Japan’s Toei has acquired Korean hit The Man From Nowhere from Seoul-based M-Line Distribution which is handling Asian territories on the film.

Although Toei sometimes distributes foreign films for other buyers, the deal marks the first time since the 1980s that the Japanese studio has made an acquisition. Toei execs said it would give them a chance to test one of the hottest Korean films of 2010 in the Japanese market.

“If one of the Japanese majors buys and distributes a Korean title, it should have a good impact on both markets and could trigger the development of further relationships and collaboration,” said Toei manager of international sales and purchasing, Tadayuki Okubo.

Produced by Lee Tae-hun’s Opus Pictures and directed by Lee Jeong-beom, The Man From Nowhere stars Won Bin as a former special agent who protects a ten-year-old girl. It has racked up more than 6.2 million admissions in Korea.

CJ Entertainment is handling US and Europe on the film and sold it earlier in the market to Well Go USA, Borsalino for Latin America and Splendid for Germany and Benelux.

Meanwhile, Toei is also close to sealing a US deal on the 3D version of Kinji Fukasaku’s cult action thriller Battle Royale.