Amazon Japan Unveils Ambitious Original Content Strategy

TOKYO – Amazon has unveiled a slate of original content for its Prime Video entertainment service in Japan, including 12 Japanese-made titles. They range from children’s shows to historical dramas, and comedy to documentaries.

The lineup, presented by Amazon Japan president Jasper Cheung, Amazon Studios chief Roy Price and Amazon Japan content head James Farrell, included a mix of new shows and some previously announced titles.

Price emphasized that the Japanese market was a high priority for Amazon’s original content plans. “Of our 40 new original global content 20 are Japanese originals,” he said.

Among the new drama shows being readied for Prime Video are “Baby Steps,” a teen romcom series based on a popular girls’ comic about a wonky would-be tennis star who takes up the game to impress a pretty classmate, with a start date of July 22 penciled in. Another is “Businessmen Vs. Aliens,” a sci-fi comedy scripted and directed by Yuichi Fukuda of the Bravo theater troupe, which is set to launch in September.

“Magi” is a historical drama based on a true story about four Japanese youths who journeyed to the Vatican nearly four centuries ago – and returned home to find Christianity banned. Based on a 2003 book by art historian Midori Wakakuwa, the series is scheduled for a summer 2017 start, with location shoots in Spain and Asia planned.

In the kids’ field it is preparing new iterations of the classic “Kamen Rider” and “Ultraman” live-action superhero franchises. Variety shows include a gag-fest hosted by king-of-comedy Hitoshi Matsumoto. Documentaries include “Invisible Tokyo,” which presents leading personalities in Japan’s capital.

Among the shows announced earlier are 12-part drama series “Happy Marriage” which is scheduled to launch on June 22.

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