The intention behind Produce 101 Japan is to form an 11-member boygroup for the global market. The winner group than will be signed to Lapone Entertainment, wich is a company specificly created for Produce 101 Japan, who is based on Osaka (Japan).
For the first season auditions took place between April and May 2019 and over 6.000 males between 15 and 30 years old auditioned from allover Japan aswell as a few participants from outside Japan as for example Korea and Canada.
Several episodes of the first season were filmed in Paju, South Korea. before filming the rest in Japan.
After a scandal happening at the original Produce series in Korea, the production committee stated in November 2019 that they are not affiliated with the Korean production team as well as having a different voting-system with the votes being analyzed by a lawyer. Following the departure of South Korean contestants Kim Heecheon, Kim Youndong and Jeong Younghoon, the production committee issued a statement explaining that the contestants were eligible for the show, as they were living in Japan at the time and their mandatory military service was not a reason why they had left. In addition, they issued an official warning to the viewers to not spread malicious rumors about the contestants on social media.
The audition for the second season were announced in November 2020 and the participants had time to audition between the last week of November and the first week of December.
Different to the first season a lot was uploaded in February 2021 to the show's Youtube account and most of it was even subtitled in English. The first episode of the second season aired on April 1st, 2021. Due to the Corona virus epidemic, even though 101 participants were shown on Youtube the production committee stated that they were only working with 60 of the participants this time.
The second season finished off on the June 12th, 2021 resulting the winner group called INI
In early 2023 it was revealed that a 3rd season would take place, casting the first girlgroup for Lapone Entertainment who was having 3 boygroups at that time. The auditions took place from the end of April and ended a month later in May.
The first episode aired on October 5th, 2023. And differently to the previous seasons it had been filmed through a Korean production team instead of a Japanese one.
The third season finished off on December 16th, 2023 resulting in the winner group called ME:i