A Beginner’s Guide on Japanese Drama

There are many shows of different varieties that are aired on the television. Depending on one’s taste and liking, some people may prefer sports shows while others may prefer to watch the news. Typically, most people like watching shows that are fiction and revolve around a certain premise. These shows have various genres like suspense, crime, romance, school, and comedy. They can rake high viewership ratings depending on how many people like watching these shows.

In Japan, their shows are often referred to as dramas. Some people may think that Japanese dramas are all dramatic due to its name. However, Japanese dramas also have a wide variety of genre that the Japanese people seem to enjoy. For people who are getting into Japanese dramas for the first time, this may serve as a guide on what it is all about.

A Quick Look at Japanese TV Drama


Also known as terebi dorama or just dorama in Japanese, Japanese television dramas are basically TV programs that are broadcast or aired daily on Japanese television. It has become a staple as many Japanese households subscribe to certain Japanese shows. All major TV networks in the country produce a range of drama series. These series may have genres under comedy, horror, romance, and detective stories to name a few. Japanese drama shows are so popular that TV networks sometimes even produce a one- or two-episode drama of a certain theme on special occasions. An example of this would be the drama produced in the year 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War.

Typically, Japanese TV dramas are aired in seasons with each season lasting for three months. Most dramas are aired on weekdays as people anticipate these shows on a regular basis. Broadcast in the evenings, the airtime of these shows is designed to ensure that watchers are already home and well-rested by the time they watch Japanese TV drama. Hence, these shows are aired at around, 9, 10, or even as late as 11 in the evening.

There are also dramas that are aired in the morning or in the afternoon. These are also typically aired on a daily basis with the episodes of the same TV shows being broadcast everyday for a number of months. An example of this would be the morning dramas, also known as asadora, shown by NHK. On the other hand, dramas shown in the evening are generally aired on a weekly basis. Typically nine to twelve episodes long, the show is designed to last for only three months. If the drama was a success, there are sometimes epilogue specials that are aired after the final episode.

There are basically four television seasons in Japan, namely, winter, spring, summer, and fall or autumn. The winter season begins in the month of January and ends in the month March. The spring season begins in the month of April and ends in the month of June. The summer season begins in the month of July and ends in the month of September. Lastly, the fall or autumn season begins in the month of October and ends in the month of December. A distinct characteristic of Japanese drama is that each episode is shot usually only two to three weeks prior to the episode being aired on TV. Hence, several fans are able to visit their idols during shooting even while the drama is still airing. 

Watch J-Drama to Learn Japanese Online with Eng Subs

By Tokino's file (File:Nihongo_ichiran_01.png) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as J-Drama, Japanese TV dramas can be utilized by people who want to learn Japanese. Due to the popularity of J-Drama, various websites and groups circulate these episodes online, along with English subtitles, also called Eng Subs on the Internet. These shows may prove to be useful if one is not familiar with the Japanese language.

One recommendation would be the J-Drama entitled “Beautiful Rain.” The story revolves around a widower father who brings up his young daughter on his own. After attaining an injury on the job, it was discovered that the father has Alzheimer’s disease. Each episode in the series shows how both the father and daughter try to maintain their happiness while dealing with the disease and the situation. The show also tackles how the disease is viewed in Japan, as well as the common fears and hard decisions that are entailed by the disease.

Another recommendation that would be useful for people learning Japanese is the J-Drama entitled “Will You Marry Me Again.” This is an interesting drama especially for people who are into the romance genre. The story revolves around a happily married wife who suddenly faints because of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Upon waking up to her husband in the hospital, it is discovered that the wife has lost several years of her memories. A part of this loss is all her memories that contain her life with her husband. Things get complicated with other characters in their lives coming into play.

For people who are interested in watching the dynamics of a relationship, the J-Drama entitled “Absolute Boyfriend” is worth checking out. The story revolves around a single woman who cannot seem to find a man who likes her back. She becomes part of an experiment that deals with the first human-like robots. Her “male” robot by the name of Night pursues her while romance also starts to blossom with her boss. The show depicts what it is like to have an ideal relationship with a robot and to have relationships with humans who are vulnerable to emotions and prone to mistakes.

Lastly, try watching the J-Drama entitled “Housekeeper Mita,” as it was one of the most popular shows ever shown in Japan. The story revolves around a family dealing with the suicide of the mother. Left with four children, the father decides to hire a housekeeper by the name of Mita to be in charge of the upkeep of their household. She is willing to do whatever it is she is told to do except either smiling or revealing anything about herself and her past. As they try to uncover her secrets, the skeletons in the family’s closet also begin to uncover itself.

