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Japanese producer Isoyama Aki signs a five-year deal with Netflix

Japanese producer Isoyama Aki signs a five-year deal with Netflix
Japanese producer Isoyama Aki signs a five-year deal with Netflix

Netflix has announced an exclusive partnership with Japanese producer Isoyama Aki. Starting this month, Netflix will exclusively produce and distribute new series and films from Isoyama for the next five years.

Her most recent hit, the time-travel comedy “Extremely Inappropriate!”, topped the list of most-watched Netflix films in Japan for three weeks. Her film “Let’s Get Divorced” also premiered on Netflix last June. Isoyama produced the comedy-drama series through TBS Sparkle with a script co-written by Kudo Kankuro and Oishi Shizuka.

Isoyama will reteam with screenwriter Kudo for her first title produced under the new Netflix deal. Details were not disclosed, but the company described the film as having “unprecedented style.”

“Netflix offers many kinds of local stories and I saw this partnership as an opportunity to add more uplifting works from Japan. I want to show a different side of modern Japan that goes beyond period dramas and traditional images often seen in foreign films,” Isoyama said in a prepared statement.

“Streaming makes our stories accessible to a global audience, cultural barriers are breaking down, diversity and freedom in storytelling is increasing, and even Japan’s traditional business practices are evolving. I want to create optimistic, people-centered works that reflect today’s reality. This new format builds on my experience as a terrestrial television producer.”

“Isoyama’s work always captures the spirit of the times, raises profound questions, while remaining engaging and charming. She is a master storyteller who presents Japan and its culture in an uplifting and entertaining way. We are excited to see what new stories Isoyama will create with Netflix to emphasize Japan’s appeal to a global audience,” said Sakamoto Kaata, VP of Content for Netflix in Japan.

The partnership with Isoyama follows other Netflix collaborations with Japanese creators, including Sakamoto Yuji and Kore-eda Hirokazu (“Shoplifters,” “Nobody Knows”). In 2023, Sakamoto won the award for best screenplay at Cannes for the Kore-eda-directed “Monster.” The streamer gave him a one-off film, “In Love and Deep Water,” about romance and betrayal on a cruise ship, followed by a five-year deal. Kore-eda delivered his first series, “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House,” to the platform.

Netflix has already signed deals with popular Japanese studios, including Babel Label Studio (“The Journalist”) and The Seven, whose “Alice in Borderland” is now entering its third season, as well as “Yu Yu Hakusho.” The company has also generated great anticipation with the gay men’s reality dating show “The Boyfriend,” which hits theaters later this month.

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