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Netflix is a huge expansion of its Japanese film and TV content. These are intended to cement and strengthen its position in the critical Japanese market and also showcasing live action and anime programming that will likely cross borders.
After the recent success of Korean series "Squid Game," many eyes have turned to Asia for more high-end non-English-language shows. Netflix recently said that the effect of the "squint game" had propelled the futuristic Japanese series Alice in Borderland back up the rankings nearly a year ago in several territories.
The company will disclose details of 50 new shows during its two-day Netflix Japan Festival 2021, which will focus on animation, while the second will be home on live action. These are addition to the 90 Japanese shows that have previously been available.
The new line-up includes work by famous filmmakers Mori Yoshihiro (We couldn't become adults), Gekidan Hitori (Asakusa Kid) and studio Colorido (A Whisker Away and Drifting Home) and movie studios like Studio Colorddoro.
Japan is home to extraordinary talent who shape the cinematic history. With creators as diverse as the ones we work with today, we want to play a role in the history of great local talent finding their voices and delivering them to audiences everywhere, said Sakamoto Kaata, Netflix VP of content in Japan.
Unlike the Japanese market leader, Japan is the largest consumer base in Asia-Pacific, but Japan has recently overtaken English-language early adoption territory Australia.
Media Partners Asia recently said that Amazon has more than 15 million monthly active users in Japan and accounts for 26% share of households streaming time. Netflix is estimated to have more more as 6 million subscribers in Tokyo, and to lie fourth in terms of minutes consumed, behind Amazon Prime, TVer and Abema TV, but ahead of the locally-owned Hulu Japan.
In recent months, Netflix has announced other moves that deepen its roots in Japan. In March, it announced a long-term lease of studio space in Tokyo to be used for local productions. And last month it unveiled content pacts with Tokyo Broadcasting System and Nippon TV, owner of Hulu Japan, in which it has gotten traction.
Netflix hasn't disclosed its Japanese financial commitment yet, nor publicly set its investment target for the future, unlike South Korea, where at the beginning of the year it committed to spending almost 500 million dollars in 2021.
It says it's seeing increasing international interest in Japanese content. In over 50 countries, Japanese titles like The Seven Deadly Sins, Record of Ragnarok and Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning each reached the platform' top ten in the last year, compared to a total of over 120 million households in 2018 who watched at least one anime title.