Apr 25, 2022

Kakao Entertainment’s global blockbuster webtoon “Itaewon Class” to air as Japanese drama remake “Roppongi Class” on TV Asahi this coming July

SEOUL, Apr. 25, 2022 – Kakao Entertainment announced today that its global blockbuster webtoon “Itaewon Class” will be adapted into a Japanese TV drama called “Roppongi Class” by one of Japan’s leading broadcasters TV Asahi this coming July. This is after a TV adaptation of the webtoon saw major success in Korea two years ago.

The webtoon, written and drawn by artist Gwang-jin, tells the story of young entrepreneurs trying to break into the restaurant industry in Seoul’s Itaewon district, despite many trials and tribulations. As of April 2022, the webtoon has over 410 million cumulative views in Korea alone, while the Korean drama recorded viewership of 18.3 percent.1 In 2020, “Itaewon Class” became one of the most Googled keywords in Korea. The webtoon was also localized as “Roppongi Class” in Japan, where it generated a strong fan base. 

The Japanese TV adaptation is a three-way collaboration among Kakao Entertainment, the Korean drama producer SLL, and Japan’s TV Asahi. Kakao Entertainment’s production subsidiary Kross Pictures, which produced recent global hit dramas such as “A Business Proposal” and “Again My Life,” joins the project as well, boosting expectations.

The lead role will be played by rising Japanese actor Takeuchi Ryoma, who has played the lead character in numerous hit films such as “Downtown Rocket,” “Ship of Theseus,” and “Love You as the World Ends.” “Itaewon Class was very popular in Japan, and I thought it was a great story to be part of. I look forward to giving it my best,” the actor said. 

The airing of the Japanese drama is expected to draw readers back to the original webtoon “Itaewon Class” and the localized Japanese webtoon “Roppongi Class.” When the Korean TV drama aired in June 2020, the Japanese webtoon on Kakao’s Piccoma platform showed explosive growth with transaction volumes increasing 454 percent from the same period a year ago. 

Kakao Entertainment currently has a library of over 10,000 original webtoons and web novels – the largest in Korea. The company continues to expand the value of its content IPs to reach wider audiences through TV dramas and films, building on success cases such as “Itaewon Class,” “A Business Proposal,” and “Again My Life.” 

  1.  Source: Nielsen Korea, paid households in the metropolitan area