by

I really enjoy Japanese dramas. As far as Japanese entertainment media goes, dramas are right up there with anime for me. When I was first getting into Japanese stuff, I was all about the anime until one day I realized that there was a whole side of Japanese TV I was completely missing out on: J-dramas. I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on so many great shows.

Over the years, I’ve checked out a great many of J-dramas. Some were bad, some were just okay, and some were downright fantastic. Below is a list of my top ten favorites. If you’re into dramas at all, I’m sure you’ve seen or at least heard of many of them. For those of you new to dramas, however, this list is an excellent place to start (assuming you have the same taste in shows that I do).

10. Boys on the Run

Boys on the Run is about a salaryman who works for a small toy manufacturer and has never had a girlfriend in the 27 years of his life. He has no experience with women and is a hopeless employee nowhere near getting ahead in life. He’s in love with one of his colleagues at work, but has no idea how to approach her. One day he runs into a salaryman from a competing toy company who decides to help him woo the girl.

Over time, Boys on the Run might rank higher on this list of mine. The reason for this is that I haven’t actually finished watching the series yet, but what I’ve seen so far is really good. Every episode is a riot. I can’t remember the last time I yelled at the screen so much during a show, just because of all the ridiculous things the main character does and says. It’s a bit raunchy, but I’ve really been enjoying this show so far.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Comedy
Who should watch this show: People who like rooting for the nerd loser underdog and dramas with continuously ridiculous situations.

9. Moteki

Moteki is about a temp worker who has never had any luck with women. One day, he suddenly starts getting invitations to hang out from several beautiful women, and he finds himself confused about how to deal with this new experience of having a “moteki” (a period when one is very popular and attractive to others).

This one was actually recommended to me by one of my friends who is teaching in Japan. It’s really funny, much in the same way that Boys on the Run is. The main character supposedly has no luck with women and is suddenly thrown into situations where he doesn’t really know what to do or how to act. Like Boys on the Run, this show can be a bit raunchy at times, but it’s hilarious, and I highly recommend it.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Comedy
Who should watch this show: People who like rooting for the loser underdog in ridiculous love triangle situations.

8. Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu

Wataren highlights the lives of three women who are all looking for love but each one has something that is getting in the way of their romantical happiness. As the show progresses, they all grow and learn more about themselves and what they want out of life.

I liked this one so much I even wrote a Tofugu post about it earlier this year, soon after I finished watching it. This one came to me after a long stretch of sub par dramas, so this show was responsible for reinvigorating my interest in them.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Romance
Who should watch this show: Those interested in seeing the love lives of three different women unfold in a humorous and entertaining manner.

7. Papa to Musume no Nanokakan

Papa to Musume no Nanokakan is about a salaryman and his teenage daughter. One day, the two ride a train together and by some mysterious force, they swap bodies. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to swap lives, pretending to be each other at school and work.

This show is great. I really like the actress that plays the daughter in this show, and it’s hilarious to see her acting like a middle aged salaryman, not to mention seeing a middle aged salaryman act like a high school girl. This show is both hilarious and touching, as it ultimately brings the two closer together.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Comdey
Who should watch this show: Those who like life-swap shows and seeing middle-aged men act like teenage girls.

6. Buzzer Beat

Buzzer Beat is about a young player from a professional basketball team. Due to his relatively smaller size and his tendency to crack under pressure, he’s unable to really shine as a player. Meanwhile a strong-spirited music college graduate aims to become a professional violinist. One day they have a chance encounter and their meeting begins a friendship that eventually turns into love. However, the main character is already considering marriage with his current girlfriend. What will happen!?

This show was recommended to me by one of my Japanese friends when I was studying abroad in Japan. The main character is played by Yamapi, who has become one of my favorite drama actors, and he really shines in this show. You don’t have to enjoy basketball at all to enjoy this one, it’s merely the glue that holds everything together. This show is funny, romantic, and touching.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Romance, Sports
Who should watch this show: Anyone who has a passing interest in basketball, or just really enjoys well done romantic comedies with love triangles.

5. Pride

Pride is definitely the most serious drama on this list and it centers around a playboy hockey player and his new-found love interest. He doesn’t like commitment, and the main girl has a long distance boyfriend who seems to have left her with no intention of coming back. This show tells their story and all the trials and tribulations they face.

I was actually very skeptical about this one when I first heard of it. A serious romantic drama centering around hockey? Psh, yeah okay- that sounds really interesting. But boy was I surprised. This show really pulls on your heartstrings and really draws you in. It’s definitely one of the most emotional shows on this list, and for that, I highly recommend it.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sports
Who should watch this show: People who like Queen music. Seriously, that’s all this show plays.

4. Densha Otoko

Ah, the mighty Densha Otoko. The show is probably the most famous and well known on the list. This show is a true love story that was turned into a bestselling novel, drama, and movie. A typical office lady gets into trouble with a drunkard on a train and it saved by the main character, who also happens to be the epitome of otaku. This act of bravery was extremely uncharacteristic of him, but it starts a friendship with the woman that soon blooms into romantic interest. Having no idea how to handle women, he seeks advice on message boards and all of Japan helps him along the way.

This show is awesome. It was one of the first dramas I really got into and it remains one of my favorites. It’s funny, heartwarming, and emotional. It’s a roller coaster ride of feelings, but I loved every minute of it. Also, the opening sequence is great. It really gets you pumped for each new episode.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Comdey, Romance
Who should watch this show: Anyone who likes dramas. Really, you can’t go wrong with this one.

3. Proposal Daisakusen

Proposal Daisakusen is another Yamapi drama and coincidentally was recommended to me by the same girl who told me about Buzzer Beat (apparently she’s a Yamapi fan, too). Anyway, the show is about two people who have been friends since elementary school. The guy has been in love with the girl pretty much ever since he can remember, but she’s about to get married to another man. While he and other friends attend the wedding ceremony, a fairy appears and sends him back in time, giving him a second chance to win the girl he loves.

The premise of this show is really, really cool. Each episode a new picture of the main group of characters is shown on the wedding picture slideshow, and the picture represents the time that the main character gets sent back to. Depending on how he acts and what he says differently from the first time around, the picture changes. It’s just really interesting and you really get into it and can’t help but root for the main character. Just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again. This show is great.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Romance
Who should watch this show: People who enjoy romantic comedies with a time traveling twist.

2. My Boss My Hero

This show is about pudding. Just kidding – it’s about other stuff too. In My Boss My Hero, the main dude is a tough 27 year old high school drop-out who is the son of a gang boss. The main character is pretty dumb, so his father decides to force him to return to high school in order to get his diploma. If he doesn’t graduate, the position of boss will be given to his younger brother.

