Japanese TV hit Train Man cracks America

CANNES, France • Hit Japanese series Train Man will be adapted for American audiences, its producers said on Tuesday, reversing a historic trend that has almost always gone in the opposite direction.

The half-hour musical series, based on a true story about a nerdy young man who asks for dating advice on an online comic book chatroom, is a cultural phenomenon in Japan. His agonising over how to talk to a girl he sees on a train has spurred a novel, a manga and a feature film as well as the hugely successful television series.

Known as Densha Otoko in Japan, the American version of Train Man will be directed by Adam Shankman of Hairspray (2007) fame, its producers said at Mipcom, the world's biggest entertainment showcase at Cannes on the French Riviera.

It is the first time in its 50-year history that Fuji Television, one of the country's biggest networks, has sold a show to the American market.

Its managing director Toru Ota said: "I am thrilled that the Hollywood remake of our mega-hit drama has begun. Train Man may have depicted our 'otaku', or anime cartoon nerd, in a comical way, but audiences found him authentic and embraced him."

The American version of the series will be written by Phil Rosenthal and Tucker Cawley, who wrote the series Everybody Loves Raymond.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Japanese TV hit Train Man cracks America'. Print Edition | Subscribe