, and the like), she doesn’t take a fee ostensibly because such appearances promote her “brand” and lead to income in other ways.

Keep in mind that Enako makes very regular appearances on such manga magazine covers: 15 of them in August, and even six in one week alone this month!

Obviously, the magazine editors are not choosing to run covers with her solely because it means they can save on model fees, since all the other costs involved are still significant and they have to think first and foremost about sales, not just saving a single fee, but Enako’s savvy strategy seems to have, well, paid off and ensured that she remains a popular choice of cover girl in a competitive industry. Having Enako on your cover means good sales (since Enako has a strong fandom), increased promotion and exposure (since Enako will promote your magazine to her 1.3 million Twitter followers), and you don’t even have to pay a fee to her!

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It’s well known that gradols do not earn much for their shoots and rely on other sources of income, such as corporate sponsorship and events, and also compensated dating or prostitution.

We can’t think of any gravure idol who would accept not receiving any fee at all for a photo shoot in a magazine, especially a prominent cover shoot.

Enako is part of an agency but no doubt because of the clout she accrued in her early career, she negotiated a good deal and they share her fees equally, unlike most idols, whose agency takes the bulk of their fees and pays them just a fixed salary.

Incidentally, cosplay has been impacted by to the pandemic, with Comiket and other events cancelled, downscaled, or postponed. Enako is clearly doing fine, but other professional cosplayers and creatives who reply on the subculture for their income have suffered.

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1 Comment

  • Rockit February 21, 2022

    What an absolutely beautiful woman!

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