This show is like Billy Madison with a Yakuza twist. Only this time, no one at the high school knows his true identity, so the 27 year old gangster has to learn to act like a 17 year old kid. The main character is a great actor and really plays the part perfectly. Also, the main girl in the show is the same actress from Papa to Musume no Nanokakan, so that’s great too. Also, if you’re a dude, or if you’re somebody trying to get a dude to get into drama – this is probably the best one to start with.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: School Drama, Comedy
Who should watch this show: Anyone who likes to laugh or really likes pudding.

1. Kekkon Dekinai Otoko

Kekkon Deninai Otoko is hands down my favorite drama of all time. I’ve watched it many times over the years, and it never gets old. The show is about a 40 year old architect who enjoys living by himself, doesn’t like people, but somehow is able to design wonderful houses that people really enjoy. Eventually he begrudgingly becomes friends with a handful of people who wonder if anyone would ever want to marry him.

I don’t even know where to begin with this show. Everything about it is great. The main character is played by Abe Hiroshi, one of my favorite Japanese actors. He really nails the part and I can’t think of anyone better than him to play this hermit-like architect. You can check out an awesome scene from the show back in the post I wrote about okonomiyaki. The show is funny, interesting, and never gets old.

DramaWiki Link
Genre: Comedy
Who should watch this show: People who like Abe Hiroshi or have any interest in dramas at all.


And there you have it – my top ten favorite Japanese dramas of all time. I know there’s a ton out there, and even though I’ve seen a bunch, I’m sure there are still more great shows to be discovered. Also, there’s a good chance that I totally forgot about a show or two while compiling the above list just because I’ve seen so many.

While entertaining, Japanese dramas are also great for study, especially if you really enjoy the show. To get the most out of them, you can check out Koichi’s guide on Studying with Japanese Dramas. It’s a great way to learn.

So tell me, how many of these shows have you seen? What did you think of them? What’s your favorite drama? I’m always looking for new shows to watch, so let me know down in the comments!


And just for fun, here’s the latest Perfume PV. I hope your eyes and ears enjoy the experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434168513 Juan Fernando Castellón

    I loved Densha Otoko, and I watched the Korean remake of Proposal Daisakusen. I’ve been trying to find a decent stream of the original in Japanese, but the ones I’ve found so far have been jittery and lagging. Thanks for the list, John.

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    I’ve been watching Japanese dramas intensively from 2003-2009.
    I’ve watched MILLIONS and MILLIONS of them!
    Recently I just lack the time, so ever since 2009 I only watch very few series.
    The latest one I watched was “Rich Man, Poor Woman” which was absolutely awesome btw.

    I’m happy to see some older dramas such as Pride and Densha Otoko up in your list. Both of them were awesome and people SHOULD watch them! ^___^

    I’m surprised to see “My Boss, My Hero” up there, but not “Tiger and Dragon”. Absolutely hilarious!

    Browsing through my list (of older dramas) some of my favorites are (in no special order):

    Great Teacher Onizuka (2003 – the one with Sorimachi Takashi)
    Kimi ha petto
    Orange Days
    Hana Yori Dango
    1 Litre of Tears
    Attention Please
    14sai no haha
    Densha Otoko
    Gal Circle
    Kisarazu Cat’s Eye
    Nodame Cantabile (soooooo hilarious and cute!!)
    Liar Game
    Ikebukuro West Gate Park
    Hanakimi (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! still one of my absolute favs!)
    Yamada Taro Monogatari
    Sushi Ouji
    Himitsu no Hanazono
    Hero
    Long Vacation (I love those old ones with KimuTaku! ^^)
    Galileo
    Engine
    Love Revolution (great!!! esp. if you liked “Watashi ga renai dekinai riyuu)
    Yasha
    Good Luck
    Last Friends (pretty tough stuff)
    Zettai Kareshi (rather cute)
    Maou
    Voice
    Stand Up! (classic!)
    Slow Dance
    Tokyo Friends
    Atashinchi no Danshi
    Mr. Brain
    Love Shuffle
    Boss
    Majou Saiban
    Orthros no inu
    Buzzer Beat
    Jotei
    Bloody Monday
    Binbo Danshi
    Tokyo Dogs
    My Girl
    Nakanai to kimeta hi (pretty tough and sad)
    Tsubasa no oreta Tenshitachi
    Sunao ni narenakute
    Hotaru no Hikari Season (another one of my favs^^)
    IS
    Don Quixote (weird but entertaining)
    Ouran Host Club
    Watashi ga renai dekinai ryuu
    Nankyoku Tairiku (HOMG! Watch this – not only if you like dogs or KimuTaku! *g*)
    Soredemo ikiteyuku (one of the toughest dramas I ever watched, prepare to cry a lot)
    Rich Man, Poor Woman

    Ok, this was just a short list of a few dramas I liked the most ^__^; ….

  • Charmi

    Cool. I was looking for a good K-drama to watch, but I guess I can give a few more J-drama’s some attention. These suggestions sound really good.
    Although, after reading reading no.10, a friend of mine was wondering – Is not having a girlfriend or any experience with girls at 27, considered a really bad situation to be in? (I’m asking for my friend, of course :P)

    Btw, Densha Otoko was brilliant! Cried so hard during that drama T_T

  • http://twitter.com/eennnnuuhh innadee

    What happened to HanaDan? And IkePara?

    I would also recommend kagi no kakatta heya… And maou. And ryuusei no kizuna.

    Also, i completely agree with you on your list! Im actually really surprised that boys on the run is on there. But, i do have to say, i found myself doing the same thing you did. It’s a frustrating drama, but it’ll get better. :)

  • http://twitter.com/eennnnuuhh innadee

    Oh! And if you like romance type dramas too, i HIGHLY recommend rich man, poor woman.

  • http://twitter.com/cibeleanjo Robin Birdwell

    Oh this is awesome! I thought I knew a lot about j-drama but I’ve only heard of a couple of these. They sound really good, which is fortunate because I can only watch Hana Yori Dango so many times before I start to question what I’m doing with my life. Bless you sir.

  • Afoofoo

    Hmm, I don’t really watch dramas, so I haven’t seen any of the above :'( The only dramas I’ve seen are the usual Hana Yori Dango, Hana Kimi, plus Cat Street (because my darling Baba Toru is in it, for just one episode lol), Love Shuffle, Yatsura wa Tabun Uchuujin (Baba Toru again. I didn’t understand it at all though sigh), and Tumbling.
    I initially watched Tumbling for Masa who comes for a few seconds (I’m desperate haha) but I liked it, except for the constant focus on faces. But I really liked it! A bit too mainstream for me, but still. It’s about rhythmic gymnastics. They’ve been doing stage plays now, the third one was in August, with my darling Baba Toru and many other darlings, God Bless.

