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Tokyo-Seoul TV drama collaboration seeks hits

The TV drama “Eye Love You,” featuring South Korean actor Chae Jong-hyeop and Japanese actress Fumi Nikaido, aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS) from January to March 2024. The Blu-ray Disc and DVD release is set for August 2. Available on Netflix, it became one of the rare Japanese dramas to rank high among South Korean viewers for two months. Producer Keisuke Nakajima expressed surprise and satisfaction at its success.

Inspired by the popularity of South Korean dramas in Japan, Nakajima initiated the project in the summer of 2021. Casting was challenging due to high fees for South Korean actors. Nakajima found Chae Jong-hyeop, a talented actor not yet in lead roles, to keep costs manageable.

On set, misunderstandings from script translations and cultural differences arose. Nakajima and his team worked diligently to resolve these issues and enhance the visual quality, aiming to appeal to fans of South Korean dramas.

The collaboration offers benefits for both sides. Japanese teams learn South Korean production techniques and attract global viewers. For South Koreans, it provides opportunities amidst rising domestic production costs.

TBS and CJ ENM plan to produce at least three dramas and two films over three years. TV Asahi Corp. has a cooperation agreement with South Korean studio SLL, and Netflix will create “Romantics Anonymous” starring Shun Oguri and Han Hyo-joo.

The Tokyo-Seoul collaboration signifies a growing trend of joint productions, blending the strengths of both entertainment industries. The success of “Eye Love You” highlights the potential for future projects that can captivate audiences across borders.