With the appetite for Japanese entertainment exploding both locally and globally, the recent Netflix Festival Japan 2021 was the perfect gateway for our fans to get up close to a wide variety of Japanese creative talent and stories. Importantly, it was also an opportunity for us to elaborate on our focus going forward and how we aim to boost the profile of Japanese storytellers.
During the two-day festival, we touched on a mind-blowing list of 50 upcoming titles, including both anime and live-action.
While anime continues to be fundamental to our growth strategy — we are one of the biggest producers of anime in the world, watched by over 120 million households worldwide a year — we see a growing appetite for Japanese feature films.
We now have more than 5 million subscribers in Japan, and the number continues to grow. Our Japanese fans are hungry for homegrown stories. Highly anticipated Netflix titles such as Asakusa Kid and We Couldn’t Become Adults hint at the exciting future ahead as we widen the scope and range of the films we produce.
Fortunately, Japan is home to a diverse range of extraordinary creators such as Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki and Hirokazu Koreeda. From screen and voice actors, to production and technical teams, these future collaborations aim to elevate the local industry as a whole by engaging and supporting these local producers and creators.
Our creative relationship with Japan’s top filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Shoplifters) promises great synergy, as he develops two projects to bolster Netflix’s live-action line-up. Likewise, local creative partnerships with a burgeoning list of talented filmmakers and film studios, such as Studio Colorido (A Whisker Away, Drifting Home) look set to raise the profile of Japanese entertainment while allowing us to discover fresh, new Japanese voices.
These high-profile partnerships are already having a palpable effect on our creators, raising their motivation and energy to near Olympic-levels of excitement. By attracting top-tier Japanese talent, my hope is for Netflix to become the studio of choice for Japanese creators.
To do so, we remain dedicated to supporting Japanese creators to do their best work both on and off set. Particularly on the technical front, we’re committing to providing and sourcing more sophisticated and seamless production resources, no matter where in the world those resources may be. Our wildly successful Alice in Borderland won fans not only for its storyline but also for the extensive and impressive visual effects, which were created by teams around the world. In the same way, we aim to take upcoming productions like First Love, Yu Yu Hakusho and other local titles from “great” to “truly exceptional.”
With our global platform, creators will also be able to leapfrog to greater international exposure with fewer barriers to bring their original, authentic stories to fans. This will require a strong commitment to creative energy and freedom. As I said during the Festival, “Only with maximum freedom can we produce maximum quality for our audiences.”
Our passion is, and always will be, to spread joy throughout the world through entertainment. There are so many more Japanese stories still untold, and we can’t wait to tell them to fans everywhere.