Top Japanese Dramas: Japanese Dramas, commonly known as J-Dramas have become popular all over Japan and received fame globally. Unlike Korean Dramas, Japanese Dramas have their own adaptations taken from Anime or Manga characters and the duration of episodes is much shorter having 12-15 episodes per season only.
If you’re someone who wants to learn about the Japanese culture, language and traditions, then it is high time that you start watching Japanese dramas, as a common practice that is used to make Japanese dramas is that they are based on real-life Japanese situations.
One unique aspect of Japanese dramas is that not only do the writers focus on cliché themes but the issues of gender, society, depression, complex family situations, and teenage violence are also discussed. The dramas seem to offer a package of entertainment as the genre goes from Sci-fi, romcom, detective mystery stories, thriller, and horror, to comedy so if you like exploring various categories then pick up your remotes and turn to J-dramas for an emotional, fun and dramatic screen experience.
Recently, J dramas have been airing on more than just Japanese televisions as there is multiple contents available on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon as well, making it one of the top-grossing tv series. However, you don’t have to worry about where you should start if you’re new to watching J dramas or you’ve been fan of K dramas previously and want to explore more because we have compiled list of best Japanese dramas.
How To Pick The Best Japanese Dramas?
If you’ve seen Asian dramas then you know that Japanese dramas are one of the top ones in the list. Japanese dramas are diverse in their scripts and contain good quality plotlines, and a cast that are attractive enough to keep viewers for long. Characters in J dramas are unique and interesting and they have a whole personality of their own which will keep you hooked for a while. The shows made in the recent era are of high budget and quality so you won’t be bored spending time on television. However, having been made in various genres, it can get confusing to select a show that matches your mood, so we’ve tried our best to gather some contemporary amusing J series that you won’t regret watching!
Key Features About Top Japanese Dramas
If you’re planning to start on a Japanese series or movie, then it is important to consider some key features that distinguish J dramas from K dramas, and also know why J dramas are highly entertaining with unique characteristics. Spoiler: They’re highly addictive!
- Although having been made in various genres, J dramas rarely keep their horizon limited to Romance only. J dramas don’t show side characters or plots of romance until the category is romance only. They focus more on mystery, thriller, crime, and comedy.
- Actors/Actresses of Japanese dramas are known to be as realistic as possible, unlike Korean actors/actresses who are glorified for their beauty only. You will find characters that are full of flaws, with rare beauty traits. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be attracted by these models because they are relatable, funny and have acting or presenting skills that viewers are sure to be charmed by. Also, have a look at Top 20 Japanese Actresses.
- Japanese dramas always have a moral lesson towards the end of the story. If the storylines consist of one theme, suppose the show is about Medical doctors, then it will constitute about life in a hospital only, about patients and the struggle of doctors, and will not escape to any other genre.
- J dramas are always straight to the dot. They don’t have long episodes and an episode would usually be short as 30 mins.
- J dramas often have a lot of credentials from their culture. This was a huge reason why J dramas didn’t air outside Japan for a long time because the writers thought foreigners will not understand Japanese traditional references and jokes. So they limited shows to the native audience only, but with changing times after 2010, Japanese shows are aired in various countries without such restrictions.
↓ 10 – Best Japanese Romance Drama – Mischievous Kiss (Love In Tokyo)
Release Date: March- July 2013
Total Episodes: 16
Synopsis: If you’re a fan of teenage high school romance dramas, then this is the perfect show for you. Widely acclaimed and appreciated, Love in Tokyo is the fifth adaptation of “It Azura na kiss” written by Tada Kaoru. The plot focuses on a girl with low IQ, bad grades, and with average looks, who falls head over heels for a good-looking, intelligent guy in the school. Not to a surprise, the female lead (Honokaa Miki) is turned down by (Yuki Furukawa), but destiny has different decisions for them and they meet again after three years when Honokaa’s house is destroyed by storm and Honokaa’s family starts living with Yuki’s due to their family friendship. Honokaa realizes that she truly loves him and if he will ever lean towards her. Watch the whole series to unfold the story.
Why You Should Watch It: A light-hearted show with a humorous pitch to it. The actors did their job very well and make delightful characters to watch. The romance is played well with smart dialogues and you will remain hooked to learn about the ending of the story.
↓ 9 – Leading Japanese Drama On Netflix – Million Yen Women
Release Date: April-June 2017 (Netflix & Tokyo Tv)
Total Episodes: 1 Season, 12 Episodes
Synopsis: If you consider yourself a millennial woman and are interested in feminine lead shows then this would be the right pick for you this season. The show is new and is easily available on Netflix. The story is about five women who live in the house of a devastated novelist named Shin, they have set rules for the house and female interrogation is banned. These women particularly come from different backgrounds and will pay Shin a million yen every month as rent, which is unusually high for rent but that’s what creates the mysterious effect and keeps the viewers interested.
Why You Should Watch It: The direction and production are highly aesthetic and engaging. With captivating females in the show, each woman has their own diverse personality with mysterious layers to it that keep getting uncovered as the show progresses. A drama that you’re sure to finish in one day!
Also Take a Look at 10 Best Korean Movies that you must Watch
↓ 8 – Highest Rated Japanese Drama – My Boss My Hero
Release Date: July-September 2006
Total Episodes: 10
Synopsis: The plot focuses on main character’s life Makio Sakaki, He is the elder son of his father and wants to succeed him in the gang but because of his dumbness his father sends him back to high school to learn first and come back later. Makio must prove himself to be a worthy member of his family in order to gain his father’s position, otherwise, his younger brother will take over. As he joins high school, he lives various experiences and obstacles that he must rise through.
