Google teams up with major Japanese film studio

Google teams up with a major Japanese film studio to create samurai and ninja films.

JAPAN (GOOGLE) – Google’s YouTube team in Tokyo announced on Tuesday (April 7) their involvement in a collaborative studio project with Toei, a major Japanese film studio.

This project will allow video bloggers to use Toei’s expertise as well as the studio set at Youtube in Tokyo for free, to create a traditional genre of Japanese theatre set in the Edo Period (1603-1868), called ‘jidaigeki’.

“Jidaigeki is a traditional story telling format here in Japan. It’s very historical, it comes from pre-war, post-war, and of course the boom of Japanese cinema in the 50’s and 60’s. People like Kurosawa (are famous for it),” David Macdonald, head of YouTube Space in Asia Pacific, told Reuters.

Jidaigeki are sometimes called samurai films, and often known overseas as ninja films when ninjas are featured.

The collaborative project, which kicked off on Tuesday, is for a limited time only, and will end in May.

“So we hope that YouTube creators will learn from the genre, will make it their own, and create great content that their audiences will love, and new audiences will love too, not just here in Japan but also around the world,” Macdonald added.

Avid YouTube users are looking forward to using the set, including Asahi Sasaki who uploads make-up tutorial videos. She currently has more than a quarter of a million subscribers.

“The great aspect about YouTube is its ability to reach viewers from all over the world. I believe there are many viewers who are interested in Japan, making it a great channel to spread the culture, and for more female Youtubers to gain exposure,” Asahi Sasaki told Reuters, as she tried out a set costume in YouTube’s studio.

As YouTube prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, Google hopes more people like Asahi will use their studios to create greater numbers of high-quality videos for online viewers.

Toei will provide video creators with technical direction and open up their Toei Kyoto Studio Park. The park is not only a famous tourist attraction but is also used as a film set for the many “jidaigeki” Toei films.