Japanese actresses are making inroads into Korean TV soaps. SBS series "The King of Dramas" on Tuesday featured Mina Fujii as Akiko, the young wife of a Japanese businessman.
She made her film debut in "Simsons" in 2006 and has appeared in dramas "The Fantastic Deer Man" and "Bloody Monday."
"Vampire Prosecutor 2" on cable channel OCN features Yuriko Yoshitaka. A Korea-Japan joint project "Rainbow Rose" which concluded last month on Tooniverse, starred Erena Mizusawa.
"As the plot of TV series takes place in wider space, there are more opportunities for actors of various nationalities to appear in Korean TV series," says Lee Hyun-jik, a producer at SBS. And Yoon Ho-jin at Korea Creative Contents Agency adds, "A multinational cast also gives a show diversity and expands the potential for export."
Some producers cast Japanese actors and secure funding from Japan with export in mind. The "Vampire Prosecutor" series was made for W10 billion (US$1=W1,086), with half of that coming from Japanese entertainment company Amuse.
Lee Seung-hoon, a producer at CJ E&M, said, "We cast a popular Japanese actress to target the whole Asian market, not only Japan. Korean dramas get exported beyond Asia to Europe and the Americas. Japanese agencies also hope to help their stars to launch international career through Korean dramas."