[06/26/19 - 12:51 AM]
Netflix Expands Japanese Live Action Programming Growing Local Content Library
Since launch in September 2015, Netflix has been growing its library of locally produced stories.

[via press release from Netflix]


Ensemble of cast and creators from upcoming Japanese originals celebrate the future of Japanese entertainment at Netflix Originals Festival

Tokyo, Japan -- June 26, 2019 -- Netflix showcased a slate of upcoming live action series and films at Netflix Originals Festival held in Tokyo, Japan on 25 June. Since launch in September 2015, Netflix has been growing its library of locally produced stories. Today, an ensemble of cast and creators from Japanese original series and film joined over 280 media attendees in the event which featured 30 upcoming original titles from both Japan and beyond.

In 2019, we will launch Japanese originals The Naked Director and The Forest of Love, followed by FOLLOWERS among many upcoming originals in 2020 and beyond. "Our mission is to identify untold stories of Japan and bring them to audiences around the world in the most compelling ways," said Kaata Sakamoto, Content Acquisition Director, Netflix. "Today, we're thrilled to bring the best entertainment to Japanese members by working with the most talented local cast and creators, supporting their artistic vision and creativity," he said.

The festival consisted of five content panel sessions - Stranger Things, FOLLOWERS, The Forest of Love and The Naked Director - all of which will become available exclusively on Netflix in more than 190 countries. Additionally, top creators from three Japanese originals spoke to bringing stories to life in ways only a platform like Netflix can.

Stranger Things cast members Noah Schnapp, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo and Sadie Sink recognized the series as a global phenomena as real. Creators of the series The Duffer Brothers, who sent event attendees a video message revealed Japanese anime and manga like influenced the show.

The following talent and creators were invited to the event:

Stranger Things: Noah Schnapp, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo and Sadie Sink

FOLLOWERS: Director Mika Ninagawa, leading actress Miki Nakatani and Eliza Ikeda

The Forest of Love: Director Sion Sono, main character actors Kippei Shiina, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Denden and producer Hiroshi Muto

The Naked Director: Director Masaharu Take, leading character actors Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tetsuji Tamayama and actress Misato Morita

Terrace House: Producer Dai Ohta

Midnight Diner: Producer Hitoshi Endo

The following content were featured at the event:


[Japan] The Forest of Love

[International] 6 Underground, The Irishman, The Laundromat; Untitled. Chris Hemsworth, Wonderland, Earthquake Bird


[Japan] The Naked Director, Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 2, JUON, FOLLOWERS, Queer Eye: We're in Japan!, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, AINORI Love Wagon: African Journey, TERRACE HOUSE TOKYO 2019-2020

[International] Stranger Things, The Witcher, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Arthdal Chronicles, Baahubali: Before the Beginning, Giri / Haji, Cowboy Bebop

Licensed Documentary:

[Japan] Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018

Details of Netflix original titles showcased at Netflix Originals Festival:

Stranger Things 3

It's 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer's heating up. School's out, there's a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group's dynamic, and they'll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town's threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now they'll have to band together to survive, and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.

Creators: The Duffer Brothers

SERIES STARS: Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, David Harbour as Chief Jim Hopper, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Dacre Montgomery as Billy, Sadie Sink as Max, Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair.

NEW CAST: Maya Hawke as Robin, Jake Busey as Bruce, Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline

Launch: July 4, 2019

The Naked Director

This entertaining series explores the meteoric rise and feverish drive of pornography pioneer Toru Muranishi and his associates, who set out to take the adult entertainment industry by storm.

Director: Masaharu Take

Cast: Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Tetsuji Tamayama, Misato Morita

Launch: August 8, 2019

The Forest of Love

After the shockingly outlandish Cold Fish and Guilty of Romance, visionary director Sion Sono has a new bag of tricks up his sleeve. An examination of the darkness of human behavior, The Forest of Love introduces Jo Murata, a merciless man who uses his charisma to manipulate the people around him. Murata meets Shin and a group of aspiring filmmakers who decide Murata and his turbulent relationship with Mitsuko would be the perfect subject for their film. As the group grows closer during filming, lies become indistinguishable from the truth and the limits of humanity are tested resulting in acts as shocking as they are gruesome.

Producer: Hiroshi Muto

Director: Sion Sono

Cast: Kippei Shiina, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Denden

Launch: 2019


Tokyo: a place where there's so much to gain, and so much to lose. In this city, fraught with trials and occasional dangers, some women manage to seize the moment and find success, while others struggle to see their dreams take flight. The only thing connecting these two groups of Tokyo-ites is social media. Photography sensation Rimi has a good career, but is still no closer to realizing her dream of being a mother.

However, when she meets an aspiring actress Natsume on a photography shoot, she's reminded of her naive but determined younger self. Instinctively, she clicks the shutter and uploads the photo to Instagram, instantly transforming Natsume's fortunes. Meanwhile, for Rimi, their encounter reignites a drive and desire to accomplish her own dreams. Visionary director Mika Ninagawa brings her unique aesthetic sensibility and perspective to this totally original drama, a labor of love, years in the planning.