  • Afoofoo

    Hmm, I don’t really watch dramas, so I haven’t seen any of the above :'( The only dramas I’ve seen are the usual Hana Yori Dango, Hana Kimi, plus Cat Street (because my darling Baba Toru is in it, for just one episode lol), Love Shuffle, Yatsura wa Tabun Uchuujin (Baba Toru again. I didn’t understand it at all though sigh), and Tumbling.
    I initially watched Tumbling for Masa who comes for a few seconds (I’m desperate haha) but I liked it, except for the constant focus on faces. But I really liked it! A bit too mainstream for me, but still. It’s about rhythmic gymnastics. They’ve been doing stage plays now, the third one was in August, with my darling Baba Toru and many other darlings, God Bless.

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    No GTO? No Okane ga nai? What is this list????

  • http://www.vietamins.com Viet

    Wait. What? There is more than one live action GTO ?

  • http://twitter.com/Kahdrill Charlotte Olsson

    As a big fan of historical dramas, any suggestions about those? Preferably ones that one can find subbed as my Japanese is very much on the beginner-stage.

  • kekoax

    I’m definately going to look into those dramas. Looks like a good selection.

    I was a fan of Trick. A series that also stared Abe Hiroshi as well as Nakama Yukie. Its about a physics professor (Hiroshi) who employs an unemployed magician (Yukie) to help him solve “supernatural” mysteries. Its kind of like “X-files” meets “Scooby doo”. They have to figure out the tricks behind these “supernatural” mysteries.

  • DefJuk

    I bloody love Abe Hiroshi, me!

  • Paladin341

    Yeah, I am going to be critical on this list and list some of my favorite as well.
    (I had to plug in my External to look at them all since it was going to be a big list)

    Orange Days (<3 Kou Shibasaki)
    Team Medical Dragon (This show is intense/amazing)
    Dr. Koto Shinryojo
    Galileo
    Densha Otoko
    Dragon Zakura
    GTO (2003 one and 2012 one)
    Nobuta wo Produce
    Hana Yori Dango
    1 Liter of Tears
    Liar Game (You'll love this one)
    Lunch Queen (Lunch no Jyou)
    Nankyoku Tairiku
    Gokusen
    Kurosagi

    I feel as though my list is weak compared to zoomingjapan's, but some of these have more than one season (Team Medical Dragon, Gokusen, Liar Game, Hana Yori Dango).

  • http://twitter.com/eennnnuuhh innadee

    Yep! One came out just last season. It stars AKIRA from Exile.

  • Adam

    They brought out a new one I think either early this year or late last year :) it’s pretty good but doesn’t have the same charm — worth the watch though.

  • areeachan

    So many of these are newer! You should watch some of the older ones from the 90s. They’re not necessarily BETTER, just really good in a different way. Also, yeah, the writing is better, gotta be honest. Also, the Kudokan dramas are usually hilarious and fantastic like Tiger and Dragon, Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, and Manhattan Love Story.

  • Malshi

    I was just looking for something new to watch! Thank you!!!
    But are there any comedies/action also? I can’t find any by myslef…

  • Aquariia

    Only romance comedy? What about awesome Japanese mystery/suspense dramas?
    I’ve heard about all 10 dramas but watched only 4.

    My favourite Jdramas are:
    Mr Brain
    Galileo
    My Boss My Hero
    and many more. :-)

  • Cosmo

    I am a girly girl and a mom so my list is a bit different though some of those on this list are really great. I might watch too much T.V. My list is pretty long

    I love:

    Marumo no Okite

    Ikemen desu ne

    Ouran High School Host Club

    At Home Dad

    Tokyo DOGS

    My Boss My Hero

    Tiger & Dragon

    Unubore Deka

    Ogon no Buta

    Hana Kimi

    Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo

    Hotaru no Hikari & 2

    Hana Yori Dango & 2

    My Girl

    Real Clothes

    Oh! My Girl

    Buzzer Beat

    Nodame Cantabile

    1 Litre of Tears

    Proposal DaisakusenLiar Game

    Kaseifu no Mita

    Zenkai GirlSengyou Shufu Tantei ~ Watashi wa Shadow
    Rebound

  • Rachel

    I’m excited to try these! Where can I find them?

  • http://twitter.com/treeghosts bauauamgeggeist

    no elite yankee saburo? ;__;

  • http://www.project-kathryn.com kathryn

    Ryomaden. It’s awesome!

  • http://www.project-kathryn.com kathryn

    Proposal Daisakusen? It’s so boring and repetitive. I couldn’t keep watching it. What about JIN? A doctor who travels back in time and has to do brain surgery with hand tools. How is that not the most awesome?

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Now we’re talking!

  • ichizoro3

    glad to see wataren in this list. But how come Legal High is not included?!?

  • Pepper_the_Sgt

    I don’t really like J-Dramas (or American ones, for that matter). I tried to get into Gokusen and Trick, but I eventually quit watching them after five or six episodes. Not my thing, I guess.

    The main reason I’m posting, though, is to point out my surprise in hearing Electric Light Orchestra do one of the opening themes (Densha Otoko). Are they big in Japan or something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/AveryGoodgame Nick Hattan

    Forshame, John. Any J-drama watcher worth their salt has to have watched Nodame Cantabile, or at least added it to the list of recommended. It’s only a little under Kekkon Dekinai Otoko!

  • John

    I actually watched a few episodes of JIN but it failed to hold my interest :( Sorry!

  • John

    lol, yeah I know- I feel that I should get around to watching it eventually.

  • John

    For whatever reason the mystery and suspense dramas just don’t grab my attention as much. I watched Liar Game and some others from the genre all the way through, but I feel I enjoy the ones on the above list more because I can watch them over and over and still enjoy them. Once you watch a suspense or a mystery show it’s not as much fun to watch the episodes over again since you already know what’s gonna happen. I dunno, I just seem to like romcom dramas better, haha.

  • Guest

    Agree wholeheartedly!

  • x_stei

    I agree wholeheartedly. Based on this list John, I think you would really enjoy it! =)

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    The opening’s a reference to the video from Daicon IV, fitting in with the topic of “extreme nerdyness.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyVqIkJ69VA

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    I totally agree about Proposal Daisasuken! ^__^;

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Totally agree! I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who wouldn’t like Nodame! ^-^

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Looks similar to my list! And yay for “Tiger and Dragon” ^__^

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Totally agree!!!
    I especially love the old ones with KimuTaku, but I also enjoyed Kisarayu Cat’s Eye and Tiger and Dragon *g*

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    Yes, yes, yes!!! What a great drama it was!! ^___^

  • x_stei

    Call me a jdrama-holic, but I feel like I’ve been waiting for this post ever since John posted about Wataren. I figured if someone could write so passionately about one jdrama must be able to write about a bunch of them. Haha! I was so right. (Please pardon my haughtiness.)

