Since the advent of the internet, our existence has undergone several changes. First, the internet has improved communication worldwide, allowing us to learn more about and develop closer ties with previously remote nations. Here is a list of the best Japanese shows on Netflix with English subtitles.
There are ones for every taste, from comedic series to suspenseful ones, LGBT-friendly, and even those that will make you overwhelm again. Netflix makes it simpler for its fans to watch programs created not only in their home country but in other nations by adding subtitles in several languages.
Television networks purchased the rights to international shows and dub them. It is now simpler, and there is a lot more choice. In addition to creating innumerable outstanding anime series, Japan has been regarded as a cinematic juggernaut for the greater part of the last century.
More About Japanese Dramas and Streaming Platforms
We believe streaming platform programs are ripe for a revival. So here are our recommendations for the top Japanese TV series on Netflix. It includes both timeless classics and cutting-edge episodes you can’t afford to miss. Get ready to explore the world of Japanese tv shows.
Japanese dramas are simple and mesmerizing, especially given how distinct their structure is from most Western television. They are also a great way to learn more about Japanese geography, culture, and language. Is there a positive aspect to Japanese dramas?
They typically only have one season and 10–12 episodes. However, some Japanese series have long running and multi-season. The brilliant thing about it is that you can binge past one Japanese drama and then go on to another one!
You don’t become caught in one kind of tale or a particular character set! Additionally, you are exposing yourself to more dialects and styles of language by doing that.
Best Japanese Shows on Netflix:
16. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
About Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is at the top of the list when discussing Japanese Netflix shows! Japanese love food and the stories revolve around it. In the manga, Shinya should (深夜食堂) by Yaro Abe, on which the story is about a fairly well-known outside of Japan.
A small eatery in a bustling area of Tokyo is the subject of the Japanese drama “Midnight Diner,” which is only available when most people sleep. The popularity of the Japanese version of the show spurred productions in China and South Korea. It tells oddly relevant stories and, although abstract, conveys humorous themes and difficult problems about a mysterious chef who runs a late-night diner.
These are the Tokyo stories of unsuccessful performers, struggling comics, prostitutes, and pathological gamblers. The storyline also boldly forays into the strange, like in an episode when a lady encounters her previous boyfriend. She has a semi-professional job with him in the adult entertainment industry.
There are familiar themes of misplaced love and lost siblings. In addition, one will witness a colorful cast of night owls in the most current season of Midnight Diner. It includes a retired comedian with Jerry Lewis-like qualities and many others.
The Midnight Diner Tokyo story’s focal point is a diner with peculiar operating hours. It takes place in Shinjuku, a populated area of Tokyo where many major firms’ workers frequently work through the night. The minor characters faithfully carry out the role of a character exposition.
A variety of distressed protagonists enter the little cafe through the sliding doors, bow before the cook, and subtly try to fix their issues through talks with the other customers. At the start of each episode, “The Master,” the restaurant’s owner and chef, describes the struggles and underlying motivations.
15. The Naked Director
About The Naked Director:
The Naked Director is a true story on Netflix that demonstrates to the audience about life in the century. He goes on to explain how much the past two decades, 2019, and 2021 have in common.
The first season of the well-known Netflix series takes place in a vastly different world. Still, it is intentional for topics like sexuality, anti-Asian prejudice, and more to be just as important then as they are now.
The Naked Director is a humorous and often interesting look into a mostly untapped subculture. The semi-biographical show covers a glimpse at the life and exploits of renowned Japanese pornographer Toru Muranishi.
14. Samurai Gourmet
About Samurai Gourmet:
This eccentric yet endearing television show has a fascinating storyline and offers a light-hearted look at what it meant to retire, which makes it the best Japanese drama.
Samurai Gourmet centers on the exploits of a fresh retiree. After leading the arduous life of something like a Japanese salaryman, he finds new meaning in life by experimenting. He was accompanied by an imagined Samurai companion.
What comes next is a wonderfully pleasant, peculiar series that is heartwarming and fun at every turn. Samurai Gourmet is a binge-worthy and mostly on a manga series, Nobushi no Gourmet (野武士のグルメ) by Masayuki Kasumi, with just 12 chapters lasting 20 minutes each.
The Japanese series opens with a typical scenario in Japan. Takeshi Kasumi, a salaryman who has spent his entire life working and is now in his 60s! He has just retired and is unsure of what to do with his spare time.
But eventually, he starts to learn about unfamiliar places in his neighborhood and relishes the pleasure of dining. Additionally, he recalls memories from his boyhood through eating.
13. Good Morning Call
About Good Morning Call:
The manga-based drama series Good Morning Call centers on a young woman, a high school student called Nao. She moves into the city and manages to get her own apartment.
There is only one issue: Her adored classmate Hisashi is also relocating. They grudgingly decide to become roommates. They had to share their rent and living expenses as they were tricked into staying in the same apartment.
