Netflix’s unscripted TV and film slate from Japan is getting a boost.
The company has unveiled five new forthcoming Japanese titles — including a romance reality series and documentaries devoted to true crime, a J-pop star and the art of Kabuki theater — which join 10 prior unscripted projects the streamer already had in development. The company says it plans to release seven Japanese unscripted shows just this year.
“Japan’s love affair with unscripted content goes back to the 1950s and remains one of the country’s most dominant forms of entertainment,” said Netflix’s two managers of live action creative in Japan, Mitsuko Koyabashi and Taro Goto, in a joint statement. “From comedy shows to competition shows, Japan’s lean-back variety programs offer the sort of comforting entertainment people have come to expect from television, while reality shows tap into a great enthusiasm for living vicariously through the real-world adventures of on-screen personalities.”
They added: “The new slate includes a rich variety of unscripted genres, from comedy, reality television to documentaries.”
The titles include: Love Village, a reality dating series that involves young Japanese singles relocating to a house in the mountains to see if love might transpire in an idyllic setting; a second season of the Japanese version of Netflix’s dating format Love is Blind; documentary LiSA Another Great Day, an inside look at the life of the Japanese music star; Sing, Dance, Act: Kabuki, a documentary that follows former teen idol and actor Toma Ikuta as he attempts to enter the rigorous and rarified world of Japanese Kabuki theater; and Tokyo Crime Squad: The Lucie Blackman Case, a documentary that shares the inside story of the turbulent and complex investigation into the killing of British tourist Lucie Blackman, told through unprecedented interviews with the Japanese detectives who led the case.
The new titles join previously announced unscripted projects in development at Netflix Japan like the coming reboot of the famed Iron Chef cooking competition franchise and a feature doc exploring the meteoric rise and fall of former automative executive Carlos Ghosn.
Netflix achieved some of its biggest early successes in Japan via the unscripted category, with reality shows like Ainori and Terrace House breaking out both locally and overseas.
“Our recent success with unscripted shows proves that this appetite is still growing,” said Koyabashi and Goto.
Netflix’s recently launched Japanese unscripted comedy series Last One Standing is currently ranked first on the streamer’s Top 10 list of most watched titles in the country.