‘Soul Mate’: A Heartfelt Gay Romance Between Korean and Japanese Men Set to Premiere on Netflix

Netflix continues to expand its Japanese content portfolio with the announcement of “Soul Mate,” a live-action series that chronicles the ten-year romance between a Korean man and a Japanese man. The series, set across the vibrant backdrops of Berlin, Seoul, and Tokyo, promises to deliver a poignant tale of love, resilience, and the enduring bond between two souls.

In “Soul Mate,” a Japanese man (portrayed by Isomura Hayato) leaves everything behind in Japan and finds himself in a foreign land, where he is rescued by a boxer named Johan (portrayed by Ok Taec-yeon). The narrative unfolds to explore their deep connection and the challenges they face over a decade, despite the geographical distances that separate them.

The series is helmed by rising creator Hashizume Shunki, known for his work on “Scroll” and “More Than Words.” The idea for “Soul Mate” was sparked during a casual coffee conversation between Hashizume and executive producer Ota Dai, leading to the development of a story that celebrates the intersection of different cultures and backgrounds in a foreign land.

“We arrived at the ultimate destiny story, where people from different cultures and backgrounds meet and their lives intersect,” said Ota. “The story, filled with life’s joys and pains, combined with the exceptional performances from Isomura and Taec-yeon, will warm the hearts of viewers.”

Isomura Hayato, known for his roles in “Extremely Inappropriate!,” “(Ab)normal Desire,” and “The Moon,” expressed his connection to the script: “The script moved me with its story of love amidst sadness and pain, and the incredible ten-year story arc crafted by director Hashizume has truly immersed me in the character. Working with Ok Taec-yeon has been inspiring; his charm draws me in more each day. Filming in Japan, Korea, and Germany gives the project a truly global feel.”

Ok Taec-yeon, a member of the Korean boy band 2PM and an actor known for his roles in “Vincenzo” and “La Grande Maison Paris,” shared his thoughts on playing Johan: “The character of Johan Hwang intrigued me, and his inner struggles and pain stayed with me long after I read the script. To prepare, I lost weight and underwent boxing training, and I’ve continued to train diligently.”

The project follows Netflix’s announcement of its first Japanese same-sex reality show, “The Boyfriend,” which will air next month. This series, along with “Soul Mate,” highlights Netflix’s commitment to diverse storytelling and representation.

In addition to “Soul Mate,” Netflix recently unveiled an untitled romance series based on the 2010 French film “Les Émotifs Anonymes” (also known as “Romantics Anonymous”). This series, blending romance and humor, follows the love story of a man and a woman with different anxiety disorders who share a passion for chocolate. Directed by Tsukikawa Sho (“Yu Yu Hakusho”) and featuring Japan’s Oguri Shun and Korea’s Han Hyo-joo, this project is currently in production with Yong Film and Ryu Film.

With “Soul Mate” and other innovative projects on the horizon, Netflix continues to push boundaries and offer viewers around the world a diverse array of stories that resonate on a deeply human level.