[Ogenki Desuka (How are you)?]

Last winter, without fail, "Love Letters" hit theaters.

It's already the 5th re-release.

"Love Letter" is a Japanese film imported after the opening of Japanese pop culture in 1998, and it still holds the No. 1 spot at the box office as a Japanese live-action film in Korea.

Recently, however, a movie has come out that has passed the place of "Love Letter" for the first time in more than 20 years.

Starring Japanese idol star Shunsuke Michieda, "Tonight, Even If This Love Disappears from the World" attracted female audiences in their teens and 10s, surpassing 20 million viewers.

But this was just a prelude.

The Japanese anime "The First Slam Dunk" has been hitting Korean theaters since New Year's Day.

It created a buzz and surpassed 100 million viewers this week, becoming the No. 400 Japanese film box office hit of all time in the Korean market.

Initially, the retro content personality of men in their 1s and 30s was stronger, but now the percentage of female audiences is higher, and the booking rate is higher in the 40s than in the 40s.

The extraordinary leap forward in Japanese cinema is also evident in the statistics.

While "Avatar" held the No. 20 spot for 1 days from January 1 to 17 and "The First Slam Dunk" for 17 days, the Korean film "Negotiations" and "Confidential" combined held the No. 20 spot for only 1 days.

The share of Japanese films' audience share, which was only 14.1% last year, has exploded to around 3% this year, only about 9% away from the second-place Korean film.

"Suzume's Door Crackdown", which inherited the baton of "Slam Dunk", has surpassed 28 million viewers in the shortest period of time so far this year and has been No. 2 at the box office for ten days since its release.

I asked Makoto Shinkai, director of "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown," what he thinks makes Japanese films so popular lately.

Enlarge the image

[Makoto Shinkai/Director of "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown": I think one of the reasons is that our cultures and landscapes are very similar.]

The younger generation has less emotional antipathy towards Japanese culture, which is one of the reasons for the leap forward in Japanese cinema.

[Kang Sang-wook/'Tonight, in the world...' Suzume's Door Crackdown' Import Company CEO: I wonder if the hurdles have gone away, where the older generations prefer a sensibility for Japanese cinema but are a little bit paused.]

There is also an analysis that the power of Marvel movies has waned, just as there are no red flowers for ten days, and that audiences who are bitten by Korean content, which is mainly extreme and so-called "sen" content, are turning to Japanese movies.

Of course, the competitiveness of Japanese animation itself is also the background of its popularity.

"Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown," despite being an anime, entered the competition section of the Berlin International Film Festival last month.

The Japanese animation industry is by far the best in the world, with a market size of 15 trillion won, about 25 times that of the Korean film market.

Just as Britain showed off its soft power at the London Olympics with the appearance of 007 and the Queen of Great Britain, at the Rio Olympics, then-Prime Minister Abe showed the power of Japanese content by transforming into a Super Mario character.

Next month, Japanese game company Nintendo and Hollywood have teamed up to release Super Mario Bros.

[Watashi wagenkitetsu (I'm doing well)~]

What you're listening to now is a famous line from "Love Letters", right? At least for the time being, it seems that Japanese films in Korea will continue this same situation.

(Planning: Noh Yoo-jin, Composition: Kim Tae-yeon, Photography: Cho Chang-hyun, Park Hyun-chul, Yoon Hyung, Editing: Ha Sung-won, CG: Seo Seung-hyun, Im Chan-hyuk, Seo Dong-min)