Nippon Connection and Netflix Japan present: HIBANA

 

After years of breaking international ground for a host of remarkable works of Japanese film, Nippon Connection is proud to be a part of history by hosting the global premier of one of the first-ever original Netflix series to be produced in Japan, a new international frontier for online television production.  

The result of this effort, Hibana, is a tale of two comedians; one, the young Tokunaga, trying to find his key to stardom; the other, a veteran of the stage named Kamiya. At first, Kamiya agrees to take Tokunaga under his wing, but he quickly finds he’s losing his shine, while Tokunaga starts to gain greater acclaim. Fans of this sort of intergenerational conflict (like last year’s The Comedians, which starred Billy Crystal and Josh Gad): this is the show for you.  It’s based on the novel of the same name by Naoki Matayoshi, which ended up being the best-selling novel in Japan in 2015, selling over 2.4 million copies and winning the prestigious Akutagawa Prize.  

While the challenges and conflicts that have arisen between streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and more traditional movie/television production are well-known to all, many still believe the two realms of storytelling have more in common than that which sets them apart, and so this year’s screenings of Hibana provide a new way of experiencing this sort of independent production, combining the more intimate, longer-form storytelling of a television series with the grand scale of a classic movie theater.  

In addition to being a part of this remarkable first for both Nippon Connection and Japanese media, anyone who attends the opening screening of the first three episodes Saturday evening (28 May, 10:15pm in Mousonturm) will have a chance to meet the two lead actors of the series (Kento Hayashi and Kazuki Namioka), as well as one of the primary directors (Shinji Kuma).  Feel free to ask them any questions you have, and maybe get an autograph!  

While the initial three episodes will be aired at the time and place listed above, both they and the remaining seven episodes of the series will be shown all afternoon at Die Käs Theater, beginning at 2pm (check your programs for further details).  We look forward to seeing you there!  
-Noah Franc

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