This must be temporary. Nothing, not really. It's the heyday of K-content, and K-content is always the No. 1 global content on Netflix, does it make sense that Japanese films have a share of nearly 30% in the Korean market? It's not even the WBC.
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The audience share of Japanese films this year hit 30.3% yesterday. That's probably unprecedented. It is not even 1 percent different from the United States (33.8 percent), which ranks first, and South Korea, which is 3 percent, and South Korea, which is second, (2.31 percent).
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The highest share of Japanese films in the past five years was in 5, when "Blade of Destruction: Infinite Train" (the No. 1 box office film of all time in the Japanese market) reached the seventh place at the box office with 215.7 million viewers. The 2021.6% share of Japanese movie audiences that year was also quite high compared to previous years. The audience share of Japanese films was only 2% in 2018~2020 and 1.3% last year, but this year it is still less than 9/1, but it is approaching 4%, so it is an explosive growth.
Last week, "The First Slam Dunk," the first Japanese film to surpass 30 million viewers, took over the momentum with "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown." "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown" has been at No. 400 at the box office for 11 days from its release date to yesterday. In addition to "Suzume's Paragraph Break" and "The First Slam Dunk" (No. 1), three films made it to the top five at the box office yesterday, including "Blade of Destruction: The Gathering of Sanghyun, and To the Potter's Village" (No. 5). Last week, Japanese films swept the first, second, and third places in advance sales.
This year, a total of 2 days have been the number one Japanese film. Korean films "Negotiations" and "Confidential" together last only 5 days. Of course, there are limitations. All three Japanese films are Japanese animated films called "Japanimation." But there is a remarkable phenomenon.
In 3, the Kim Tae-chung government announced the opening up of Japanese pop culture. The following year, in September 1, the second round of pop culture opening expanded the scope of the opening to include "recognized international film festival winners" and "all-audience films." Animation was excluded. The Japanese film that came in at this time was Shunji Iwai's "Love Letter" (2).
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It was the fourth imported Japanese film after "Hanabi" (1997. directed by Takeshi Kitano, Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival), "Kagemusha" (1980. directed by Akira Kurosawa, Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival) and "Unagi" (1997. directed by Shohei Imamura, Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival).
"Love Letters" was hugely popular at the time, to the point that some people still watch the film again every winter. Before the opening, there were already many people who saw it as an illegal video, and even when there was no word "meme", it was already "Oh Genki Desu?" was a meme. "Love Letter" has reached well over 1 million viewers and is still the No. 1 box office hit for Japan's live-action films.
However, the Japanese live-action film "Tonight, Even If This Love Disappears from the World," released late last year, exceeded 1.1 million viewers. It is a romance film starring Japanese idol star Shunsuke Michieda, and has received great support from female audiences in their teens and 20s. Judging from the box office performance so far, if a Japanese live-action film exceeds 1 million in Korea, it can be said to be an invitation. So, after 21 years, the box office success of "Oseisa (Even if this love disappears from the world tonight)," which surpassed the box office success of "Ju-on" (2002), was unexpected.
"Our 'Oseisa' is said to have exceeded 1 million viewers, but the movie that holds the No. 1 spot is 'Love Letter.' It is supposed to have mobilized 1.15 million people, but at that time there was no integrated computer network." (Until the integrated computer network system of the Film Promotion Commission is in place, the statistics are much less accurate; in fact, it is estimated that "Love Letters" mobilized 4-5 million people nationwide at the time of its release.)
This is the story of Kang Sang-wook, CEO of Media Castle, the importer of "Oseisa".
Mediacastle has specialized in importing live-action films such as "I Want to Eat Your Pancreas" (2017) and anime films such as "Your Name Is" (2017), "Weather Child" (2019) and "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown." In particular, while investing in "5 Centimeters Per Second" (2007), he developed a friendship with director Makoto Shinkai, which made "Your Name Is" a huge hit in the Korean market.
Kang, who was interested in culture, also imported French films such as Wang Kai-wei and "Labum" before turning to Japanese films.