    From this post I have seen Papa to musume no nanokakan, Densha Otoko, Proposal Daisakusen, and My Boss My Hero. I used to watch jdramas like 24/7, but I don’t have as much time now. I’m lucky if I watch one per month. Hehe.

    Anyway, My top 10 are… Everything except the first one is unordered
    Nobuta. wo Produce – I know this is on many people’s favourites list, but this one just has a special place in my heart. <3. I don't know why. It's quirky, funny, endearing and really deep. I love it.
    Ryusei no Kizuna. This was my favourite Nino drama by far. Although Freeter made me cry more, there is a poetry about Ryusei that I find endearing and memorable. Plus while Freeter was mainly a starring drama for Nino, I liked how Ryusei was a co-starring shindig with Nishikido and Toda.
    Hana Yori Dango. Another one that has a special place. Very interesting and sweet drama.
    Kaze no Garden. Kuramoto Sou is my favourite jdrama screenwriter, and this drama starring Nakai Kiichi is definitely a signature piece.
    Proposal Daisakusen. Everything about this show makes me smile, even the sad parts when Kenzou cries T_T. I agree with John, every time I think about it I want to watch it, and every time I watch it I am reminded of how awesome this show is.
    Tantei Gakuen Q. Somehow I like to keep this list balanced? I don't know. Anyway, one of those mystery shows that don't freak me out, because all the main characters are kids. Fun, intriguing and full of wonderful effects and well-rounded characters and actors.
    That's all that I remember at the moment. Everything else I've either forgotten or haven't thought about in a long time…

  • legendofleo

    There’s so many J-dramas out there though, not sure why you’d want to watch them over and over.

  • legendofleo

    I’m also a big fan of Trick. You should also check out the British series ‘Jonathan Creek’ if you haven’t yet.

  • Bussan

    First off I usually read and never make comments, but this article just plain upset me. It seems that your top ten includes everything you have watched. Why do I say this, because there is a movie in your list as well as “My boss my hero.”

    Your top ten should look like this
    Tiger & Dragon
    Nodame Cantible
    Hanayori dango 1 & 2
    Kisarazu Cat’s eye
    Trick
    Gokusen (not really sure it should be here… )
    Unfair
    Legal High (only good recent drama I’ve seen)
    Kurosagi

    in that general order (other recomondations)
    don quixote (recent decent)
    rookies (kinda oldish now.. every japanese knows this drama though)
    hanazakari no kimitachi e
    hotaru no hikari 1 & 2 (movie sucked)

    Been living in japan for the past 5 years and almost every new drama sucks.. minus the ones I mentioned. Watch older stuff such as Trick (my first drama ever) and Satorare (doubt youll find that one anywhere… I have a copy though…)

    anyway good luck… and for the love of go WATCH Tiger & dragon. since it came out I re-watch it once ever 3 months. Even went through the trouble of fixing up some of the softsubs (never uploaded them.)

  • bussan

    wish I could edit spelling ” For the love of GOD.. not go.” also forgot shiawase ni narou yo.. made me start to like Katori shingo (smap) who I used to think they we’re part of some conspiracy to control japan pop culture ect..

  • x_stei

    I think different people like different genres, and Moteki was a drama series before it became a movie. Densha Otoko has a jdrama version and a movie version.

    I personally loved My Boss My Hero, but it wasn’t deep enough to make it into my Top 10 list.

  • http://twitter.com/cakefaace Lou

    How did Boys on the run end up in this list ?! I may be a huge fan of supporting role Ueda tatsuya, this drama was dramatically awful.

  • rainbowrevolt

    The only dramas I’ve seen are Yama Onna Kabe Onna, and parts of Yamada Taro Monogatari. I really loved both of them… I know Yamada Taro Monogatari is pretty old though, it was airing when I was in Japan in 2007 afaik. Yama Onna Kabe Onna is one of those shoes that sounds like stupid concept but it’s put into action so brilliantly. It’s one of my favorite shows! Funny and touching, as well. Yamada Taro was really cute, too. I still haven’t finished it, though!

    Anyway, thanks for the recs! I’ll probably end up downloading a few of these.

  • blueshoe

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but is any of this stuff available to watch outside of Japan? Netflix just got a whole ton of K dramas, but Japanese studios seem so closed off, it’s almost impossible to buy/watch/listen to any J shows/movies/music overseas. Frustrating.

  • milos

    If I’m not mistaken, Boys on the Run (based on a manga, correct?) was made into a movie as well, directed by Daisuke Miura. I never saw the JDrama, but I’ve watched the movie a couple of times and I absolutely love it.

    What’s really unique about the story is that it’s made for everyone who has been beaten down by life in every way – love, work, competitors, other men and women, bad luck, etc. – and the message seems to be, “Keep fighting, always, but never expect the boot to come off of your face. The trust fund babies, pretty boys and girls, and otherwise naturally gifted souls will always win.”

    Simply put, it is utterly bleak, but at the same time inspiring, in the sense that it lends a certain dignity to the lives of those who are overlooked and made to feel as though they’ve had their dignity rubbed out.

    It’s all summed up in the line the main character’s elder co-worker says to him after he gets his A** KICKED by his arch nemesis – a fight wherein the main character only managed to piss on the bad guy. Satisfiedly drinking a beer, he sighs ruefully and says,

    “That was a good piss.”

    It means nothing to the other guy, except a temporary stain on his pants. To the underdog, though, it’s everything.

    Thought-provoking, funny, truly edgy stuff.

  • Ugly Pig

    The Sorimachi Takashi GTO is from 1998, not 2003. Sorry to nitpick. Also, as a bigtime fan of the original manga, I appreciate that both versions (the 1998 and the 2012 one that just ended) go about adapting it in very different ways, providing different takes on the story. I love both versions, but of course the 1998 is a classic.

  • Mandarina

    Sooo true! Long Vacation is probably number 1 on my list, together with Orange Days… If you like romance dramas you shouldn’t miss it =) Can we expect a post about the worst jdrama you’ve ever seen? =P

  • julien foriel

    STAND UP! STAND UP! STAND UP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

    Kekkon Dekinai otoko is definitely amazing. Also check out Dragon Zakura if you guys love Hiroshi Abe.

    Currently watching the live action version of Honey and Clover while waiting for my delivery of the anime series on DVD. Currently liking it for Narimiya.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

    Check out Dragon Zakura and Trick for more of his awesomeness.