When Nao begins to feel attracted to Hisashi romantically, matters get difficult. The charming romantic comedy Good Morning Call is proof that opposites do attract. The second season published on September 22, 2017, is Good Morning Call: Our Campus Days. There are presently discussions about the third season’s production.
12. Terrace House
About Terrace House:
Terrace House is a reality TV show with a twist that is mainly comparable to Big Brother. The six men and six women featured in the episode all reside in the same house.
The contestants are free to leave whenever they choose. Unlike other reality TV shows in the west, they have no particular objective or purpose, such as winning money or falling in love. In addition, because the characters are only in it for the experience, the show is much more real and relatable.
In a fly-on-the-wall fashion, Terrace House gives viewers an entree to a complete house and two automobiles, each outfitted with cameras in the tv show.
Members of Terrace House live their everyday lives as they wish while maintaining their day jobs. Cameras mostly concentrate on documenting roommate dates and significant group events. They occasionally provide viewers with a glimpse into the individuals’ personal lives, places of employment, and relationships with friends and family.
11. Million Yen Women
About Million Yen Women:
Million Yen Women is the translation of an iconic manga series, a comedy, intrigue, and drama all rolled into one. The writer is the main character of the novel, visited by five mysterious women home visitors. Each of them pays the writer a million yen in rent.
Who dispatched these five women? They are there, but why? You will never know what will happen next in this entertaining, absurd, weird, but ultimately compelling series.
Here is a spoiler of the Japanese series, where six months have passed since the women initially visited Shin’s home before the series begins. Shin is having difficulty writing his work; his housemates give him encouragement and criticism.
A literary critic criticizes Shin because he is certain no one should die throughout his books and believes that Shin’s stories are unoriginal and dull. He is frequently compared to Yuzu, a more well-known author, who Shin dislikes. He thinks Yuzu simply creates what others think would sell.
Then we learn that Shin’s father is on death row, which is the cause of his dislike of dying. Shin’s father was guilty of killing his wife and her boyfriend.
A chilling Japanese horror series that will thrill ardent lovers of the genre. It revolves around a paranormal investigator who connects several terrible tragedies that occurred over forty years and all point to a single property.
The series explores each occurrence and its paranormal roots over more than 40 years. This program is a part of the Ju-On/The Grudge series. Don’t miss this treasure if you enjoy a good spooky mystery!
Ju-On: Origins mostly take place in 1992, although these atrocities began in 1952. The context follows events that occurred in 1952 and includes all the killings that occurred. A guy kidnaps a lady, assaults her sexually, and gets pregnant. The mother finally passes away, but she can still have the baby, who also vanishes with the abuser.
This sad occurrence serves as the catalyst for the lethal curse. It’s also why some of the assaults at the house put expectant women in danger. It puts them in situations where they get sexually abused. Unfortunately, everyone including the family who moved into the house is cursed.
This perfect crime thriller (a British TV Show) has a wide distribution on Netflix Japan with a Japanese cast.
The story is about a Tokyo detective looking for his nephew Yuto, suspected of killing a representative of a high-ranking Yakuza family. If you enjoy excellent detective fiction, you will adore the distinctive twist this unquestionably classic gives the genre. The cast includes Kelly Macdonald, Justin Long, Masahiro Motoki, Anna Sawai, Takehiro Hira, and Creed-Miles.
A Tokyo detective named Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) goes to London in pursuit of his brother Yuto (Ysuke Kubozuka), previously thought to be dead. However, due to Yuto’s alleged involvement in the death of a Yakuza member’s nephew, a crime wave in Tokyo may break out.
Kenzo meets DC Sarah Weitzmann of the Metropolitan Police and Rodney Yamaguchi (Will Sharpe), a youthful half-Japanese, half-British sex worker. He tries to make his way through the strange streets of London in search of answers about his brother’s whereabouts and culpability. In addition, Kenzo must provide for his family back in Tokyo while looking for Yuto in London.
Switched is one of the best Japanese dramas. This sci-fi drama, which mostly targets young people, may have some similarities to Freaky Friday, but it is darker and devoid of humor. While this trope often involves romantic feelings, Switched utilizes it to deal with subjects like body image, societal pressures imposed on school-aged girls, and suicide.
This show follows two schoolgirls from completely different ends of the social hierarchy who exchange bodies with each other. This offers an intriguing perspective on a TV and film subgenre that is ideal for binge-watching.
The Hiroaki Matsuyama cast includes Kaya Kiyohara, Daiki Shigeoka, Tomohiro Kamiyama and Miu Tomita.
Netflix Followers is one of the best Japanese shows with stunning visuals. It portrays the lives of Tokyo residents directly or indirectly impacted by social media. It talks about a successful fashion photographer Rimi Nara (Miki Nakatani). This is one of the most popular Japanese Tv Shows that sheds light on the harmful effect of social media.