"When I look at the share statistics by country, the first place is South Korea, the second place is the United States, and this one is decided. Although the two can be interchangeable. But even though it falls a long way, the third place is always Japanese. How I interpreted this was, "If you bring in Japanese films, they won't be a big box office hit, but there will be people who enjoy the sensibilities of Japanese films. The relationship between Korea and Japan is politically dangerous, but culture is an unstoppable and unstoppable problem, so let's specialize in this way.'"
I asked Kang what he thought was the reason why Japanese films, which had fallen far from third place, have been super strong recently. Kang talked about the 20-somethings, a key audience for Japanese films.
"Even if the older generation prefers Japanese film sensibilities, there was a hurdle that made them pause a little bit, but I think that hurdle has been lowered for younger audiences as generations have changed. Also, if you look at 'Oseisa,' there are movies like '500 Days of Summer' and '50th First Kiss,' so the subject of anterior amnesia is so fresh and desperate for the younger generation, even though it's old for my generation."
Kang also said that it lacks a backward heart compared to Korean films, and that Japanese films, which have been in the doldrums for a while, are trying something they haven't done recently.
"And honestly, when it comes to 2D animation, Japan is just global number one."
As Kang said, Japanese animation has always been the best in the world in terms of production and popularity in subcultures. "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown," which is now No. 1 at the box office, was also invited to compete last month at the Berlin International Film Festival, which favors independent films and films with a political overtone, and director Matoko Shinkai and the lead actress (voice actress) held a red carpet event in Berlin. IN THE LIST OF CULTURAL INFLUENCES BY US NEWS & WORLD REPORT, WHICH IS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS VARIOUS RANKINGS, JAPAN RANKS FOURTH AFTER ITALY, FRANCE, AND THE UNITED STATES. (South Korea is also ranked high, 7th)
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Makoto Shinkai, who recently came to Korea Dokdo was asked why Japanese films have been so popular in Korea recently. Director Shinkai said that when you live in Japan, you more often feel that "Korean content is really strong," and you encounter K-content every day in your daily life.
"As I drove to the press conference today, I felt nostalgic for the street outside the window and thought it was a bit of a futuristic landscape. I think it's a country that is very close, but it seems a little different, and it feels like time is a little off. The urban landscape is man-made. There is a certain resemblance in the minds of the people of both countries, so I wonder if Koreans like my work."
The "super power" of Japanese cinema will only be a temporary phenomenon. Next month, Nintendo and Universal Pictures will release the 3D animation "Super Mario Bros.," which will continue the popularity of "Suzume's Paragraph Crackdown," but even so, it is expected to end with an audience share of around 10% for Japanese films by the end of the year. (Still, it seems to be the highest number ever.)
In fact, I'm not worried about Japanese films doing well, I'm worried about the sluggish performance of Korean films. No matter how early the year, only three Korean films released this year are in the top 10 at the box office: "Negotiations" at No. 4, "Confidential" at No. 8, and "Ghost" at No. 9. More than 3 million viewers is just one "bargain" of 100.172 million.
The bigger problem is that these films feel like they've been seen in one day. One gets the impression that Korean films are coming out with similar works at some point. With "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania" (why are all movie titles so long these days) only reaching 154.<> million viewers and Marvel is on the verge of dying, the sluggish performance of Korean films at the beginning of the year is even more unfortunate.
Korean drama series are still dominating on Netflix, but is K-content just past its peak? Chairman Hive Bang Si-hyuk recently appeared at the Kwanhoon Forum and said that the growth of K-pop is slowing. Korean films whose release was pushed back due to the corona crisis are still piled up in warehouses. The after-effects of not investing properly in Korean cinema may be starting to appear.
There is great failure in great success, and great success hides in great failure. Just as the moon tilts when it is full, and the one who rises with the sword perishes with the sword, so man eventually perishes what he does best. Culture, too, is bound to bite if the same thing is repeated. It's time to think about what Korean cinema has done best so far.
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