Netflix signs a five-year deal with Japanese screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto

Netflix signs a five-year deal with Japanese screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto

Fresh off his Best Screenplay win at Cannes, in-demand Japanese screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto has inked a 5-year collaboration deal with Netflix.

Sakamoto was already in business with Netflix as a writer and producer on the streamer’s upcoming big-budget mystery romance film In love and in deep water, which will premiere later this year. That project, starring Ryo Yoshizawa and Aoi Miyazaki, has already been dubbed Sakamoto’s biggest and most ambitious project to date.

“Yuji Sakamoto continues to create a variety of masterpieces, ranging from socially conscious works to lighter comedies and love stories, that capture our hearts and minds and keep us coming back for more,” said Kaata Sakamoto , Netflix VP of content, on the deal unveiled on Thursday. “We look forward to bringing Sakamoto’s unique and original storytelling to a global stage, coupled with the best production environment and creative partnerships to realize his vision.”

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In May, Sakamoto won the Best Screenplay Award at the 76th Cannes International Film Festival for his work in Hirokazu’s drama Kore-eda Monster. The film, which was also warmly received by critics, was Kore-eda’s first film since his first feature film that he did not write himself. This was told by the author, who won the 2018 Palme d’Or in Cannes The Hollywood Reporter that Sakamoto was the only screenwriter who could pull him away from directing his script.

Sakamoto has been a leading creator for Japanese screens large and small for decades. He adapted the popular manga Tokyo love story for Fuji TV in the 1990s and the show became a major cultural phenomenon (its theme song is still the ninth best-selling single in Japan ever). He scored again with the Fuji TV drama Mother, a huge hit in Japan that was later remade in France, Spain, South Korea, Thailand, China and Turkey. His film scripts included popular melodramas such as Shouting love to the center of the world (2004) and We made a beautiful bouquet (2021).

Netflix has been growing its live-action slate in Japan in recent months. The company will premiere the Revenge series Burn down the house in July, following the recent launches of popular Japanese shows such as sanctuary (May 2023), First love (December 2022), by Kore-eda The Makanai: Cooking in the Maiko House (January 2022) and the second season of Alice in the Borderland (December 2022), the most watched Japanese show ever on Netflix. Later this year, the company will release live-action adaptations of iconic manga YuYu Hakusho AND City hunter.