  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    You are right. Sorry, 2003 was when I watched it!! ^-^;;

  • http://twitter.com/onegirl onegirl

    SUPER HAPPY to see Perfume on Tofugu *love love love* ^0^

    also a big fan of a lot of those dramas, I also loved ones others have mentioned here including Nodame, Kimi wa Petto, Gallileo (has no one mentioned Kaseifu no Mita?). Struggling to find a decent one from this year though, will try the ones on your list that I haven’t seen :D Thanks so much!

    a~chan smiles rule!! ^___^

  • biffo

    The `movie is so good!

  • Biffo

    DramaCrazy,net

  • Federale

    You did not mention Oshin.

  • John

    Well, to be fair, I haven’t actually finished it yet, haha.

  • FoxiBiri

    yayy!! nagase tomoya!!

  • HokkaidoKuma

    Just finished watching Moteki based on your suggestion and I have to admit that was AMAZING! Especially love the OST and Hikari Mitsushima – just played her character to the utmost and made me fall in love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.seeroi Ken Seeroi

    I agree completely. I love Japanese dramas, and they’re a great way to improve your language ability.

    By the way, “Pride” was really entertaining, but the ending—could it be any more melodramatic? Please.

  • tetraoxygen

    Thanks for the list! I’m super new to J-dramas and have been looking for good ones to watch. Watched Papa to musume no nanokakan, really enjoyed it. Now slowly watching Kekkon dekinai otoko. Good stuff.( ̄ー ̄)

  • http://www.facebook.com/UtadaKairi Laura JapaneseNinja-hamster We

    No “Ichi rittoru no namida”?! That was like. The best J-Drama I have watched so far >w<

  • http://twitter.com/helios_396 helios

    Agree with you about Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu, Proposal Daisakusen and Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. They’re so kicking you in the gut with all sort of feelings~ My true favorite Jdrama is still Galileo though.

    Oh and if you like life swap dramas, I recommend Don Quixote, it’s hilarious.

  • linniea

    Going by this list I think you might really enjoy Love Shuffle! :3

  • Hajime Crea

    JIN is a must watch. It tells the story of Jin Minakata, a doctor who *mysteriously* slips back into the Edo Period, and must find a way back to the present. It is an exciting and riveting drama! It should also score bonus points with those with an interest in the Edo.
    I’d mention Liar Game but you’ve already wacthed it (^_^;)
    Could I also recommend Toshi Densetsu no Onna? It’s about a superstitious detective played by Nagasawa Masami who is determined to find a crime which was caused by a supernatural force. It’s quite a laugh, and also features lots of info on Japanese urban legends. Try it out!

  • Butterflyrainbows

    try gooddrama.net

  • blueshoe

    Thanks guys, I will check those out!

  • Hika Ling Shi

    YES PLEASE. My roommates and I watch a lot of k-dramas, but nothing will ever beat my love for Nobuta wa Produce and Hana Yori Dango. There’s a rich layer of storytelling that isn’t anywhere else. Nobuta is possibly my all time favorite because I can identify with the feelings. I watched it my senior year of high school when I was dealing with a lot of bullying and it made me cry and laugh. Such a sweet story.
    I like my k-dramas, but seriously, j-dramas… the feels.

  • Bethany

    One of my favorite dramas I’ve watched recently was Youkai Ningen Bem. It’s based off an old 60s anime, but the live action version had updated designs and such. It was surprisingly good. Of course, it kinda reminds me a bit of tokusatsu shows, so maybe that’s why I liked it too (I’m rather fond of shows like Kamen Rider). Oh, and the fact that the main character was played by Kazuya Kamenashi. I’m a huge KAT-TUN fan, so I hear of any dramas any of the members are in, even if I don’t watch them. That said, even though Tatsuya Ueda was in Boys on the Run, I ended up skipping it cause it didn’t interest me. I do need to watch Legal High at some point though, both because I heard it’s really good, and because Junnosuke Taguchi was in it (bit part, but hey, he was in it, lol).

  • http://twitter.com/ichigoichielove Lisa/Ri/リサ/リ

    I really enjoyed this post! I too watch a fair amount of Japanese dramas, but sometimes it’s hard to pick out which are the good ones, esp from those currently running on TV. (Crime/Detective ones seem to be in the majority for prime time..yuck!) I’ve seen some on this list, but there are plenty I’m excited to check out now! Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennatan.david David Simon

    Tatta Hitotsu no Koi
    Super romantic!

  • http://profiles.google.com/lintonius Linton Teoh

    Personally, I really loved Kimutaku’s HERO. Even though it was made 11 years ago, it’s just as watchable today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/theONLYbobtheduck Luke MacDonald

    *raises hand* I don’t like Nodame.

    Some stuff works in animation form but not in Live action. This is one of them. If they had made it more realistic, then the treatment of Nodame may not have seemed as much like abuse to me. I couldn’t take Nodame for too long.

    The drama I was getting into for a while was called… Life is Beautiful, or something. About a hairdresser who needed to get attention so he could get promoted and a bitter wheelchair bound woman. I can’t remember if that’s the exact name. Of course, that MAY be one of the dramas you thought were just plain trash, who knows. My other favorite was Water Boys. I don’t think it was subtitled, so I didn’t always know what was going on, but it was fun to watch.

  • Guest

    Nodame was originally a bestselling manga. The anime is an adaptation of it, like the drama. The drama isn’t based on the anime.

  • kintaro

    How I wish I could express my feelings right now. I have given JDrama a chance (John, you have a great list of common favorites, this isn’t against you or Tofugu followers at all). A lot of these shows have a cool premise, but man does the execution fall short. Compared to the U.S., it is all really, pretty dang bad. I mean, what’s up with all the lame budget, repetitive story lines and over-the-top moral wrap-ups in every episode? Sure, there are funny things said or done every once-and-awhile, but look at an average show from the U.S. and it EASILY wins over any of the JDrama’s that people love so much. A lot of it seems just to be love for Japan pushing U.S. fandom, instead of actual quality to a show.

    It didn’t make any sense to me why Japan couldn’t make good TV show. They are the land of Kobayashi, Ozu, and Kurosawa and yet they can’t make one decent tv show that wasn’t either raunchy or uber-cheesey acting or both. Luckily, I decided to stop referring to shows Americans watched and look for the shows Japanese people actually liked. Instant hit.

    If I could, I would write an entire post on how great Ryoumaden is. Like really, everyone should go watch the first episode right now. There is a reason it is being broadcast around the world. Trust me. I hope Japan can keep producing shows like this and they will start making their way into the U.S. This can hold up next to many of America’s best shows. I don’t want to say too much about it almost so whoever makes it through my ranting will be curious enough to give it a try. I’m just glad I got sick of the same j-drama’s that I see advertised all over the english internet and tried something authentic Japanese. Hope you guys give it a shot.

    (sorry for the demeaning rant)

  • John

    I never checked out Ryoumaden – I don’t watch too many historical type dramas, but I’ll be sure to check it out – thanks!

