Japanese dramas deal with themes that are often taboo in K-dramas. This is what makes them addicting.
J-dramas are unafraid to portray a woman whose hobby is to have sex with multiple partners, a boy and a girl who turn to each other for physical comfort because their real loves are in a relationship, and a weird guy who convinces an old flame to sleep next to him because he can’t “finish” it.
Got your attention, yet?
Before you get misled that J-dramas are all about sex and fetishes, there are plenty of dramas that are pure, sweet, funny and romantic. One of the things that sets them apart from the Korean dramas is that the emotions of the characters are often subdued. After all, Japan invented the tsundere or someone who is often described to be cold but actually has a warm side.
They can be exaggerated and theatrical, too, especially when the character is based on a manga. In which case, the actors try so hard to replicate the emotions of the 2D characters. And Japan makes excellent dramas based on mangas.
If you watch K-dramas for the oppa, you will not be disappointed with the senpai. Some of them will likely have a Kamen Raider background on their filmography. But they are all eye-candies.
J-dramas are often shorter. Sometimes a series will only have 6 to 10 episodes with 30 to 45 minutes each. They are unafraid to make the main characters end up with a broken heart.
Here are the Japanese dramas that we recommend you give a try:
“Love Lasts Forever/An Incurable Case of Love” (2020, 10 episodes)
Sakura became a nurse because she fell for Dr. Tendo five years ago. She applied to the hospital he works in so she could be close to him. However, she finds out that her dream man is only sweet to his patients, but not to fumbling nurses like her.
Most people started watching this drama because of the leading man, Takeru Satoh. The actor played Kenshin Himura in the samurai film “Rurouni Kenshin”. It’s hard to imagine the man who played the battousai in a romantic comedy, but here he is giving in to the persuasive and pure love of a girl. It also stars Mone Kamishiraishi (“L-DK: Two Loves”)
“You are My Destiny” (2020, ongoing)
Aya is known as the post-it girl or someone everybody pushes around. She goes on vacation with someone who turns out to be douche. And then, she ends up accidentally sleeping with another man. That would have been that. Except she gets pregnant and he needs an heir.
This Japanese drama has several versions of the originally Taiwanese series. There is a Thai and a Korean version with Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk. But the Japanese version with Takimoto Mioro and Kizu Takumi is refreshing because it let go of the theatrics and side stories. It focused more on the couple. This drama is available on VIU.
“Nee Sensei, Shiranai No?” (2019, 6 episodes)
This is a story about a sought-after beautician (Akaso Eiji) who falls for a manga artist (Baba Fumika) after giving her a makeover. Lots of women pursue him but he turns them down because he does not have time for them. What he loves about Ao is that she does not demand for his time because she has no time for him. You will love how the guy finds a way to make their relationship work.
“Scum’s Wish” (2017, 12 episodes)
Mugi (Sakurada Dori) and Hanabi (Yoshimoto Miyu) both agree to hook up if they get rejected by their true loves. The rejection came true and so their exclusively sexual relationship begins.
This coming-of-age series shows how mistakes are often made when we are young. These mistakes enables you to become become a better person in the future. There are plenty of steamy scenes in the series.
“Boku Dake ga 17-sai no Sekai de” (2020, 8 episodes)
Kota (Sano Hayato) died when he was 17. His friend, Mei, (Iitoyo Marie) returns to their hometown seven years later only to find him alive and still 17.
This fantasy series explores the what-could-have beens, second chances and friendships. The cherry blossoms make a beautiful background to a love story that will never be.
“This guy is the Biggest Mistake in My Life” (2020, 10 episodes)
Yui (Matsui Airi) was mourning the death of her pet. In her drunken state, she kicks a man down after he told her that there is no medicine that could bring the dead to life. He turns out to be Kyoichi (Hayami Mokomichi), the CEO of the pharmaceutical company she works in. Kyoichi offers to become her slave because he fell for her hard.
It was made to satisfy the fetish of having a successful and handsome man as a personal slave. The kind of slave where he would willingly go on all fours so she could have a stool to rest her feet on. It’s so ridiculous that it’s a lot of fun.
“Perfect Crime” (2019, 10 episodes)
Kaori (Triendl Reina) is having an affair with her boss. She doesn’t want to end it even when she knows it’s going nowhere. Enter Haruto (Sakurada Dori), a young and talented interior designer. He lures her into his bed to break up their affair, even when he knows he can’t have a relationship with her.
Mistresses are hated, but on this series Kaori is portrayed as someone seeking love in the wrong places. Feel empathy for her or not, you will love enjoy the tension between Kaori and Haruto. This series has R-18 scenes.
“Kakafukaka” (2019, 10 episodes)
Aki (Morikawa Aoi) had a terrible first time with ex-boyfriend Tomoya (Nakao Masaki) in high school. She thought she’ll never see him again until she has to “sharehouse” with him and two other people. He convinces her to cuddle and sleep next to him because he can’t seem to get it up and finish it for other women since he did it with her.
It’s messy, exciting and there are so many times you want to hit Aki and Tomoya on the head for being stupid. But this love square of a drama will keep you hooked until the end.
“I Will Do It in the Next Life” (2020, 12 episodes)
Momoe (Uchido Rio) is single, an artist in a CG production company and her hobby is to have sex. She has regular men she sleeps with. She does not reveal their names and only refers to them as A-kun, B-kun, C-kun and so on.
It’s natural to be curious about this series. Why wouldn’t you be when the poster for this drama is a beautiful woman holding a dildo? But it’s much, much more than that. It’s about a woman who embraces her sexuality. Momoe normalizes for women what is already an acceptable behavior from single men.
“Mischievous Kiss/Itazura na Kiss” (2013, 16 episodes)
This is a favorite classic. If you want to test the waters with Japanese dramas, you can start with this one. Originally a manga, this series has several versions including Thai, Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese. It’s been made into movies and they are still making new versions of it. But this writer thinks that the Japanese version is the best one.
Naoki shows his interest in Kotoko early on. It does not mean he goes out of his way to express feelings. He is the ultimate tsundere, afterall. But we are given more subtle looks from him and more concern. It stars Furukawa Yuki as Irie Naoki and Yahagi Honoka as Aihara Kotoko.