Expanding its Japanese content, Netflix has set up “Soul Mate,” a live-action series that charts the ten-year romance between a Korean man and a Japanese man.

Traversing Berlin, Germany, Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan, “Soul Mate” starts when a man who left everything behind in Japan (portrayed by Isomura Hayato), is saved by a boxer named Johan (portrayed by Ok Taec-yeon) in a foreign land. The narrative goes on to explore the “profound journey of souls connecting and enduring over the years despite the distance.”

The project greenlight follows details of Netflix’s first Japanese same-sex rating reality show “The Boyfriend,” which will go to air from next month.

“This series is a heartfelt depiction of love and its complexities, including joy, pain and unexplainable deep bonds,” said the streamer.

It is written and directed by up-and-coming creator Hashizume Shunki (“Scroll,” “More Than Words”). The idea for the series began with a conversation over coffee between Hashizume and executive producer Ota Dai, leading them to decide on the title “Soul Mate” early on.

“We arrived at the ultimate destiny story, where people from different cultures and backgrounds meet in a foreign land and their lives intersect,” Ota said. “The story, filled with life’s joys and pains, combined with the exceptional performances from Isomura and Taec-yeon, will warm the hearts of viewers.” 

Isomura (“Extremely Inappropriate!,” “(Ab)normal Desire,” “The Moon”) said “The script moved me with its story of love amidst sadness and pain, and the incredible 10-year story arc crafted by director Hashizume has truly immersed me in the character. Working with Ok Taec-yeon has been inspiring; his charm draws me in more each day. Filming in Japan, Korea, and Germany gives the project a truly global feel.”

Ok, of Korean boy band 2PM and with acting credits that include “Vincenzo” and “La Grande Maison Paris”) said, “The character of Johan Hwang intrigued me, and his inner struggles and pain stayed with me long after I read the script. To prepare, I lost weight and underwent boxing training, and I’ve continued to train diligently.”

Other recently-unveiled Japanese content from Netflix includes an untitled romance series based on the 2010 French film “Les Émotifs Anonymes” (aka “Romantics Anonymous”), directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris.
Blending romance and humor, it charts the romance between a man and a woman who have different anxiety disorders. The man can’t physically touch others, while the woman can’t make eye contact. However, they share a love of chocolate.

The cast is headed by Japan’s Oguri Shun and Korea’s Han Hyo-joo, with Akanishi Jin and Nakamura Yuri. The now in-production series is directed by Tsukikawa Sho (“Yu Yu Hakusho”). Production is by Yong Film and Ryu Film, with production cooperation from Riki Project.


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