  • Eileen Francis

    I’ve seen Boys on the Run, Papa to Musume, Buzzer Beat, Proposal Daisakesen, and My Boss My Hero.

    What I’m watching right now is Hana no Zubora Meshi, Resident 5nin no Kenshui, and Monsters and soon I want to start watching Osozaki no Himawari.

    Dramas I can remember I’ve watched is

    1 Liter of Tears, 3 Peace, 99-nen no Ai~JAPANESE AMERICANS~, Code Blue 1 and 2, Deka Wanko, Gachi Baka, Hanawake no Yon Shimai, Juui Dolittle, Kaibutsu-kun, Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, Lucky Seven, Nobuta wo Produce, Kurosagi, Troubleman (I felt it should’ve been a movie instead of a drama), Ns’ Aoi, and Yukan Club.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Greenwald/1818084312 Scott Greenwald

    What Viet said! GTO 2012 just ended last month. Not to mention last year’s, “Kaseifu no Mita” (only the most watched Drama of all time). And more recently, “Rich man Poor Woman,” a story about a Japanese Mark Zuckerberg/ social media tycoon… All good (current) drama’s worth checking out

  • Abhie

    I looooooooove Abe Hiroshi on Trick so this list (or at least your #1) make me want to watch him again. Thanks! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gabrielle-Grover/100002131265618 Gabrielle Grover

    Honestly, Pride was amazing~! I also love Buzzer Beat! Figures, right? I watched Proposal Daisakusen, not my favorite but it had my crying like a baby at the end!

  • shigeo

    I’m sensing a theme here. You like dramas about guys who don’t know how to talk to girls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TinieLe Tinie Toanlk

    OSEN??? why no OSEN?? anyway, I prefer Kekkon Deninai Otoko over the Korean verson. :X great!!

  • Toa

    Hana Yori Dango over My Boss My Hero? No way, José. John’s comment about My Boss… being a good way to make dudes watch j-dramas is spot-on–I just showed it to a handful of my friends at a martial arts boarding school, and it’s proven to be a great gateway drug. But yeah, if you’re really into Densha Otoko and My Boss My Hero, there’s no way you won’t get into Nodame Cantabile. Live-action Stresemann is the best thing ever.

  • Aprilsnow

    WOW i love how you put a mix of mainstream and non mainstream dramas. THis is the first list in a long time that doesn’t include all the typical dramas eg. nodame, GTO, because I didn’t like those at all. Most of the dramas you suggested here sound great and I will try them now! and i’m happy because I haven’t watched most of them, unlike other lists providing all the cliche dramas.
    Thank you so much~ Nice to know you as a fellow -j-drama lover!
    Have you watched kimura Takuya’s ‘nankyoku tairiku’? it is based off a true story and every episode gets me into tears. About the Japanese antarctic expedition in 1957.

  • John

    Haha, glad you enjoyed the list! And no, I don’t think I’ve seen any of that drama so I’ll have to check it out – thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/MariaAngeRosell Maria Rosell

    I did totally like Love Shuffle especially Kairi and Ojiro lovestory. :)

  • leon

    just browsing around the net coz I dunno what dramas to watch next and saw this. you must really be a fan of Gakky and YamaPi. or may be not because Im a hard core fan of Gakky xD my boss my hero is one of my fav dramas. you should see legal high too its a comedy/law drama with awesome twists throughout the drama! Im gonna try out a few of them from the list :) they all seems like funny dramas

  • http://twitter.com/_RaYiHa_ Cansel

    I would also recommend Nodame Cantabile. And Gokusen, Zettai Kareshi, Atashinchi no Danshi, Saikou No Jinsei No Owarikata. They are all heartwarming dramas.

  • Cole

    What’s a good website I can go to so I can watch some of these j-dramas??

  • Ivy

    Where can I watch these shows?

  • Tara

    I can’t believe it! Finally someone who like this great great drama!!! Kekkon Dekinai rocks!!!!! I have watched it several times and every time I can find a new thing to laugh and think about. Have you ever noticed small dogs?

  • Kim_haruhi

    OMG you totally have to see 1 Litre of tears…the saddest drama ever! I cried like almost every episode. You can also watch Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou, it’s not that great but it certainly is good entertainment. You’d be able to find some humor in them. The main character totally rocks!
    Hope u enjoy them like I do ;)

  • Inf3st4toR

    Thank you, It gives me new things to watch…
    I would also recommend nodame, kisarazu cat’s eye, hanazakari no kimitachi e, dragnzakura, gokusen and much more… no order intended…

  • Nick

    yo viet. GTO sucked, that is why they rushed to finish it. the ratings weren’t good after the first ep

  • aradia

    I think the people are talking about the old GTO not the recent remake, the old one was really awesome and I love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cesmae22 Frances Mae Mejia

    I have watched most of the dramas you have mentioned but my all-time fav is not included in the list: Gokusen 1,2,3..

    I’d like to recommend a handful of dramas as well:
    – Rich Man, Poor Woman (i love this drama mainly because i am in the same field, IT, but also because of the tsundere personality of oguri shun.. so far this is my fav drama for 2012)
    – Celeb to Binbo Taro (I love Ueto Aya’s sense in fashion and acting here… I might as well recommend Attention Please)
    – Atashinchi no Danshi
    – Hungry
    – Hana Kimi (not the remake.. the original live action version with Maki and Shun)
    – Liar Game (the live action drama makes it more realistic)
    – Ikemen Desu Ne
    – Nobuta wo Produce (Im a yamapi Fan!)
    – Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (Although I like the anime better)
    – Bambino
    – Bloody Monday
    – Hotaru no Hikari
    – Koizora (although I like its movie version better)
    – 1 liter of tears
    – Kurosagi
    – Taiyou no Uta (i think its a movie, or its just that i like the movie with yui better)
    – Zettai Kareshi
    – Ohitorisama
    – Dragon Zakura
    – Don Quixote (i love the how the main characters portrayed their roles..especially when they switch)
    – Yankee-kun to Megane-chan
    – Tantei Gakuen Q

    MOVIES:
    – Cyborg Girl (this made my cry so hard at the end.. T.T even until now whenever I remember it)
    – Rurouni Kenshin (this isnt a drama, but I definitely recommend it.. the movie might not follow the actual story line of the manga/anime, but how they blend it is just perfect.. the movie was just recently shown in the cinemas though.. but last december 28, they have released a copy in blue ray already)

  • Lin

    great list! Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve only watched Densha Otoko, but I’d like to check out the rest you’ve mentioned, especially your top three since they sound like fun.
    My top 5 favorites are: Hotaru no Hikari, Seigi no Mikata, Zettai Kareshi, The Queen’s classroom and Nodame Cantabile. I also liked Gto, Gokusen and Oishii kankei, though not nearly as much as the aforementioned faves ^_^
    I recently watched Anna san no omame , but I found it to be the least engaging drama out of the ones I’ve seen, and didnt enjoy it that much. I’ve been meaning to see Hana Kimi and nobuta wo produce. Any thoughts on those?

