Netflix collaborates with creative talents all over the world to showcase their stories. As part of our global fan event, Tudum, Netflix Japan is shining a spotlight on the creators behind three productions that will be released from late 2022 to 2023.
They are Yuri Kanchiku, director of the series First Love (starring Hikari Mitsushima and Takeru Satoh); Rikiya Imaizumi, director of the film Call Me Chihiro (starring Kasumi Arimura); and Yusuke Ishida, director of the film Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (starring Eiji Akaso).
These three creators are from the same generation and have worked across various genres, such as music videos and independent films, primarily in Japan. Their upcoming productions mark the first time they are teaming up with Netflix to create entertainment for a global audience. Find out more about their journeys, and their unique creative gifts as described by a few of their previous collaborators and friends.
Yuri Kanchiku, director of First Love
Studying under director Shunji Iwai in a screenwriting course in the Department of Cinema at the Nihon University College of Art, Kanchiku made her screenwriting debut in 2004 with the radio program Lasse Hallström ga Umaku Ienai.
In 2009, she directed her first full-length film My Rainy Days, which was also Nozomi Sasaki’s first leading role in a film. Since then, she has been active in a wide variety of fields, including films, TV drama series, and music videos.
Musician Miu Sakamoto, who has a close friendship with her, explains: “Yuri is “the person who I like to be with. Being with someone is facing each other. Different factors make us feel close to others, but being with someone requires more than affinity. Being vulnerable and getting to know others is an incredible hassle and wonderfully interesting. I can’t explain why, but Yuri was someone I wanted to spend the time getting to know right from the start. I had a feeling that she would be more captivating the more I knew her, and she would also be more human.”The two first met at a concert in the mountains of Yamanashi. “I remember talking to her as we warmed ourselves by a fire on a chilly evening,” Sakamoto recalls. “She wasn’t like other people. At first, she seemed as if social situations weren’t her forte, yet she opened up so easily.” A visit to Kanchiku’s cozy home also revealed an eclectic aesthetic – featuring everything from bulky books to plums she had pickled herself – that reflected her creative vibe. “She offered me not just ice cream, but also rum and even asked if I wanted to make it rum raisin. Everything in her house seemed disconnected from one another, but her life was one big tapestry. It must have been in that place where the idea for this series came about. There’s something sweet about imagining her alone there, working intently on the script.”
About First Love: The series tells a spectacular love story that spans over 20 years, inspired by songs written and composed by J-Pop sensation Hikaru Utada, starring Hikari Mitsushima and Takeru Satoh. This original love story follows a young couple in the late 1990s, who grow up in the 2000s, and discover what made their relationship unforgettable over 20 years later. First Love will be released globally on Netflix on November 24, 2022.
Rikiya Imaizumi, director of Call Me Chihiro
Born in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture in 1981, Imaizumi has worked on many hit titles, including Just Only Love, his, and Little Nights, Little Love. In recent years, he has released new titles including In Those Days and Over the Town. His newest film Madobe nite starring Goro Inagaki will be released on November 4. He also worked on the WOWOW drama Kasumi Arimura’s Filming Break with Kasumi Arimura, who is also the star of Call Me Chihiro.
Actor Ryo Narita worked with this director in Just Only Love. Ryo recalls Imaizumi writing the word “Enjoy” in his script. Here’s how he describesImaizumi“Since he so gently and effortlessly describes the absurdity, the messy beauty and weakness, and human nature in life, I wonder just how many lives he has experienced and witnessed. I can remember the smell of the set that feels like a battlefield. It’s painfully vibrant, and it makes me laugh so hard. I envy myself in the past for being in that situation. I want to be back there. I want to be inside the head of Rikiya Imaizumi.”
About Call Me Chihiro: Based on the manga Chihiro-san, published in the manga magazine Elegance Eve from 2013 to 2018, starring Kasumi Arimura, Call Me Chihiro tells the story of a former sex worker named Chihiro who works at a small bento shop in a seaside town. There, she interacts with people whose mental scars and struggles leave them unable to live happily, and her words and actions influence each person’s way of living. Call Me Chihiro will be released globally on Netflix and in selected theaters in Japan on February 23, 2023.
Yusuke Ishida, director of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Ishida produced the musical scenes in the film Love Strikes! starring Mirai Moriyama, edited the Attack on Titan live-action film, served as a third-unit director on the film Shin Godzilla and has worked on many other movies and series, including the WOWOW drama Afro Tanaka. Zoom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is his feature-length directorial debut.
Director Shinji Higuchi has worked with Ishida on several projects, including Attack on Titan and Shin Godzilla. Their first encounter was when Higuchi asked him to edit a promotion video for a pop idol group. “When I gave him the materials, he said he was going to the ‘Hyperbolic Time Chamber’ (a location in the popular manga series Dragonball, in which one year spent inside the chamber is the equivalent of one day on the outside), and disappeared.
After some time, he returned with a reel that was full of really edgy editing. Since then, I’ve asked him to go to this chamber several times over the years and create cool video edits.”Higuchi is looking forward to seeing the creative growth of this longtime collaborator.
“Now he’s finally become a feature film director, and for a zombie film, of all things, It’s so unexpected I can’t even begin to imagine it,” he says. “Now that he’s a director, he can’t just lock himself in a hyperbolic time chamber anymore. What’s he going to do? I can’t wait to find out!”
About Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead: Based on the manga of the same name by Haro Aso (Story), Kotaro Takata (Art) and published in Shogakukan’s Gekkan Sunday GX, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead tells the story of Akira Tendo, a young man played by Eiji Akaso who has the life sucked out of him by his power-harassing boss but one day wakes up to a zombie apocalypse and starts to pursue his zombie apocalypse bucket list. The film will be released on Netflix in 2023.
On September 24 and 25 (Saturday and Sunday JST) 2022, a Netflix global fan event TUDUM is held.
At TUDUM Japan, global creators such as director Guillermo del Toro, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who crafted the world of the popular series The Witcher, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, and Shinsuke Sato talk about producing works with Netflix in Creator’s Panel: Front Line of Creative.