Japan’s First Gay Dating Show ‘The Boyfriend’ Debuting On Netflix

Japan’s First Gay Dating Show ‘The Boyfriend’ Debuting On Netflix
Image: Source: Netflix

Netflix’s upcoming dating show The Boyfriend is Japan’s first same-sex romance reality series.

Debuting on July 9 with other episodes to release through the month, the reality series follows nine young men in search of love and friendship as they spend a Summer living together.

Sequestered together in a beachside abode known as the “Green Room”, each participant has their own unique story to share.

But the group has one thing in common: They are all attracted to men.

Spanning ten episodes, the series will cover first love and heartbreak as the cast members work together at a charming coffee truck.

Across the arc of the series connections are forged, as the men express themselves and their feelings for each other in bold and brave new ways.

Producers of The Boyfriend hope it will encourage broader acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in Japan, which has still not legalised same-sex unions.

Focus not solely on romance in The Boyfriend

Executive Producer Dai Ota said: “We started out wanting to highlight the young men’s friendships and personalities. Our focus wasn’t just on romance but also on spending time together and experiencing personal growth.”

Broadening the discussions beyond romantic relationships “led to many unexpected miracles on set”, added chief producer Keisuke Hishida, who said that the series also explores “shared friendships, youth and struggles” among the cast.

Starting on July 9, new episodes of The Boyfriend will be released every Tuesday over four weeks up until the finale on July 30.

The cast features Shun, 23, an artist; Taeheon, 34, a designer from Korea; Usak, 36, a go-go dancer; Ikuo,22, a food service industry worker; Gensei, 34, a hair and makeup artist from Taiwan; Dai, 22, a university student; Alan, 29, an IT company employee from Brazil; Kazuto, 27, a Japanese cuisine chef; and Ryota, 28, a model and barista.

Watching along with the viewers is an eclectic group of commentators hosting, offering insights and opinions, including Megumi, Chiaki Horan, Thelma Aoyama, Durian Lollobrigida and Yoshimi Tokui.

The series was filmed in Tateyama, a city in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, known as a “beach town” close to Tokyo.

Twitter reacts

Twitter/X reactions to the news was largely fanning. One user put it astutely: “Looks gay, I’m in.” Another glowed: “Japanese dating shows always have great aesthetics. My expectations are high. Can’t wait to watch.”

Many compared it to Terrace House, another Japanese dating show where six people live under the same roof while dating one another. User Seoul Theydy said the following: “Honestly humiliating how seated I am for this…terrace house is like peak entertainment to me AND it’s gay AND they work at a coffee cart AND there’s sick wide shots.”

Another enthused: “Ok my Tokyo crush is in this and I just KNOW he’s about to be this season’s troublemaker. Need this NOW.”

The Boyfriend begins airing on July 9, exclusively on Netflix.

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