  • Lin

    I forgot to mention Cupid no itazura and Secret agent Erica, which round out my current top 10 (although I’ll probably leave Gto and Gokusen out of my top picks once I see a few of the dramas I’ve been wanting to see).

  • abeer ahmad

    there not a lot off dramas . ahat i meen whay isn’t there drams love romance ..so i hope they do a lot of drama romance ..-_-…!!

  • Ugly Pig

    Uhm, you are quite wrong. The first GTO drama is one of the highest rated dramas of all time. The new one, while not nearly as successful, did fairly good still and I believe it won its timeslot fairly consistently. They did not rush to finish it, it lasted about as long as any regular drama, and they’ve followed up on it with several specials – and with more to come.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40105343 Shaun Sticka

    I’ve never been able to get into J-dramas. It’s absolutely killed my Japanese study. Along with hating anime and manga it’s really tough to get in any kind of practice. The only one I have watched on this list is Densha Otoko and I loved it. Too many J-dramas are about high school life or pretty boys/girls, neither of which I have any interest in. However, going through your list I think there are at least 4 or 5 here I can possibly get into. Thanks for the list, I’ll be checking one of them out later tonight.
    Also, I just have to say that Tokyo Love Story certainly deserves a place in any top 10 of any language.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=40105343 Shaun Sticka

    Your rant is EXACTLY how I feel about J-dramas. Every time I see a suggestion thread it’s GTO this and Gokusen that. I was happy to see at least some different selections on here. I’ve watched the first 3 episodes of Gokusen and had to stop. I couldn’t take how terrible it was anymore. I feel like I should be 13 watching these shows. They treat the audience like they are a juvenile. Bad storylines, characters who are supposed to be 16 years old (as a grown adult I don’t care to watch a show about teenage problems), women who all act like they couldn’t function for 5 seconds without someone taking care of them (the most annoying J-anything trope), and highly dramatized moral wrap-ups.

    I have a friend here in Japan who’s love for the country all started with Ryoumaden. It’s still his favorite show ever and he swears up and down by it. He also, like you, has a long list of favorite dramas most English speakers have never heard about. The really good dramas seem to be the ones least appealing to Japanophiles.

    As for watching these shows try DramaCrazy. They are all subbed but you can ignore that if you have the Japanese level. If you don’t, bonus.

  • EskimoJo

    Any way you (or Kintaro if he reads this) could share some of the shows that feature on your ‘not the usual’ lists? Pleeease?!

  • Katie

    Awww, no Zettai Kareshi? Freaking great j-drama.

  • Shepard

    Yeah the name of the drama is called Beautiful Life and sometimes called Life is Beautiful.

  • Jeremy Arey

    This list is pretty good, but you gotta watch more j-dramas! There are so many that should be on this list above others. Whew, I can’t even begin.

  • Paul smith

    alk for last an hour, can what new arrivals gucci bags can this calculate again to you?To, pear and apple of that direction you must also carry on the back up.”It is said that the young count walks last an postedshaobighjgfhaddfsojl hour of road, become a bit hesitant.But the old woman don’t pass hermes shoulder birkin him, but tieup grass to put right away at his back up, chase two basket son Kus on his wrist again.”Your lo, isn’t this pretty easy?”She says.”Not, not Hermes Birkin 35CM easy.”The small count looks extremely worrieds the ground say, “these grasses tieup on the back to sink very much and seem inside’s exerting is the big rock for packing.Apple and pear are also heavy was like to infuse a lead, I was all pressed to soon suppress however annoy.”He really thinks to all let go of the things, but the old woman doesn’t make him so dry.”Lo, “she the taunt ground say, ” your this young Sir postedontotalhxtdui connects my this old woman the things usually moving to all can not move it.Your speaking of beautiful words to pour is pretty severe, time really need to cheap bags gucci authentic hermes belt do but want to escape, do you still stand where

  • Paul smith

    ed new arrivals gucci bags to about and soon fall flop to go to at this time.Once those geese see the wing that the old woman then stick out them, the elongation neck quack Ga ground ran to come over hermes shoulder birkin toward her.Take a tree branch in a women hand, and the Hermes Birkin 35CM behind in those geese walked to come over.She is high and strong, ugly must be like a female night fork.”Mother, ” she says to the old woman, “how, how do you just come back?””Nothing important, my daughter, ” old woman answered, “I didn’t meet what bad matter, exactly the opposite, the Sir of this good heart came back thing back a mile for me.When I am tired by walking, he returns even I also carried on the back to come up together.This road to us don’t calculate postedshaobighjgfhaddfsojl far, we are all the way very happy, postedontotalhxtdui also have been doing silly for fun son to shout.”Finally, the old woman walked to come over and tieupped grass cheap bags gucci to take down from the back of young man, once was alongside of a basket on his wrist son, looking at him to say very good-natured, ” you sit to the long Deng authentic hermes belt of doorway up to

  • teruru

    Manga to animation obviously translates better 9/10 times than manga to live action and I’m pretty sure that’s what Luke’s point was.

  • teruru

    I agree with this sentiment. The only comedy drama I absolutely loved was Hero and that’s because, in my opinion, it maintains a good balance of quirkiness and doesn’t go overboard.

    The problem I see with most modern Jdrama is the over-usage of post-processed special effects that make the respective dramas too cheesy. Acting is also a big factor and the reason why I couldn’t enjoy the much recommended Densha Otoko; Interesting premise, terrible execution.

  • mit_souko

    I disagree with you entirely! I find most American TV show boring, poorly acted, etc.. Obviously not every JDrama is good, but I have watched so many that I loved. Then again, they rarely make it overseas, as they are not subbed commercially, but by volunteer subbers.

  • Jarrod

    Well, I didn’t know that having a show being aired in the USA was what Japanese drama producers were aiming for…

  • David

    Have you watched 49 Days? It’s also VERY good.

  • Eve

    My favourite j drama of all time is ‘Mukodono’, highly recommended, funny, heart warming, and very entertaining… After that would be Nodame Cantabile as everyone has mentioned…

  • yang yasmin mellyna

    My All time favorite drama is Liar Game. :] and the most recent drama I just finished watching which just finished airing too, is Kazoku Game. that’s brilliant!

  • Rochelle

    I disagree with some of the other people in the comments. Thank you so much for putting together a list of dramas I’ve 1) never heard of/watched and 2) don’t rehash the same story concepts that top everyone else’s lists but which I… don’t really enjoy. I’ve started watching Wataren and love it already.

