We have a list of some of the best Japanese series on Netflix with English subtitles which you cannot miss if you are a fan of Asian dramas. This list includes different genres including romance, high school dramas, mystery, thriller and dramas which highlight the issues of bullying and mental illness.
1: Alice in Borderland (2020-2023):
Alice in Borderland is a mystery thriller Japanese series o Netflix. It is one of the popular Japanese shows which is based on Manga. The series is focused on two friends who are trapped in an abandoned city in Tokyo. They have to compete in a deadly game and if they lose, they can die. If a player loses, a red laser from the above kills it.
The J series has graphic violence and people equate it with films like Royale Battle and Cube. The popular Japanese drama has 8 episodes. There is also a second season of Alice in Borderland on Netflix and the story progresses with other deadly games. It has become one of the most popular Japanese dramas on Netflix in recent times.
2: Fishbowl Wives (2022):
Fishbowl Wives is another Japanese series adapted from Manga. The story is focused on the life of a housewife who considers herself a goldfish living in a Bowl. the reason is she is going through physical, emotional and verbal abuse at the hand of her husband. Her life seems a happy one from the outside but inside the four walls of the house, she is miserable. Just like the fish, she cannot escape. One day, she meets a man who changes her thinking and life. The cast includes Ryoko Shinohara, Takanori Iwata and Masanobu Ando.
3: Mr. Hiragi’s Homeroom (2019):
It is one of the Japanese thriller series on Netflix. The drama stars Yuto Nakajima as the protagonist, a high school teacher named Kento Hiragi who becomes the homeroom teacher for a class of problematic students.
The story revolves around a past incident which is connected to this specific class and Hiragi. A few months back a girl is being bullied and died because of mental torture. Hiragi joins the school to teach a lesson to these stubborn students. He wants them to realize their mistakes in order to make them good humans. Hiragi is also facing lots of personal problems. The drama deals with the themes of bullying, family problems and mental health.
It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix based on a manga of the same name and it deals with teenage issues.
4: Good Morning Call (2016):
It is one of the best Japanese series on Netflix which is a romantic comedy. It is also based on the manga series of the same name. The series has 17 episodes.
The story revolves around two high school students, Nao Yoshikawa (played by Haruka Fukuhara) and Hisashi Uehara (played by Shunya Shiraishi), who end up renting the same apartment without knowing that the other will also be living there. As they start living together, they develop feelings for each other but face various obstacles along the way.
It is one of the Japanese series in which the couple live under the same roof. The series explores the themes of young love, friendship and it s a light hearted Japanese drama. It is also one of the popular Japanese series.
5: Secret Unrequited Love (2019):
Just like many other Japanese series, this one is also based on a manga written by Yukimo Hoshimori. The story revolves around a childhood love story in which a high school student in love with his classmate since childhood.
The story is about Takuma who has a heart condition and he knows he can die at any time. He is in love with Mayu since childhood. Despite his condition, Takuma decides to confess his love to Mayu and asks her to be his girlfriend. Mayu does not agree at first but eventually, she agrees to date him and a secret relationship between them begins.
Takuma’s health begins to deteriorate and Mayu becomes very worried. She tries her best to persuade him to get treatment but Takuma prioritises their relationship. There are many ups and downs in their relationship while they try to make it better, the fear of Takuma’s death is always there. It is an emotional drama with the themes of love and loss.
6: From Today Its My Turn (2014):
This is one of the Japanese shows on Netflix which is also known as “Kyou wa Kaisha Yasumimasu” in Japanese, which roughly translates to “I’m Taking the Day Off Work Today.”
The story revolves around a 30-year-old woman named Hanae Aoishi (played by Haruka Ayase), who has been working as a temporary worker at various companies for the past 10 years. She is smart and capable but lacks confidence and often doubts her own abilities. She has a crush on her boss, Toshiaki Kouno (played by Takumi Saitoh), who is a successful and handsome businessman.
One day, Hanae is assigned to work as Kouno’s temporary secretary. She is thrilled but also nervous about the opportunity to work with the man she admires. However, things don’t go as planned, and Hanae struggles to keep up with the demands of the job. Kouno is initially cold and critical of Hanae’s work, but as he gets to know her better, he begins to see her potential and helps her gain confidence in herself and her abilities.
