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Japan’s NHK Picks Up Netflix’s ‘Hibana: Spark’

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 Mark Schilling
© Provided by Variety

In a first of its kind deal, Japanese public broadcaster NHK will broadcast the Netflix original drama series “Hibana: Spark” starting in February. The 10 episodes about the struggles of a comedy duo, of 45 to 50 minutes each, will air on Sunday evenings.

A Netflix original series produced in collaboration with the Yoshimoto Kogyo talent agency and Dentsu Digital Holdings, “Hibana: Spark” debuted in June last year. Based on a prize-winning bestseller by comedian Matayoshi Naoki and made under the supervision of veteran director Ryuichi Hiroki (“Kabukicho Love Hotel”,) the series was simultaneously streamed in 190 countries and territories.

Netflix has made the Japanese market a priority, offering a range of programming targeted at local viewers, though millions of overseas fans also stream the more popular Japanese shows. Among Netflix’s Japan-produced titles are: “Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City” and its follow-up “Terrace House: Aloha State,” and drama series “Atelier,” “Good Morning Call,” “The Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories,” and “Underwear,” and anime pair “One Piece” and “Naruto: Shippuden.”

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