Natsume Hyakuta, an aspiring actress, traveled to Tokyo to pursue her ambition. Everything about this series is flawless, including the costumes, the sets, the casting, the locations, the plot, and the lighting. They have ingeniously and beautifully illustrated the fashion industry. An extremely driven female, which is uncommon in Japan.
In this Japanese drama, the duo never gives up on their aspirations. This series produced by a female is a tale of two women who are significantly different from the others yet incredibly relatable.
6. Mob Psycho 100
About Mob Psycho 100:
When talking about Japanese tv shows or Japanese movies, we cannot miss out on anime series. Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, a young boy, and a student in the eighth grade developed his psychic abilities at an early age.
When he recognizes the possible threat to his talents, the power rapidly becomes a burden. So, the Mob decides to repress his skill, using it mainly to dazzle his lifelong crush, Tsubomi, who quickly becomes tired of the same antics.
Arataka Reigen, a con man who poses as a psychic and uses Mob’s abilities for money, takes Mob under his wing to exert control over his abilities. Exorcising bad spirits on demand is becoming a routine part of Mob’s humdrum everyday life. One can watch Netflix, the remake of the anime series.
The enormously successful manga series of the same name has inspired several remakes of the original material. Erased is widely regarded as one of the greatest and the most accurate.
The protagonist of this fantasy/thriller is 18-year-old Satoru, who learns he has the capacity to travel across time after discovering his mother is dead. The drama that follows, which is occasionally harrowing and frequently poignant, will grip you from the first episode.
The show is available on many streaming platforms. With spin-off books and a movie adaptation in 2016, it has solidified its place in the expanding mainstream culture. Satoru Fujinuma, both as an actual child and an adult, is the tale’s subject.
He utilizes his newly discovered power to travel back in time to stop this crime from happening. One of the tragic scenes includes the death of his mother. Being the unfortunate prime suspect forces him to take advantage of the chance.
4. Miss Sherlock
About Miss Sherlock:
Dr. Wato Tachibana, a surgeon who recently returned from a volunteer medical mission in Syria. Sara Shelly Futaba, an investigation consultant to the sheriff’s office who resolves peculiar and challenging cases. Both Japanese women are the main characters in the modern Tokyo drama “Miss Sherlock.”
Throughout the series, the two use Miss Sherlock’s exceptional powers of observation and deduction to solve mystery after mystery with the power struggles.
One of the best Japanese movies we have on the list is “Close-Knit,” directed by Naoko Ogigami in 2017. Ogigami created the script after learning more about LGBT problems on a trip to the US.
The movie centers on 11-year-old Tomo Ogawa, who develops a bond with her transgender uncle’s girlfriend when Tomo’s mom, who has been parenting her alone, abruptly departs and abandons her. When that occurs, Tomo relocates to her uncle Makio’s home. This time, Makio is living with a transgender woman, Rinkio.
2. Alice In Borderland
About Alice In Borderland:
This bleak and grim future sci-fi thriller with exhilarating action scenes, stunning cinematography, and an intriguing idea will leave you wanting more. Alice in Borderland talks about a video game-obsessed young man without a job. He discovers a doorway to another universe where he and his pals must struggle to survive.
What follows is a sort of Hunger Games meets The Matrix mash-up that is quite compelling to watch. It is one of the best Japanese tv shows, which brings the concept of grim to the big screen. In this Japanese tv show, Arisu is a man with little wealth and good fortune but unemployed.
One day, he is suddenly engulfed in a blinding light, and in the aftermath, everyone in Tokyo perished. However, nothing happens to Arisu and her two companions. They are now forced to play a game of survival that is perilous and might end in death.
1. Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman
About Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman
Here is another one of the most popular Japanese tv shows, Kantaro, a salesman who presents himself as serious, skips work, and escaped to eat dessert. The movie is a comedy, settled in a workplace environment. One can witness endless laughter and funny scenes as the man will be on a journey to eat sweets between work.
Like a fictitious Food Network show, Kantaro visits an authentic Japanese restaurant in the middle of each episode. He orders dessert, and then thoroughly explains the creation of sweets. Kantaro frequently experiences bliss after eating sweets, and he sometimes has delusions that he is an ingredient. Moreover, he even quits his job as a systems engineer to have time to visit pastry stores.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. What are some of the best Japanese dramas on Netflix?
Atelier (2015), Terrace House (2012-2022), The Many Faces of Ito (2017), Kakegurui (2018), Old Enough (1991), Drifting Home (2022), Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (2019), Ride or Die (2021), Love You as the World Ends (2021), Fishbowl Wives (2022).
Q2. What are some of the best Japanese anime series on Netflix?
Death Note (2006-2007), Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996), Kotaro Lives Alone (2021), Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (2022), The Way of the Househusband (2021), A Silent Voice (2016), Asakusa Kid (2021), A Whisker Away (2020), Rilakkuma and Kaoru (2019), Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal (2021), Paprika (2006), Romantic Killer (2022).