J-Dramas on Romance for Beginners


A lot of J-Dramas fall under the romance genre. Hence, audiences or beginners who are looking into J-Dramas under the romance category, there is a plethora of options to choose from. One good option is the J-Drama entitled “Tatta Hittotsu no Koi.” The story revolves around the love story between a mechanic and a sheltered rich girl. Just like any forbidden love story, the couple tries their hardest to be together but problems arise along the way due to their different statuses in life.

A classic drama that has not just Japanese adaptations but also Korean and Taiwanese version is the show entitled “Hana Yori Dango.” This J-Drama is one of the most famous Japanese dramas ever shown on television to date, with characters played by famous stars in Japan. The story revolves around the love story between a poor but headstrong girl and a rich boy who belongs to a group of rich friends. Initially annoyed at each other, the two eventually fall in love despite the objection of the boy’s mother. Trying their hardest to be strong for their relationship, their friends try their best to support the two persons.

For a more seamless drama on Japanese television, one would like to recommend the J-Drama entitled “Pride.” There are many aspects shown in the show such as relationships, goals, friendship, loyalty, and, of course, pride. The story revolves around Halu and Aki. Halu is a hockey captain with a reputation for being a bad boy and a playboy while Aki is seen as a good, old-fashioned girl who is devoted to her long-distance boyfriend who left her. Their relationship with each other, as well as with other people, are reflected greatly in this show.

As for an underrated show, try checking out the J-Drama entitled “Taiyou no Uta.” The story revolves around a girl with XP, which is a fatal disease wherein the victim may die due to exposure to the sun for a certain period of time. Undeterred despite her condition, the girl still tries to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer one day. She meets a boy who was a forming musician and fall for him badly.

Lastly, for a romantic J-Drama that is a bit light-hearted, try watching the show entitled “Buzzer Beat.” The show focuses on the everyday struggles of the characters in their 20s, such as work, love, and life in general. The story revolves around two main characters, namely, Naoki and Riko. Naoki is a basketball player who has low self-esteem despite his great talents while Riko is a violinist whose dream is to fall in love and be successful in music as a career.

A List of Some Japanese Shows that Aired in Spring 2017


For those who are interested to watch some shows that aired during the spring season of 2017, one would like to recommend the J-Drama entitled “Kizoku Tantei.” Also known as “Noble Detective” in English, this show revolves around Masaki Aiba who works as a private detective for a hobby. Information about him such as his age or his address is unknown. Only his employees, such as his maid, butler, and chauffeur, actually making the deductions and investigations in his cases. The main enjoyment for Aiba is his time talking to the women involved in said cases. On the other hand, a female detective by the name of Emi Takei tries to compete with Aiba in solving cases.

For the women who love watching about fashion, try checking out the show entitled “Hito wa Mitame ga 100%.” The story revolves around Kiritani Mirei, an employee who works for a paper manufacturing company. Initially clueless with regards to her outside appearance, she did not have any interest in trying to make herself look good. However, this all changes when one day, she realized that people did not see her the way they saw other women. Hence, she starts reading up and looking into makeup and fashion magazines and trends, along with her two female coworkers, to make herself look better.

As for people who are into romance with a bit of fantasy or sci-fi, try watching the show entitled “Frankenstein no Koi.” The story revolves around a monster by the name of Ayano who was created by accident a hundred years ago. With supernatural abilities and immortality, Ayano is very interested in humans and dreams of living as one. Things start getting complicated when he meets a young woman by the name of Tsugaru and falls in love with her.

Japanese Movies to Watch this 2017

For a shorter version of J-Dramas, one can just check out Japanese movies that are also just quite as good as the shows shown on TV. For a movie that was already aired, try checking out the film entitled “Closest Love to Heaven.” Released on the 25th of February this year, the story revolves around an introverted girl by the name of Ninon Okamura who tries to befriend her neighbor, Yuuji Kira, a popular boy in their area, under the instructions of her mother. Later on, she discovers his secret, which is that he has only one year left to live due to his terminal illness.

As for a recently shown film, which was aired in various places such as Tokyo, check out the movie entitled “JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable.” Released on the 4th of August this year and under a great director, this film is the fourth installment of the epic series that is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. The story revolves around Higashikata Josuke, who utilizes a Crazy Diamond Stand, which has the ability to return objects to their original form. Along with his friend Hirose Koichi and his older nephew Jotaro Kujo, they try to protect the fictional world of Morioh against some crazy and evil users of Stand.

Whether one chooses to watch J-Drama or just Japanese films, one would still be surely in for a ride. Japanese dramas can get highly addictive due to their fascinating though sometimes complicated storylines. Hence, be ready for this as Japanese dramas are highly entertaining.