Throughout the series, Hanae faces various challenges at work and in her personal life. She also develops relationships with her co-workers, including Kouno’s assistant, who becomes a good friend and confidante. It is one of the Japanese dramas which is based on a boss-employee relationship.
7: My Husband Wo’nt Fit (2019):
It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix which explores the bold theme of sexuality and s*x. The story revolves around a newlywed couple, Michiko and Kazuke, who are struggling to have a normal sex life because Kazuke’s p*nis are too big for Michiko. The show deals with the couple’s efforts to overcome this problem and the challenges they face along the way.
The series is based on a manga of the same name by writer and artist Kodama Kozue. The show stars actress Kaho and actor Nijiro Murakami in the lead roles of Michiko and Kazuke, respectively. The theme of the series gained attention as it is very uncommon in mainstream Japanese television to show these types of shows. Despite this, the series managed to receive positive reviews.
8: Switched (2018):
The story of this Japanese drama is about a high school girl who is constantly bullied by her classmates. Ayumi is mentally tortured and she is fed up with her life. One day she wakes up in the body of a popular classmate named Zenko. Everyone thinks Zenko has a perfect life. While living in the body of Zenko, Ayumi learns more about her life and the struggles she was facing. There are some secrets that Zenko was hiding from everyone.
Throughout the series, Ayumi tries to solve the mystery behind Zenko’s sudden disappearance and deal with her own personal issues. She also tries to find out the reasons behind her bullying and tries to make things right. The series has 6 episodes.
9: How to Eliminate My Teacher (2018):
The story of this Japanese series on Netflix revolves around a troublemaker Ayuha. She is expelled from several schools due to her behavior and every time she transfers to a new school, she manipulates the teacher to quit.
After she transfers to a new school, she thinks now she has to get rid of her new teacher Yoshitaka. Ayuha is intelligent and uses it to make trouble. She thinks just like she did in the past, she can make the teacher quit, However, Hiromitsu proves to be a formidable opponent. The show is praised for its plot and strong performances by the actors. It is also based on a manga of the same name.
10: Asuka High School March (2003):
It is one of the Japanese dramas on Netflix which is based on a novel by Kazumi Kazui and features a cast of young actors, including Shun Oguri, Satomi Ishihara, and Hiroki Narimiya.
The drama follows the lives of a group of high school students at Asuka High School, a prestigious school known for its rigorous academic program and competitive entrance exams. The students come from different backgrounds and have different aspirations, but they share a common goal of succeeding in their studies and getting into a top university.
The main character is Takao Matsumoto, played by Shun Oguri, a brilliant but rebellious student who struggles with the pressure of his high-achieving family and the expectations of his teachers. He is joined by a group of friends who support each other through the challenges of high school life, including romantic relationships, family problems, and academic competition.
11: The Journalist (2019):
It is one of the Japanese dramas on Netflix which is based on the novel “Shinbun Kisha” by Isoko Mochizuki, a political journalist who covers the Japanese government and is known for her hard-hitting reporting.
The drama follows the story of Erika Yoshioka, a young journalist who works for a fictional newspaper called the Tōto Daily. Erika is passionate about her work and is determined to report the truth, even if it means going up against powerful politicians and business leaders. Her editor, Sugihara, is supportive of her work but also understands the risks involved in investigative journalism.
Throughout the series, Erika investigates a number of high-profile stories, including a corruption scandal involving a powerful politician and a cover-up of a public health crisis. As she delves deeper into these stories, Erika faces threats and intimidation from those who want to keep the truth hidden.
It is one of the Japanese thriller series on Netflix which also creates an atmosphere of suspense.
12: Duty/Shame (2019):
“Duty/Shame” (also known as “Giri/Haji” in Japanese) is a British-Japanese television series that premiered in 2019. The series follows a Tokyo detective named Kenzo Mori, who travels to London in search of his younger brother Yuto, who is believed to have fled to London after being accused of killing a Yakuza member.
