Netflix is giving global fans a sneak peak at its forthcoming Japanese original series Sanctuary, a YA drama set within the reclusive world of Japanese professional sumo wrestling. (See the first teaser trailer and art from the show below.)
Set to launch on Netflix on May 4, the series follows a juvenile delinquent who becomes a sumo apprentice — and soon finds himself on a collision course with a voiceless wrestler carrying a secret.
Netflix describes the show as offering “a gritty look into the underbelly of professional sumo, a world full of young men with ambitions for money, women, fame, and power.”
“This is the story of the sumo ring,” the streamer adds, “where some may find sanctuary with a history of more than 1,500 years in Japan’s traditional culture and as a religious ceremony.”
The series is written by Tomoki Kanazawa (who recently penned the TBS medical drama Get Ready!) and directed by Kan Eguchi (The Fable). The show’s large ensemble cast includes Wataru Ichinose, Shota Sometani, Shioli Kutsuna, Tomorowo Taguchi and Kitarou Katsuya, among others.
Netflix is rolling out a sizable slate of Japan originals in 2023 as it seeks to grow subscribers in what’s still the world’s third-largest economy. Regional consultancy Media Partners Asia estimated that Netflix had about 7.2 million subscribers in Japan at the end of the first quarter of 2023, which is about 15 percent of the country’s premium subscription video market.
Sanctuary follows the recent launch of series like First Love, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Makanai: Cooking in the Maiko House and season two of Alice in Borderland, which quickly became the most-watched Japanese show ever on Netflix. Upcoming Japanese releases include live action versions of classic manga Yu Yu Hakusho and City Hunter, as well as forthcoming feature films like Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead and In Love & Deep Water.
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