Elegant kimono, cascading wisteria blossoms and the stunning scenery of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. If this sounds like an archetypal scene from the land of the rising sun, you’d be half right – new drama ‘Kol Kimono’, which hits TV screens in December, is definitely set in Japan. But you won’t find it broadcast there just yet – only in Thailand!

In Thailand, interest in Japanese culture is at an all-time high. Thanks in part to relaxed visa regulations, the number of Thai visitors to Japan has doubled in the last three years. The new primetime drama, which started filming on location in Kyushu last week, also stars Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre, one of Thailand’s biggest names, in his first leading role in 17 years.

▼ Thongchai McIntyre, king of Thai pop.



Entitled Kol Kimono, the 24-part drama is described as a romance with fantasy elements. As you might expect from a plot described as “a cross between Romeo and Juliet and tanabata [a Japanese festival held in July, which has its origins in a story of star-crossed lovers]”, the story revolves around two feuding families.

BEC Group, Thailand’s biggest TV broadcasting company, says the show will be “the highest-class drama in Thai history”. They certainly seem to be pulling out all the stops, with an unprecedented high budget for a drama, and 80 percent of the filming taking place in Kyushu, Japan. Hoping that tourists are inspired to visit the locations shown in the drama will be business-owners in Imari, Ureshino and Takeo cities in Saga Prefecture, which are said to have been used for key scenes.

▼ Lead character Hoshi’s name even means “star” in Japanese. Because they’re star-crossed lovers, right?


To coincide with the show’s first broadcast in December this year, events in Bangkok are being planned, including a kimono fashion show and the opportunity for visitors to try on kimono. There’s no news yet of an international release date, but we’re certainly intrigued by this new drama’s concept and set-up. It’s been given a Japanese title, too (Kimono Hiden, meaning “kimono mystery” or “secrets of kimono”), so we’re looking forward to finding out what Japan makes of its depiction in a Thai drama!


The cast and crew are in Japan from May 14 for the start of filming, as well as for press conferences and some slightly less conventional events, including “praying for the show to be a hit”:

Source: Japaaan Mag, DreamNews