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Tokyo Broadcasting System links up with Netflix to take Japanese dramas global

Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Television has agreed a deal with Netflix that will see two of the Japanese broadcaster’s drama series and a reboot of a romance-themed reality show launch on the streamer worldwide.

Screenwriters Shizuka Oishi and Kankuro Kudo

The partnership will kick off with Netflix streaming TBS’s primetime Sunday night drama series Japan Sinks: People of Hope, starring Shun Oguri, later this week, with a new episode coming to the streamer each week, three hours after the Japan broadcast.

It comes after Sakyo Komatsu’s 1973 novel Japan Sinks was adapted into a TV drama by TBS in 1974, with the remake set in 2023 Tokyo when a tremendous crisis looms over Japan.

Let’s Get Divorced, meanwhile, is a comedy about a couple whose relationship has gone cold but whose circumstances don’t allow them to divorce immediately.

It sees scriptwriters Kankuro Kudo and Shizuka Oishi working as a duo for the first time and will be produced by TBS Sparkle’s Aki Isoyama and distributed worldwide on Netflix in 2023.

In the meantime, The Future Diary will launch on Netflix in December and is a reboot of a romance-themed reality show that made its debut on TBS 20 years ago.

The original became a social phenomenon and spawned a movie, live events and a game, while its theme songs, Tsunami and Sakurazaka, sold millions of copies in Japan.

TBS business division president Yayoi Nakatani said: “We believe this new partnership will enable more people to enjoy TBS Group dramas and relaunches of popular TBS programmes internationally. As part of our growth strategy, TBS has set a goal to expand into global markets.”

Netflix’s manager of live-action content acquisition Naomi Satoh added: “We are honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate with some of Japan’s leading talent to share uniquely Japanese stories with the global market. Today, with a variety of media available to viewers in addition to television, I am confident that this initiative will broaden the scope of entertainment and provide entertainment choices that audiences appreciate.”

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