Director: Mika Ninagawa

Cast: Miki Nakatani, Elaiza Ikeda,Mari Natsuki, Yuka Itaya, KOM_I, Mika Nakashima,Nobuaki Kaneko, Shuhei Uesugi, Yutaro

Launch: 2020

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Season 2

Tucked away in the backstreets, away from all the hustle and bustle, is a humble Japanese diner. It's open from midnight to seven in the morning; they call it the "Midnight Diner". This low-key drama focuses on the diner's eclectic customers, people of all ages and from all walks of life. Based on Yaro Abe's original "culinary comic" Midnight Diner (published in Shogakukan's Big Comic Original), the drama first aired in 2009. Since then, it has been adapted into films and foreign remakes, gaining fans all over the world. This marks the fifth season of the Japanese series, and is set to feature talented actor Joseph Chang (Au Revoir Taipei) as a special guest from overseas. With a fresh batch of 10 new episodes, there'll be plenty to sink your teeth into.

Producer: Hitoshi Endo

Director: Joji Matsuoka, Nobuhiro Yamashita, Shotaro Kobayashi

Cast: Kaoru Kobayashi, Mansaku Fuwa, Toshiki Ayata, Yutaka Matsushige/Joe Odagiri/Joseph Chang

Launch: 2019


Based on actual events, this Netflix Original drama is the latest installment in the classic Japanese horror franchise Ju-on. This time, a paranormal investigator's data reveals an eerie connection between a string of horrifying incidents that occurred between 1958 and 1997: they all stemmed from the same house. Set over the course of 40 years, the series explores the nature of these incidents, building on the established premise of the Ju-on movies and cranking up the terror to new heights. Drawing from actual recorded cases in Japan's recent past, it offers fresh scares unlike anything J-horror fans have witnessed before. Director Sho Miyake's Playback was officially entered into competition at the Locarno International Film Festival, while his recent And Your Bird Can Sing was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, cementing his status as an emerging talent on the international entertainment scene. This series stays true to the core appeal of Japanese horror, while also delving deeper into the human drama beneath.

Script: Yo Takahashi, Takashige Ichise

Director: Sho Miyake

Launch: 2020

Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 (global licensed documentary)

Twenty years since her debut performance, Hikaru Utada's Japan tour at the tail-end of 2018 was her first in 12 years. The remarkable and much-discussed tour kicked off at Yokohama Arena, where the singer made her last performance before taking a break to focus on herself in 2010. The tour concluded at Makuhari Messe on December 9, marking exactly 20 years since her debut. Now Netflix presents an entire live performance from the tour, which gained a combined total audience of 140,000 people. Enjoy a set list of 20 songs (plus encore), featuring hits such as Automatic, First Love, and Hikaru Utada's 2018 release Hatsukoi.

Director: Wataru Takeishi

Cast: Hikaru Utada

Launch: June 26, 2019

AINORI Love Wagon: African Journey

All aboard the Love Wagon! Four men and three women chosen through an audition process are ready to board the familiar pink minivan on a country-hopping trip across Africa. Their goal: to find true love along the way. Once a contestant develops feelings for another, they confess their love and present the other person with a plane ticket back to Japan. If the feeling is mutual, the pair share a kiss and return to Japan as a couple; if not, the rejected contestant will be flying home alone. The latest iteration of this reality show began on Netflix in 2017 with Ainori Love Wagon: Asian Journey, followed by Asian Journey 2 in 2018. African Journey will take the show to a fresh new setting, and is set for release in fall 2019.

Producer: Hitoshi Nishiyama (Kyodo Television) - production & direction

Producer: Reimi Iida (Kyodo Television)

Executive Producers: Kazutaka Sakamoto (Netflix) / Kazuyuki Shimizu (Fuji TV) / Ryoichi Ishikawa (Fuji TV)

Moderator: Becky

Launch: 2019


Terrace House is back in Tokyo for the first time since 2015 with TERRACE HOUSE TOKYO 2019-2020, streaming from May 2019. The current crop of housemates includes illustrator Kaori Watanabe (28), actor Shohei Matsuzaki (25), actress Haruka Okuyama (24), musician Kenji Yoshihara (32), fitness trainer Risako Tanabe (21), and part-time worker Ruka Nishinoiri (20). The show follows the everyday lives of these young strangers trying to make their way in Tokyo, a city set to be front and center on the world stage in 2020. All they're given is a beautiful house and vehicles; there's no script at all.

Director: Masato Maeda

Producers: Simon Ito, Tsugi Shikanai

Chief Producers: Dai Ota, Sayaka Matsumoto

Studio Members: YOU, Reina Triendl, Yoshimi Tokui (Tutorial), Azusa Babazono (Ajian), Ryota Yamasato (Nankai Candies), Shono Hayama

Every Tuesday on Netflix in Japan, Coming to Netflix globally

Queer Eye: We're in Japan!

The Fab Five bring their message of self-care and compassion to four Japanese men and women while exploring the country's rich culture and cuisine.

Executive Producers: David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric, Jen Lane, David George, David Eilenberg, Adam Sher and Jordana Hochman

Showrunner: Jennifer Lane

Production: ITV Entertainment

Series Stars: The Fab Five - Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Jonathan Van Ness (Grooming), Karamo Brown (Culture), and Tan France (Fashion)

Tokyo guide: Kiko Mizuhara, Special guest comedian Naomi Watanabe

Launch: Fall 2019

About Netflix

Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

  [june 2019]  


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