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Hulu Japan
Hulu Japan green logo.svg
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
OTT video streaming platform
Traded asHulu
HeadquartersHigashi-Shinbashi, Minato, Tokyo,
Area servedJapan
OwnerNippon TV
Key peopleHiroyuki Oho (President)
Kazuo Takaya (CEO)
UsersIncrease2.8 million (as of 5 October 2021)[1]
LaunchedSeptember 1, 2011; 11 years ago (September 1, 2011)
Current statusActive

Hulu, known internationally as Hulu Japan, is a Japanese subscription streaming service service owned and operated by HJ Holdings, Inc, a subsidiary of Nippon TV. It was launched in September 2011 as the Japanese version of the American streaming service Hulu.[2] It was acquired by Nippon TV in 2014 and branched off from its American counterpart as Hulu Japan and it offers a library of television series from other television broadcasters including NHK, TBS Television, Fuji Television, and TV Tokyo among others, as well as Hulu original programming.

As of October 5, 2021, Hulu Japan has a total of 2.8 million subscribers in Japan.[1] In March 2015, Hulu Japan subscription's numbers had risen to 1 million memberships in all time record for the service.[3] This service was the sixth highest-grossing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in Japan as of 2022.[4]

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First logo, used from September 1, 2011–November 5, 2014
Second logo, used from November 5, 2014–May 30, 2021
Third logo, used since May 30, 2021

On September 1, 2011, Hulu, a video distribution service operating in the United States, launched its first overseas expansion in Japan. The business in Japan was to be conducted by Hulu Japan GK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hulu.[5] The company signed content distribution agreements with CBS, NBC, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and The Walt Disney Company. Users were charged a monthly fee of 1,480 yen, and unlike in the U.S., no free service was offered.[6][7]

The Japanese user base is characterized by a relatively large number of customers viewing on smartphones and tablets compared to the United States. Compared to the U.S., more Japanese viewers use smartphones and tablets to watch movies. In addition, the trend in frequency and viewing time shows that many viewers are watching a single movie in "small segments," said Kazushi Sawa, General Manager, Content & Alliance Division, Hulu Japan GK.[8]

In January 2012, Hulu Japan began streaming films owned by Toho, a distribution company primarily responsible for the release of Universal films in Japan.[9] The following month, Hulu Japan announced that it had signed contracts to distribute content from Japanese film distributors Asmik Ace Entertainment, Kadokawa Shoten, Shochiku, Toei, Nikkatsu, and AMG Entertainment to distribute their content.[10]

The fee was reduced to 980 yen in April 2012.[11] The number of users of the service exceeded 1.85 million as of March, seven months after its launch.[12] In November 2013, Hulu Japan announced a partnership with TBS Television to distribute over 3,000 episodes of TBS content. At the time, the service delivered approximately 14,000 titles.[13]

On February 27, 2014, Nippon Television Network Corporation acquired Hulu's Japanese business from Hulu, LLC for an undisclosed amount; the new company, HJ Holdings GK, established by Hulu, LCC through a corporate separation, would become a subsidiary of Nippon TV.[14][15][16] The service would continue to license and retain the "Hulu" brand and technology in Japan under a subsidiary of Nippon as part of a separate agreement.[17] After the acquisition of the service Hulu Japan's Vice Chairman Masafumi Funakoshi would state that he was aiming for the service to reach ¥150 billion in revenue by 2020.[18] Even after the acquisition by Nippon TV, Hulu continued to distribute programming from NHK, TBS Television, and TV Tokyo on its platform.[19]

On May 29, 2015, Hulu Japan announced that it would collaborate with Fuji Television to supply each other's content in the video streaming business. At Hulu Japan, some programs from NHK and all five major commercial television stations in Tokyo became available for viewing. However, only Fuji Television was part of the content sharing agreement.[20]