As Kenzo navigates the seedy criminal underworld of London, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous web of deceit and corruption that threatens to destroy his family and his career. Along the way, he encounters a cast of complex characters, including a troubled young woman named Sarah, a British detective named Rodney, and a Yakuza boss named Fukuhara.
“Duty/Shame” is one of the Japanese thriller series on Netflix.
13: Love You as The World Ends (2021):
It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix which follows the story of two women, Yui and Rena, who find themselves in a world where the end of the world is imminent. Yui is a university student who has never been in a serious relationship, while Rena is a married woman unhappy with her life.
Despite their differences, the two women become close and eventually fall in love as they navigate the challenges of their relationship in a world that is ending. As the end draws near, Yui and Rena must confront their own fears and insecurities and make the most of the time they have left together. It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix 2021 which explores a bold theme.
14: Weakest Beast (2020):
Weakest Beast is a play on words in Japanese. The phrase can be interpreted as “weakling” or “coward” but also refers to a type of flower called “yowai Kemono” in Japanese. The story revolves around the life of a former lawyer named Kishikawa Naoko, who becomes a mediator at a legal firm after facing a personal tragedy that led to her suspension from the bar.
The drama explores the themes of personal growth, resilience, and the importance of connections with others.
15: Kakegurui (2018):
Kakegurui is a Japanese live-action television drama series based on the manga of the same name by Homura Kawamoto and illustrated by Toru Naomura. It explores the dangerous and dirty game of gambling.
The series follows the story of Yumeko Jabami, a transfer student at Hyakkaou Private Academy, a prestigious school for children of wealthy and influential families. However, the school has a secret social hierarchy based on gambling, and students who are good at gambling are considered to be at the top of the hierarchy.
Yumeko, who has a love for gambling and a talent for reading her opponents, challenges the top gamblers of the school in high-stakes games that test their nerves and cunning. However, as she climbs the social ladder, she soon discovers that there are dark secrets lurking behind the school’s gambling culture, and she must use all her wits to survive.
Those who win become masters and they make the losers their slaves. The slaves are treated really badly by the whole school until they would pay their debt which is hard to pay.
16: Born to be a Flower (2021):
This Japanese show on Netflix is also known as “Hana ni Umareta” in Japanese. The drama is based on a manga series of the same name by Miwako Sugiyama. The story revolves around a young woman named Yoko, who is born into a family of flower shop owners. Despite her family’s wishes for her to take over the business, Yoko dreams of becoming a veterinarian. The series explores Yoko’s journey as she struggles to balance her family’s expectations with her own aspirations.
The show stars Moka Kamishiraishi as Yoko, along with other cast members such as Ryo Yoshizawa, Yuka Itaya, and Yo Yoshida.
17: Death Note (2015):
“Death Note” is one of the best Japanese series on Netflix based on the manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The drama series was produced by Nippon Television and aired in Japan from July to September 2015.
The story revolves around Light Yagami, a high school student who finds a mysterious notebook that has the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it. Light decides to use the notebook to rid the world of criminals and becomes known as Kira, a god-like figure who is worshipped by some and hunted by others.
However, Light’s actions do not go unnoticed, and he soon finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with L, a brilliant detective who is determined to catch Kira and bring him to justice.
The drama series follows the same basic plot as the original manga and anime adaptations but features some differences in character portrayals and plot details. It is one of the popular Japanese thriller series on Netflix.
18: Ju-On Origins (2020):
It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix which is a horror web series. It is a prequel to the “Ju-On” film series, which is also known as “The Grudge” outside of Japan.
The series consists of six episodes and tells the story of a paranormal researcher named Odajima, who investigates a mysterious haunted house where a series of tragic events have taken place over the years. As she delves deeper into the house’s history, she uncovers a terrifying curse that has been passed down from generation to generation.
“Ju-On: Origins” takes a different approach to the “Ju-On” franchise than previous adaptations. It aims to explore the origins of the curse and the psychological and emotional toll it takes on the characters who encounter it. The series is notable for its slow-burning and atmospheric horror, which is in contrast to the more visceral scares of the earlier films.
