Japan's NHK Picks up Netflix Original Drama 'Hibana'

Naoki Matayoshi

This is the first time the public broadcaster will show content that originated on an Internet platform on its main channel.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK has picked up Netflix original drama series Hibana: Spark for its main TV terrestrial channel.

Based on the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Hibana, the series was written by comedian and screenwriter Naoki Matayoshi, half of comedy double act Peace; it tells the story of a pair of comedians. Hibana was first broadcast worldwide on Netflix in June last year.

The 10-episode series will be shown Sunday evenings on NHK, beginning Feb. 26.

Netflix launched in Japan in 2015 and last year collaborated with NHK on the Tokyo Trials historical drama about the war crimes trials held after World War Two. The drama was broadcast on NHK in Japan, then distributed worldwide on Netflix outside Japan, before being shown on the NHK On-Demand service and then on Netflix in Japan.

Hibana will be the first series that debuted on an Internet platform to broadcast on NHK, Japan's largest terrestrial broadcaster.

Netflix has been ramping up its original content in Japan, where it competes with Amazon Video, Hulu and a slew of local platforms.