In June 2015, Hulu Japan released its first original drama series, The Last Cop, a remake of the German drama series Der letzte Bulle.[21] In October, a sequel drama series was co-produced with Nippon TV and broadcast on Nippon TV.[22] A sequel was released in theaters on May 3, 2017, as Last Cop The Movie and grossed 400 million yen at the box office.[23]

On February 16, 2016, Hulu Japan announced that it had signed an exclusive contract with the American cable channel HBO for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service in Japan.[24]

On May 8, 2017, Hulu Japan announced a revamp of its service. The reason for the revamp being that, despite Nippon TV's acquisition of Hulu Japan, Hulu Japan's distribution system was common with that of the United States, and thus could not undergo Japan-specific modifications.[25] In addition, the URL of "" has been changed to "" which was later revert back to "" in 2019. The reason for the change was to reduce risk during the system migration, and to make the transition without stopping the service.[26] This sudden change in the URL made users anxious that the name of the service might be changed, or that the service structure might be drastically altered.[25]

On May 17, 2017, the revamp took place, but the service could not be used properly for several days. Also, without notice, changes were made to the copyright protection rules, and some users who had externally connected their displays were unable to view the service.[25] This situation caused Hulu to offer users "Hulu 1 month free ticket", "Amazon gift certificate (1000 yen)" or "iTunes code (1000 yen)", and also caused the first decrease in users since the acquisition.[27][28]

On May 16, 2017, Hulu Japan announced that it had 1,551,595 paid subscribers in March but in July 2017, however, the service announced that subscription numbers fell by 3,787 to 1,547,812 in June.[27]

In July 2017, Hulu Japan conducted a third-party allotment of shares with Yahoo! Japan, Toho, Yomiuri TV, and Chukyo TV as subscribers of the service with the purpose being to strengthen the management foundation and enable the production and procurement of more attractive content and significantly improve promotional capabilities.[29]

Hulu Japan launched its TVOD service, Hulu Store, on June 10, 2020. The store being available for SVOD members.[30] In June 2022, Hulu Japan introduced a new feature called "Points" which would allow users to rent or purchase videos from the Hulu Store on the Hulu app for Android and iOS devices with that feature enabling users to make one-time purchases of content within the app.[31]



The distributors who license content to Hulu Japan include NHK, TBS Television, Fuji Television, and TV Tokyo, among others.

In addition, Hulu Japan has its own programming that is feed from its parent company Nippon TV that is available through the service.


Hulu Japan is streaming all Japan Rugby League One events, B.League basketball, Yomiuri Giants (which is owned by Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings who also owns Nippon TV) baseball, and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) events (from 1972 until 1999 which footage is owned by Nippon TV).

Starting from August 2022, Hulu Japan signed a multi-year domestic distribution partnership agreement with Eredivisie to broadcast games from 2022–23 season onwards mainly Ajax and AZ Alkmaar games.[32]