19: The Cowards Who Looked to The Sky (2012):
It is one of the Japanese films which is based on a novel by Misumi Kubo. The story follows a young girl named Anzu (played by Tomoko Tabata) who works in a factory and lives alone in a small apartment. Anzu is a shy and introverted person who is often bullied at work. One day, she meets a young man named Yabuike (played by Kento Nagayama) who is also a social outcast.
As Anzu and Yabuike get to know each other, they develop a strong connection and begin to confide in each other about their past traumas. Yabuike is haunted by a tragedy that occurred in his past, while Anzu struggles with the loss of her mother and the emotional abuse she suffered from her father.
As the two grow closer, they find solace in each other’s company and help each other to confront their fears and find the strength to face their problems. However, their relationship is threatened when Yabuike’s past catches up with him and puts both of their lives in danger.
“The Coward Who Looked to the Sky” is a powerful and emotional film that explores themes of trauma, isolation, and the healing power of human connection. The film features strong performances from its cast and has received critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of its characters and their struggles.
20: Doctor X (2012):
It is one of the popular medical Japanese series on Netflix. The show centres around Daimon Michiko, a skilled and unconventional surgeon who is known as “Doctor X” due to her tendency to operate on difficult and unusual cases that other doctors refuse to touch. Michiko is portrayed by actress Ryoko Yonekura.
Throughout the series, Michiko takes on a variety of medical cases and battles against rival doctors and hospital administrators who try to stand in her way. She is known for her no-nonsense attitude, strong will, and impressive surgical skills. The show is known for its fast-paced storytelling, thrilling surgical scenes, and colorful characters.
21: I’M Home (2015):
It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix which is based on a manga of the same name. The story follows a man named Shingo, who works as an advertising executive in Tokyo. After a successful career, he suddenly loses his job and returns to his hometown to live with his elderly father.
As he struggles to adjust to life in the small town, he reconnects with old friends and meets new people, including a woman named Ayumi who runs a local cafe. As the series progresses, Shingo begins to rediscover the importance of family and community and realizes that the things he thought were important in life may not be as valuable as he once believed.
22: Nobuto Wo Produce (2005):
“Nobuta wo Produce” is a Japanese drama that aired in 2005. The series is about a high school student named Shuji (played by Kazuya Kamenashi) who is popular and well-liked by his peers but lacks a sense of purpose in his life. His life changes when he befriends a new transfer student named Nobuko (played by Maki Horikita), who is the target of bullying and harassment by their classmates.
Shuji decides to take it upon himself to help Nobuko become more popular and confident and enlists the help of another student named Akira (played by Tomohisa Yamashita) to create a plan to “produce” Nobuko and transform her into a more outgoing and likeable person. Together, the three of them navigate the ups and downs of high school life and try to find their place in the world.
The series was well-received for its heartwarming story and strong performances by its young cast. It also deals with themes of friendship, identity, and the pressures of conforming to societal expectations. “Nobuta wo Produce” has since become a cult classic in Japan and has been credited with launching the careers of its three leads.
23: Re:Mind (2017):
It is one the Japanese thriller series on Netflix. The series was directed by Takashi Miike and written by Koji Tokuo.
The story follows eleven high school girls who wake up in a large dining room with no memory of how they got there. They soon discover that they are trapped in a mysterious room with a countdown clock on the wall, and they are unable to leave. As the clock ticks down, they begin to unravel the truth behind their imprisonment and the dark secrets that they each hold.
The series is known for its suspenseful atmosphere, unexpected plot twists, and psychological exploration of the characters. The cast of Re:Mind includes young actresses Mugi Kadowaki, Sarina Ushio, and Rina Matsuno.
“Re:Mind” consists of twelve episodes, with each episode being approximately 25 minutes long.
24: The Most Difficult Romance (2016):
The story of this Japanese drama follows the story of a woman named Riko Shirono (played by Horikita), a genius legal scholar who has never lost a case in court. Despite her professional success, Riko struggles to connect with others and has never been in a romantic relationship.