  • Phoebe

    I watch a lot of Korean Drama, just recently started watching JDrama. Thanks for the list, best part is i haven’t watched a lot of them so it gives me something to look forward to. If your looking for a good website to stream from try http://www.gooddrama.net. They have everything, Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Chinese drama. Oh and ya you should watch ‘Rich Man Poor Woman’, the title sounds dull but it is an amazing drama!! The best Japanese one i’ve watched so far. Oguri Shun is awesome in it.

  • omarimik

    this list is missing nobta wo prodce and nodame cantabile
    these 2 one of kind shows are really epic and in my opinion no other drama can get passed them .

  • miku

    After seeing your favorite Japanese dramas, I’m assuming that you’re a Johnny’s fan too! After all, not every guy likes Johnny’s so I’m just glad. While I do agree with most of your choices, allow me to add some of my favorites as well that also stars some of the main lead from your fave.

    Yamapi- Kurosagi and Code Blue season 1 and 2 (Aragaki Yui is also in Code Blue)
    Abe Hiroshi – Dragon Zakura (also stars Yamapi, Aragaki Yui, and Masami Nagasawa)

    Also, I’m a huge fan of detective/crime/police dramas and your list is sadly lacking anything from that genre, so allow me to recommend police dramas with a bit of comedy for starters, try: BOSS, Keizoku2:SPEC, Mr. Brain, Galileo, and Tokyo Dogs.

    Moreover, I’m into medical dramas as well, try “Doctor X” and “Iryu:Team Medical Dragon”.

    Lastly, based from the comments here, I really hope you’ll try Nodame Cantabile since it’s really funny. There’s also Hotaru no Hikari and classics (early 2000) love stories like Orange Days and Love Revolution (Fujiki Naohito).

  • finaar

    This list is most different than other list. I like it. It’s recommend many new drama for me. But trust me, you should add The Great Teacher Onizuka (the old version),Mr. Brain, Galileo (first season),and Good Luck.

  • kaka

    Hana Kimi? The 2007 Japanese version. It’s quite popular and you’ll understand why when you watch it. I actually know guys who liked this drama. I wouldn’t really consider this a romance drama compared to the other 3 versions. This version is more of a comedy. Some of the things they do are overly stupid but that’s what makes this drama unique and hilarious.

  • Dushi

    totally agree! :D Rich man Poor womemn is soo cutee!

  • Dushi

    women*

  • xyz

    Gotta say, I was pretty surprised to see Wataren on the list. Not because it isnt good (I’ve watched it myself), but because I thought it was more catered to ladies and guys wont be watching it.

    Would you happen to have an updated list to share?

  • vids

    Awesome post. I recently started watching J-drama having watched anime for more than 5 years… I recently watch Love generation (1999) and currently watching Hero (2001). Both must be watched for excellent acting skills.

  • HeWhoCantMarry

    You should watch the korean version of Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. Koreans brought that drama to perfection, they even added some details and filled some holes to make the narrative smoother and naturally funnier.

  • Keroro

    I recommend Yasuko to Kenji and Legal High for commedy.

  • John

    I had trouble getting into Legal High, but Yasuko to Kenji looks interesting. I’ll have to check it out – thanks!

  • Greenskyesbluegrass

    Just because Koreans copy everything and make every drama have someone die it doesn’t mean they are better

  • Yodi Danusastro

    This is the best that found among all the list in the other websites. What’s the update? Is there any better that Kekkon Dekinai Otoko?

  • Just Bryan

    PRICELESS – Very recommended, just try to watch first episode…

  • asha97

    i most like buzzer beat… because they have a good chemistry

  • LeoP

    I just watched love shuffle. I thought it was great. One of those shows where I kept saying just one more episode and I will go to bed. Then before I know it its 5am.

  • Bebeto

    Hi John,
    I watched most of the other poster top 10, but your list is the best that suits my taste. Other posters suggestion is either too childish, illogical and annoying at times and ended up not finishing the dramas. I enjoyed all ten dramas you suggested. Thanks so much. Can you give me your next new top ten?

    Regards,
    Bebeto

  • jssy

    me too

  • Najika

    What about hana yori dango?!?! that is one amazing drama! it has two seasons and a film!! If you haven’t watched it then i highly recommend it!!! It the Japanese version of boys over flowers, but it is much better!!!

  • Faleea

    I think the storyline of most Japanese drama is awesome, but the emotion and expression of the actor and the actress is null. they are expressionless or lack for both of it. so when we watch Japanese drama we can rarely drag into the movie and full metal enjoyment. we just —— flat, boring. but i didn’t say it for all Japanese drama, i say, most of it. compare to Korean dramas, they are faraway left behind, for dramas, Korean did the great job, emotion, expression, and wonderful storyline so after we watch it we can watch it all over and all over again without being boring. but for the manga and anime…oww my Good God… Japanese manga and anime are A-W-S-M!!! Japanese mangaka and animator both are GREAT!! they poured all the emotion into it. full of emotion and expression and they can grab our emotion too when we read their manga or when we watch their animation movie

  • shuumai

    i havent seen Ryoumaden, and i havent watched too many american dramas, but i suspect your hooked on that big budget, and action packed instant gratification. in j dramas i feel its about growing with the characters or a slice of life whereas american dramas are just kinda instantly rewarding. i would like to say your focusing on the wrong things ( like the acting and the budget, over the story) but hey whatever floats your boat. just know that after i finish johns list, and i finish Ryoumaden, ill be back to give you a piece of my mind

  • shuumai

    i agree with everything you said, (although i havent seen the movie) but i would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend watching the actual j drama! i recently finished it, and although it may be bleak or even cheesy at times, it has become one of my favourite shows ever! i binge watched breaking bad a couple months ago, and i thought nothing could take away its spot on the throne, but BOTR did that and then some! breaking bad never reduced me to tears…. but hey im a weird guy

  • Anonymous

    Currently having a blast watching ‘Kekkon Dekinai Otoko’. Thanks for this list.

  • http://therealmofoldebrooklyn.wordpress.com/ LadyGin

    Thanks for creating this list, I’m saving it. I love K-drama best, but I’ve found some gem J-dramas. And I also loved Kekkon Deninai Otoko. Abe Hiroshi is one of the best. My favorite is Shinzanmono the Detective. There’s a new one out I didn’t even realize! If you haven’t seen it, I recommend Shiroi Haru with him. My other favorites are Zetta Kareshi, Hammer Session, Oh my girl! (All three starring Hayami Mokomichi.) Meichan’s Butler, Tokyo Dogs and Rich man, poor woman…but I’m sure that list will grow.

  • Dijah

    i love kekkon dekinai otoko! the dog is so adorable and smart!