10 Japanese Dramas To Binge On Netflix
The must-watch list of addictive Japanese Dramas
Throw productivity out of the window and curl up with these truly binge-worthy Japanese shows.
Undoubtedly, the best way to watch TV is in unhealthily long bursts that ruin sleeping patterns and swallow up whole weekends. If you’re into J-Dramas, all the better: Japanese Netflix has an excellent selection of subtitled series to choose from.
Yet, for those of us who love Japanese dramas but are not fluent in Japanese, Netflix can be a tricky place to navigate. A curious number of J-dramas on the site don’t have English subtitles, despite their titles and bios being in English. So, to help you in your Japanese TV consuming quest, here is a list of fantastic, English-subbed Japanese dramas to binge-watch to your heart’s content.
Sit back, relax, and push play!
- Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist, regularly and involuntarily travels back in time to stop life-threatening accidents before they occur. When he is framed for the murder of his mother, Satoru is sent back 18 years to a time where three children were kidnapped and murdered in his hometown. Released in December 2017, this suspenseful Netflix Original follows Satoru as he fights against time to save three children in his past and his mother in the present.
- When Takeshi retires from his office job of 38 years, he finds himself bored and looking for something to fill his time. While walking aimlessly through his neighborhood, he stumbles onto an old restaurant and discovers his desire to, at last, indulge in food and drink without fear of others’ judgement. But, he lacks the confidence; to liberate himself, he imagines what his alter ego and role model—the ‘Masterless Samurai’—would do and follows suit. Samurai Gourmet is a light-hearted comedy, perfect for anyone interested in Japanese cooking.
- Based on the popular shōjo manga of the same name, this comedy-romance is light-hearted and surprisingly hilarious. Kotoko Aihara, a high school student, is mercilessly in love with her school’s smartest and most popular student, Naoki Irie. Despite her adoration, Naoki doesn’t return her love. However, in a remarkable twist of fate following the sudden destruction of Kotoko’s home, she finds herself closer to Naoki than ever before. Is this her chance to win Naoki’s heart or will her love remain unrequited forever?
- Also titled Atelier, this Devil-Wears-Prada-esque drama centers on the plight of a young woman named Mayuko as she tries to make her mark in the lingerie world. Following her passion for textiles, Mayuko gets a job at a high-class lingerie manufacturer. Though, despite her best efforts to fit in, she struggles to assimilate into the glamourous world of luxurious underwear. A light-hearted, uplifting drama, Underwear is the story of one young-woman’s determination to achieve her dreams despite the challenges laying in her way.
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
- In one of the smallest corners of the world’s biggest cities, there is an Izakaya that opens from 12a.m. to 7a.m. This is the midnight diner, run by a wise and emotionally intuitive chef known only as ‘The Master’. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories follows the Master as he helps his customers overcome personal obstacles and connect with each other over simple meals in his tiny restaurant. A heart-warming drama about good food, advice-giving chefs and the simple importance of healthy human relationships.
- Based on the prize-winning novel by Naoki Matayoshi, Hibana: Spark is a drama about a young stand-up performer named Tokunaga, who is trying to make it big in Tokyo. Tokunaga is a Manzai comedian (a traditional style of comedy where a duo performs rapid-fire jokes that often revolve around misunderstandings, puns or wordplays) and is mostly unpopular. Yet, when Tokunaga meets Kamiya, an older Manzai comedian, his creativity is set alight: his friendship and conflict with Kamiya drives him onward to achieve his dream.
Good Morning Call
- When high school student Nao Yoshikawa finally moves into her own apartment, she can’t believe how good of a deal she’s gotten! The apartment is huge, cheap and right in the middle of Tokyo. The only downside? One of the most popular boys at her school, Hisashi Uehara, also lives there. To save on rent costs, they agree to live together but tell no one. Good Morning Call is a comedy-romance that follows the high schoolers as Nao starts to develop feelings for Hisashi.
Million Yen Women
- Shin Machima is a struggling novelist. When five mysterious women suddenly turn up at his house and offer him one million yen each for rent and living expenses per month, he cannot refuse. The women are young, beautiful and they’re making him a wealthy man. The only problem? Shin has no idea where the women have come from, why they’ve moved in with him or what dark secrets they harbor. Million Yen Women is a suspenseful thriller, following the life of Shin as he manages the household and attempts to discover the mystery of the women.
Kantaro the Sweet Tooth Salaryman
- Intensely passionate about sweets of all kind, Kantaro is a salaryman who speeds through his daily tasks and meetings so that he can finish work early and gallivant around Tokyo sampling desserts. He documents his sweets-addiction and his adventures on his blog, Sweets Knight, despite upholding the aura of a fastidious sales rep at work. Kantaro the Sweet Tooth Salaryman is a quirky and hilarious comedy about the importance of seizing small daily luxuries for oneself: particularly, if those luxuries are candied and/or edible.
The Many Faces of Ito
- This Netflix original is a romantic drama about Rio Yazaki, a screenwriter in her 30s who is looking for her next big hit. Searching for inspiration, Rio finds herself offering advice to four women who are all experiencing relationship problems with a man named Ito. To each woman, Ito’s character is completely different. Intrigued, Rio decides to use the women and their problems with Ito to help inspire her next creative work.
What are some of your favorite J-Dramas? Let us know!