One day, she meets a man named Kota Kashiwagura (played by Omori), a former judge who resigned from his position due to a scandal. Despite their vastly different backgrounds and personalities, the two of them begin a romantic relationship that proves to be challenging due to various obstacles in their personal and professional lives.
The drama explores themes of love, trust, and personal growth as the two main characters navigate their relationship and overcome various challenges.
25: Japan Sinks People of Hope (2021):
“Japan Sinks: People of Hope” is a Japanese drama series that was released in 2021. It is one of the Japanese series on Netflix which is based on the novel “Nihon Chinbotsu” by Sakyo Komatsu, which was first published in 1973. The series is directed by Masaaki Yuasa and produced by Science Saru.
The story follows the lives of the Muto family, who are trying to survive after a catastrophic earthquake hits Japan. The earthquake causes massive destruction, and the family must overcome various obstacles and challenges to stay alive.
The series explores themes such as family bonds, human resilience, and the will to survive in the face of adversity. It also highlights the importance of community and mutual support during times of crisis.
26: Toko Tarareba Girls (2017):
It is one of the Japanese shows on Netflix which is based on a manga of the same name by Akiko Higashimura. The series follows the life of a 30-year-old single woman named Rinko Kamata who is a successful screenwriter but struggles with her love life.
Rinko and her two best friends, Kaori and Koyuki, frequently meet at a bar and discuss their romantic experiences and desires. Rinko becomes infatuated with her handsome and successful ex-boyfriend, whom she re-encounters after many years. She starts to question her life choices and wonders if she has made the right decisions.
As the series progresses, Rinko learns to confront her insecurities and overcome her fears. She also begins to appreciate the love and support of her friends, who help her navigate the challenges of being a single woman in her thirties.
The drama explores themes such as the challenges of modern dating, the pressure to conform to societal expectations, and the importance of female friendships.
27: Your Turn to Kill (2019):
It is one of the suspense Japanese thriller series on Netflix. The show follows a group of colleagues who work at a trading company and become trapped in a game of death. The main character of the show is Kyosuke Yoshikado, played by Takeru Satoh, who is a salesman at the trading company.
One day, he wakes up in a strange room with his colleague, Madoka Takagi, played by Haru. They soon realize that they are trapped in a game where they must kill each other in order to survive. The game is controlled by a mysterious figure known as “King,” and the only way to escape is to kill the other players.
As the game progresses, Kyosuke and Madoka must work together to survive and find a way out of the game. Along the way, they are joined by other players, including a detective and a former soldier. Together, they must uncover the truth behind the game and find a way to stop “King” before it’s too late.
28: Daddy is My Classmate (2020):
The show is based on a manga of the same name by Hiro Shimozono and stars Koji Seto, Akiko Yagi, and Yuka Ogura in the lead roles. This is one of the Japanese dramas on Netflix whose story follows the life of a 37-year-old man named Kento (played by Koji Seto), who is forced to repeat his final year of high school due to a bureaucratic mix-up.
Kento finds himself in the same class as his own daughter, Akari (played by Akiko Yagi), who is initially embarrassed by her father’s presence in her class. The drama explores the ups and downs of Kento’s relationship with his daughter and her classmates, as well as his own personal struggles and growth. It touches on themes such as family, friendship, and the importance of education.
29: Emergency Interrogation Room (2005-2009):
This is one of the intense Japanese thriller series on Netflix. The show follows the story of a police officer named Jin Honma, who works in the Emergency Interrogation Room, a special unit of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department that handles the most difficult and dangerous cases.
The show is known for its intense and suspenseful storytelling, as well as its strong focus on character development. Each episode features a new case that Honma and his team must solve, often involving high-stakes and complex situations. Honma is known for his unorthodox methods and his willingness to take risks in order to solve a case.
The show was highly successful in Japan and has been praised for its gripping storytelling and realistic portrayal of police work. It has also been adapted into a manga and a film. If you enjoy crime dramas and suspenseful storytelling, Emergency Interrogation Room is definitely worth checking out.
Apart from Netflix, you can also watch these Japanese dramas Here.
This is our list of best Japanese series on Netflix. How many have you watched?