The Orbital Children
Photo: ©Mitsuo Iso/Avex Pictures The Orbital Children

New Japanese films and series coming to Netflix in January 2022

Keep an eye out for these new Japanese shows streaming on a small screen near you

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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2022 already? The beginning of the year is an exciting time for film and television, with the Golden Globes slated for early January followed by the Oscars in March. It’s an equally special time for Netflix, as the streaming platform readies itself for another big year of buzz-worthy acquisitions and original productions. 

You’ve already had a sneak peek of some of the more exciting projects in store for the coming months, but before the release of ‘Love is Blind Japan’ or Netflix’s collaborations with Hirokazu Kore-eda, we’ve got a lineup of new shows and movies slated for January. Here’s what to watch to start your year right (note: regional restrictions may apply). 

The Journalist 

Synopsis: Anna Matsuda is a journalist at Toto Newspaper – an agency with a reputation for covering controversial issues and hard-hitting news. When Anna catches wind of a political scandal, she resolves to expose shocking secrets that corrupt government officials have kept under wraps. But with powerful enemies who would do anything to silence her, the journalist’s mission grows more dangerous as she gets closer to unraveling the scandal. 

Overview: This six-episode series is directed by Michihito Fuji, who’s also behind the eponymous 2019 film adaptation. While the film made a splash among Japanese audiences for confronting recent real-life political scandals in Japan, the series promises to feature an entirely new plot, giving it potential to surpass its predecessor. With screenplay contributions from Yoshitatsu Yamada and Kazuhisa Kotera, who are both credited as writers in the hit series ‘The Naked Director’, there’s good reason to be excited for this original Netflix production set to be released globally. 

Available January 13. 

The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese 

Synopsis: Kyoichi Otomo is a married salaryman, but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing a string of casual affairs behind his wife’s back. Kyoichi’s wife Chikako suspects that her husband is being unfaithful to her and hires a man called Wataru Imagase to spy on Kyoichi and confirm her suspicions. Wataru, however, knows Kyoichi from university and has even been harbouring a years-long crush on him. When Wataru meets Kyochi for the first time in several years, he makes an unexpected proposition to protect Kyoichi’s secrets from his wife. 

Overview: Directed by Isao Yukisada, ‘The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese’ is a well executed film adaptation of Setona Mizushiro’s BL (boys’ love) manga series. Starring Tadayoshi Okura as Kyoichi and Ryo Narita as Wataru, the story teeters between deep sorrowful longing and the immeasurable joy that comes with being in love. 

Available January 11. 

The Orbital Children 

Synopsis: It’s 2045 and Japan has built its very first space station designed for children. While space travel has now become a common feature of everyday life, disaster strikes when a group of children are left behind on the station with no means of returning home and no adults to help them. With limited resources, the five kids begin contemplating how to survive. 

Overview: Created by master animator Mitsuo Iso whose credits include ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (1995) and ‘Kill Bill’ (2003), the ‘Orbital Children’ is a two-part, six-episode series that examines our society and the way we live through a space adventure in a futuristic dystopia. Netflix will be releasing part one of the series worldwide this January, while part two will follow in February. 

Available January 28. 

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