  1. ^ a b Brzeski, Patrick (2021-10-05). "Amazon Leads Netflix, Disney+ in Japan's Expanding Streaming Market, Study Shows". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  2. ^ "Nippon TV Acquires Hulu Service in Japan". 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  3. ^ "2018年度決算説明資料" (PDF). Nippon TV. May 23, 2019. p. 28. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "U—NEXT 2位浮上 動画配信 昨年シェア ネトフリ 4年連続首位" [U-NEXT rose to No.2 in video distribution market share last year Netflix topped the list for 4 consecutive years]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). March 27, 2023. p. 7.
  5. ^ "アメリカで話題のHuluが日本でサービスを開始". September 1, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2023.
  6. ^ "Hulu Launches Subscription Service in Japan". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  7. ^ "Sale Pending, Hulu Launches in Japan". Reuters (in Japanese). 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  8. ^ "「Hulu」の"日本版サービスにしかない魅力"とは ー フールージャパンのキーパーソンに聞く (1/3)". PHILE WEB (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  9. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2012-01-20). "Hulu、ターミネーター3など東宝東和の映画を配信". AV Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  10. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2012-02-01). "映画見放題の「Hulu」、角川や松竹など配給会社6社と提携、日本映画を拡充". INTERNET Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  11. ^ "Google workers in Japan have joined a labor union in response to planned layoffs". Engadget. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  12. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2012-04-26). "Huluに月間185万人が訪問、課題は「認知度の低さ」". INTERNET Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  13. ^ "Huluが日本国内コンテンツをさらに強化! TBS過去の名作ドラマも観られるようになるぞ | ガジェット通信 GetNews". ガジェット通信 GetNews (in Japanese). 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  14. ^ "Huluの日本市場向け事業を承継し定額制動画配信に参入~Huluの作品ラインアップも大幅強化~" [Nippon TV to acquire the Japanese division of Hulu, alongside a major content revamp]. Nippon TV Corporate Site (in Japanese). Archived from the original on September 2, 2020. Retrieved 2022-02-27.
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (27 February 2014). "Hulu Japan to Be Acquired by Nippon TV". Variety. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  16. ^ Hopkins, Mike (27 February 2014). "An International Update From Hulu in Japan". Hulu. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Hulu sells its 'Hulu Japan' service to Nippon TV". VentureBeat. 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  18. ^ "動画配信:新サービス 日テレ、「月1007円で見放題」開始 フジ、F1などCS放送と同時中継" [Video distribution: New service Nittele started "All-you-can-watch for 1007 yen/month" Fuji, F1, and other CS broadcasts simultaneously]. Mainichi Shimbun. April 11, 2014. p. 5.
  19. ^ "日テレが取得のHulu「NHK・TBS・テレ東の番組配信は続ける」". ITmedia NEWS (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  20. ^ "Huluとフジ、互いに動画供給 提携、NHK・在京キー局すべてに" [Hulu and Fuji to supply video to each other, NHK and all Tokyo key stations.]. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). May 30, 2015. p. 10.
  21. ^ Filmstarts (22 April 2015). ""Der letzte Bulle": Hulu Japan produziert Remake der erfolgreichen deutschen TV-Serie mit Henning Baum". (in German). Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  22. ^ "唐沢寿明×窪田正孝「ラストコップ」が帰ってくる! 10月期の新ドラマへ". (in Japanese). 2 August 2016. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  23. ^ "唐沢寿明ショック…GW映画「ラストコップ」大コケの理由|日刊ゲンダイDIGITAL". 日刊ゲンダイDIGITAL. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  24. ^ "HuluがHBOと独占契約" [Hulu Signs Exclusive Deal with HBO]. Yomiuri Shimbun. February 18, 2016. p. 37.
  25. ^ a b c 日本経済新聞社・日経BP社 (26 July 2017). "Huluになにが起きたか トラブルで露呈した未成熟さ|MONO TRENDY|NIKKEI STYLE". NIKKEI STYLE (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  26. ^ "日本のHuluが「」にURL変更 なぜ?". ITmedia NEWS (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  27. ^ a b 株式会社インプレス (2017-05-18). "Hulu、'17年3月末加入者は155万1,595人。17日リニューアル". AV Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  28. ^ "1000円返金でも怒りが収まらないHuluトラブルの怪 | ネットから読み解く経済・社会 | まつもとあつし". 毎日新聞「経済プレミア」 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  29. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2017-07-26). "Huluにヤフー、東宝、讀賣・中京テレビらが出資。コンテンツ制作・調達を強化". AV Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  30. ^ "Hulu、映像作品の単体レンタル・販売へ 「Huluストア」スタート(要約)". ITmedia NEWS (in Japanese). 2020-06-05. Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  31. ^ 株式会社インプレス (2022-06-29). "Huluストアに「ポイント」。アプリ上で購入が可能に". AV Watch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  32. ^ "『Hulu』がエールディヴィジの独占配信を発表! 菅原所属AZや盟主アヤックスを中心に44試合". (in Japanese). Goal. Retrieved 2022-08-05.

External links

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