Why You Should Watch It: The show has received five stars globally and if you like emotional teenage dramas then you should definitely start watching this. With an amazing cast, the show contains sharp humor and is absolutely nostalgic!
↓ 7 – Top Japanese Actor In Drama – Good Doctor
Release Date: September 2018
Genre: Medical Drama
Total Episodes: 1 Season, 10 Episodes
Synopsis: If you’re a fan of grey’s anatomy and like watching medical shows, then this one’s for you! With its attractive and famous cast, the show has the main character of Kento Yamazaki. He plays the role of a boy who has savant syndrome and difficulty interacting. However, as he grows up he is assisted by Akira Shiga, because of Minato’s (Yamazaki) amazing anatomical learning abilities as a child. Minato, with help of Akira graduates from Medical school and now wants to enter the world of pediatric surgery. Watch the full show to learn about Minato’s life!
Why You Should Watch It: Unlike the Korean version, the show is well directed and performed. It doesn’t contain any love triangle and focuses on medical issues and the hardships that the main character has to face. Also, with Kento Yamazaki’s emotionally mature character and acting, you are sure to develop a crush over him.
↓ 6 – Great Japanese Series – Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
Release Date: 2009-2019 (Japanese Tv – Netflix)
Genre: Life, Emotional Drama, Food
Total Episodes: 3 Seasons, 30 Episodes
Synopsis: A Japanese Tv show adapted in its Netflix version features the story about a small restaurant in Tokyo that opens during midnight hours only. The owner of the restaurant is empathetic and mysterious and there to facilitate his diners with the food of their choice and his compassionate personality. The show explores various human relationships as different characters slide into the bar ranging from a cab driver, a gambler’s son to a porn star.
Why You Should Watch It: The show has a rating above 8, and is admired by viewers in several countries. Exceptionally written and directed, shows the flexibility of human situations. Sure to take you on an emotional rollercoaster!
↓ 5 – Japanese Drama Based On Manga – Alice In Borderland
Release Date: 2020
Total Episodes: 1 Season, 8 Episodes
Synopsis: Currently available on Netflix, the show is a remake of Manga series known as Haro Aso. The plot focuses on a group of two-three friends, trapped in an abandoned Tokyo where they have to play a dangerous game of cards for their survival. If their visa expires in the game, they will be dead being shot from the sky.
Why You Should Watch It: With amazing filming and capturing soundtracks, the series will definitely put your seat on edge the whole time. It is a masterpiece for thriller fans!
↓ 4 – Blockbuster Japanese Show – Unnatural
Release Date: March 2018
Total Episodes: 10 Episodes
Synopsis: The plot focuses on a forensic doctor who works at an unnatural death investigation laboratory and she unravels the mystery and cause of all unnatural deaths happening.
Why You Should Watch It: The show has a lead female that is inspirational and motivating for all young girls. Also if you’re a fan of suspenseful shows, then this one should be on your list!
↓ 3 – Japanese Drama Starring Beautiful Japanese Actress – Code Blue
Release Date: 2008-2017
Total Episodes: 3 Seasons, 32 Episodes
Synopsis: The story is based on four medical interns that are sent off in a field to carry life-threatening operations into the helicopter and beyond.
Why You Should Watch It: Starring one of the most desired female celebrities, Yui Aragaki, you’re sure to love her appearance in this drama. Also, the series became the highest-grossing in the year 2018 all over Japan, and hit the box office with 9 million!
↓ 2 – Top Japanese Drama Based On Anime – Erased
Release Date: December 2017
Genre: Time Travel, Drama
Total Episodes: 1 Season, 12 Episodes
Synopsis: Satoru (Yuki Furukawa) after finding his mother dead, goes back in time, with his revival abilities to investigate and erase the incidents that caused his mother and three classmates’ death.
Why You Should Watch It: The anime adaptation of the series Erased, is an emotionally indulging drama with critical appreciation. Super addictive and binge-worthy.
↓ 1 – Old Enough
At number one we have a Japanese reality show that has been trending everywhere, some love it, some hate it, but everyone finds it worth watching. This show started airing in Japan in the 90s and it features a bunch of toddlers running errands around the house in absence of adults.
Why You Should Watch It: It is a wholesome show that you can watch with your family. The best part? Every episode is under 20 minutes and most under 15 minutes.
Q. Where To Watch Top Japanese Dramas
If you’re all set to start on Japanese Dramas but don’t know where to watch then don’t worry, because we have compiled a list of websites where you can watch Top Japanese Dramas for free or with a paid subscription.
Kiss Asian : From anime movies to the latest trendy Japanese Dramas, Kiss Asian has it all. They provide all the dramas in high video quality along with English subtitles.
View Asian : One of the most convenient free websites to watch Japanese series is View Asian. It has Japanese dramas of various genres from crime and mystery to romance. Just one click and you’re good to stream all episodes for free.
Viki : Streaming top Japanese Dramas, Viki is available throughout the world and you can watch it anywhere with your loved ones. It provides a yearly paid subscription for just $10 only!
Q. What Are The Top Japanese Dramas?
A. Japanese Dramas come in multiple genres, some of the best are code blue, criminal lawyer and switched.
Q. What Are Japanese Dramas Called?
A. Japanese Dramas are known as J dramas or Diorama commonly. They have one plot or storyline running throughout episodes.
Q. What Is The Best Japanese Romance Series?
A. Mischievous Kiss: Love In Tokyo, You’re my pet, Koinaka: Bestfriends in love.
Q. Are J Dramas Better Than K Dramas?
A. Both have their unique characteristics and are fun to watch. J dramas unlike K dramas don’t revolve around the rom-com genre only and have shorter episodes that can be binged easily.