Disney Expands Deal With Japan’s Kodansha, Set to Reveal New Titles for Asia Pacific Region

The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific has revealed an expansion of its 70-year collaboration with publishing house Kodansha to include Japanese anime. Disney and Kodansha have worked together in the publishing space, and will now venture into the world of anime.

The expanded collaboration will include licensing exclusive SVOD anime titles based on manga produced by Kodansha. These will begin with “Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc” that will launch exclusively on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar in Jan. 2023.

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Yoshinobu Noma, Kodansha representative director and president, said: “The special relationship between Kodansha and Disney stretches back over 70 years, and has seen us bring to life many Disney licensed publications. With today’s announcement, we are thrilled to be able to further diversify and elevate the relationship between our two companies and share even more of our beloved anime titles with the world on Disney+ and its streaming platforms.”

Carol Choi, executive VP of original content strategy, The Walt Disney Company APAC, added: “We are thrilled to deepen our strategic collaboration with our long standing partner Kodansha on such an exciting genre. Japanese anime fills the white space in our content development plans and we believe this expanded collaboration will be a game changer in Disney’s future animation strategy in Japan. We look forward to bringing the anime titles and prized IP by Kodansha to the world stage.”

Meanwhile, at an event at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands convention center on Wednesday, Disney is revealing a host of titles, with some 50 shows from its 2023 theatrical and streaming content slate being presented to over 400 international press and partners. The new projects unveiled are part of Disney’s ambition to greenlight over 50 APAC originals by 2023.

Attendees include Japanese director Miike Takashi, Korean stars Jung Haein, Ko Kyungpyo and Kim Hyejun from the crime fantasy thriller “Connect”; Lee Donghwi, Heo Sungtae and acclaimed director Kang Yunsung from “Big Bet”; Yuya Yagira, Riho Yoshioka and director Katayama Shinzo from Japanese drama series “Gannibal”; and Chelsea Islan from the upcoming Indonesian superhero series “Tira.” Pixar’s director-animator-storyboard artist and voice actor Peter Sohn, director of feature film, “Elemental,” will also be at the event.

“Last October, at our first APAC Content Showcase, we made our first step into local content production with an ambitious, long-term plan to uncover the world’s best stories from this region, and to showcase creative excellence that can shine on the world stage,” said Luke Kang, president, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific in his opening remarks. “This year, it was important for us to showcase the breadth of our global branded content from our award-winning studios and iconic franchises, as well as our APAC content slate for 2023.”

Over the last year, over 45 new APAC titles have debuted on Disney’s streaming service. The total hours of locally-produced Asian content streamed on Disney+ is eight times more than it was a year ago, the company said.

“We are focusing our content development on what we refer to as our content white space,” Kang said. “Investing in areas that require more local specificity – either due to high popularity in select markets, like Japanese Anime, K-Dramas or Indonesia rom-coms and horror, or the need for local storytelling with talent that are familiar to our local audiences. We want to serve our viewers in every market with globally branded content like Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar, as well as locally produced stories that resonate with them – while also taking the best of those stories global.”

Disney’s streaming services now reach over 235 million subscribers across 154 markets worldwide.

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