Tooning Japanese

Japan venture draws up U.S. projects

Japan Entertainment Network, a joint venture of Turner Entertainment Network Japan and the Itochu trading house that broadcasts Cartoon Network in Japan, is to develop toons in Japan for the U.S. market.

The company has set up a team to find and develop toons with outside partners.

“We’ll be doing this project by project,” said JEN rep Yoshiya Ayugai. “We’ll be working with a mix of partners, both here and in the U.S., but mainly with the U.S. market in mind.” The core target aud is 6- to 11-year-olds.

The team has yet to decide on its first project, but the aim is to produce two series a year.

JEN has long tapped Japanese toons for Cartoon Network in the U.S., beginning with the “Dragonball Z” series.

It also adapted the U.S.-developed “PowerPuff Girls” series for the Japanese market. “Now we want to go the other way — make shows in Japan for export to the U.S.,” Ayugai said.

Launched in 1997, JEN broadcasts Cartoon Network via cable and satellite to 4.9 million subscribers. In November, it debuted “IGPX,” a co-production of Cartoon Network and Tokyo-based Production I.G.

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