The 20 best Japanese TV series

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1.
The Family (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A unique observational series that documents the universal themes of family life, as British families open their doors to viewers.
“ Also known as "Karei-naru Ichizoku", A soap opera genre with a vintage picture. A must watch for every drama lover as the plot is absolutely stunning and captivating and the acting is as if the actors and actresses will never going to act again. Starring Takuya Kimura and Kitaoji Kinya ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
2.
Liar Game (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Trusting, gullible Nao suddenly finds herself participating in the mysterious Liar Game, a game where...
“ Kanzaki Nao is an honest college student who receives a hundred million yen one day, along with a card saying she has been chosen to take part in the "Liar Game". The aim of the game is to trick the other players out of their hundred million dollars. At the end, the winner gets the hundred million and the loser is a hundred million yen in debt. The next day, she receives notification that her opponent is her former teacher, Fujisawa Kazuo. She goes to him, seeking help, but ends up getting tricked into handing her money over. Desperate, she approaches the police for help, but they are unable to do anything. However, she is told of a mastermind swindler, Akiyama Shinichi, who is to be released from jail the next day. Desperate, she goes to him for help. -- Rikayla ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
3.
Change (2008 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
“ With the deaths of ruling party's Fukuoka Member of Parliament and his eldest son, his heir apparent, in an plane accident, a by-election had to be held right away and, Kanbayashi Masaichi, the House secretary of the ruling party,conceived the idea of fielding the second son, Asakura Keita, and sent his secretary Miyama Rika to complete the task.

Keita was an elementary school teacher in Nagano and his hobby was star gazing.He had no interest in politics. At Rika's persuasion and the pressure of his family, he reluctantly agreed to run for office but with no intention of winning. However, with the help of Nirasawa Katsutoshi, an election strategist, he went on to win by a narrow margin of just 164 votes.

When the Prime Minister was forced to resign over allegation of sexual harrassment, Kanbayashi concocted the idea of nominating the inept Keita to run for the party's leadership and thereby becoming the next Prime Minister as he thought it would be easy to manipulate him and work the situation to his own advantage so he would become the next PM when Keita failed. However, the sincerity and hard work of Keita soon won over every sceptic and as Kanbayashi found out, he was not a puppet on his strings. Kanbayashi had to come up with another scheme to destroy Keita. How far would he go to realize his ambition? Could he succeed? ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
4.
Boys Over Flowers (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Makino Tsukushi, coming from a humble family of reduced income, feels out place at Eitoku Gakuen, a... (45 mins.)
“ Makino Tsukushi is the only poor student at Eitoku Gakuen, the school of the ridiculously rich and privileged that is ruled by Flower 4 or F4, a group of four boys who come from extremely powerful families: Domyoji Tsukasa, the leader and heir of the Domyoji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a large company; Nishikado Sojiro, a player who is the heir of a tea ceremony school; and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer with ties to the underground. If a student gets on the F4’s bad side, he/she gets a red notice and is bullied and driven out of school.

Makino hopes to pass her days quietly-- without drawing any attention to herself-- but one day, she stands up to Domyoji in defense of her friend. The next day, Makino gets the dreaded red notice. Even though she is harassed, Makino decides to keep going to school because she is a "tough weed". She declares war right back on the F4. Her resolve gets the attention of her crush Hanazawa Rui and oddly enough, rouses romantic feelings in her worst enemy, Domyoji Tsukasa.

The series is based on the Japanese shoujo manga "Hana Yori Dango" (Boys Before Flowers) by Kamio Yoko. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
5.
Tiger & Dragon (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The show revolves around Rakugo, a traditional Japanese comedy that can look back on a 400 year long history. It tells about a Yakuza who goes to a Rakugo performer to collect debts, and a talented comedian who tries to change his destiny.
“ The tale of Tiger & Dragon revolves around Rakugo, a traditional form of Japanese comedy that can look back on an impressive 400 year long history. Nagase portrays the Yakuza follower Toraji who goes to a Rakugo performer to collect debts, while Okada plays Ryuji a talented Rakugo player who wants to leave behind the old fashioned world of Rakugo for good. Shortly afterwards these two very different characters happen to cross paths through a girl named Megumi and that's when all the real trouble starts igniting... ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
6.
Boss (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
(54 mins.)
“ This series revolves around a group of peculiar detectives in a new division created to fight against an increase in atrocious crimes. Osawa Eriko is a beautiful career woman who has just returned from training in the U.S. and is appointed as the "boss" of this division. But despite her intelligence and capabilities, she can never understand a man's heart, so she remains unable to find a husband. In fact, her assignment in the U.S. was really a demotion after she ruined her career track over a man. So why was she chosen as the boss of the new division? Even though the detectives are talented, they all have some kind of issue or flaw, and they are considered to be the "problem children" of the police force. In the end, the division's true purpose is just to isolate these problematic detectives. --Tokyograph ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
7.
The Queen's Classroom (2005 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Maya Akutsu (Yuki Amami) began her class teacher career in 1998 April. The class (Primary 6) Maya taught was problematic...
Director: Hitoshi Iwamoto
“ Yuki Amami plays Maya Akutsu, a sixth-grade teacher who dresses all in black and is repeatedly referred to as "oni sensei" (the teacher from hell), when, in fact, she seems to be an ultrarealist at heart. The drama focuses on a year in her classroom and, particularly, the effect it has on 12-year-old Kazumi--a nice but mediocre student whose parents want to send her to a private secondary school.

Akutsu-sensei accomplished this feat by introducing a test-based rank and privilege system on the first day. The highest scorers on the Monday morning test get their choice of seats and other perks while the two lowest scorers are burdened with all the chores for the week from blackboard and toilet cleaning to serving lunch. The system also disallows toilet breaks during class because this reflects an inability to manage one's own schedule.

Kazumi gets the first week's work assignment along with the class clown, a warmhearted boy who is not nearly as silly as he acts. The child actors in the series are all likeable pros who give realistic portrayals of the wide spectrum of an average classroom from the isolated serious students to the sophisticated girls who think they already know what life is all about. Akutsu-sensei lets them know immediately that they do not have a clue.

When the students protest her system and call it unfair, she tells them to open their eyes. In Japanese society, she lectures, those who work hard or have influence get all the privileges, and the lazy or less affluent end up with the leftovers. She says only six in 100 people can expect to be happy and the elite already have most of the advantages and access to the best medical care. She tells them that, as products of the public school system, they will have to scramble to get anything at all, and most of them will end up as "bonjin" (ordinary people), to whom those on the top will be happy to leave the soldiering and service-sector jobs. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
8.
My Boss, My Hero (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The series is mainly about a 27 year old man named Makio Sakaki. His purpose is to become a successor after his father...
Director: Jun Ishihara
“ Sakaki Makio, also known as "Tornado" is a tough 27-year-old high school drop-out. By academic standards, he's pretty dumb. His father decides to force Makio to return to high school to receive his diploma and he asks an old friend who happens to be the principal of a nearby school to admit Makio. If Makio doesn't graduate, the position of boss will be given to his younger brother, Mikio.


Furthermore, he must pose as a 17-year-old during school hours and in the presence of any classmates or teachers outside of school. If his cover is blown, it would be the end of his high school career as well as his hopes to become boss. Things start out rough and tough as Makio's violent temper is tested. As the lessons and days go by he learns there is much more to school than just tests and studying. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
9.
Nobuta wo produce (2005 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Shuji (Kamenashi Kazuya) is one of the most popular guys in school. He tries to avoid Akira (Tomohisa Yamashita)...
“ Kiritani Shuji is the popular guy who gets along with everyone, from the jerks to the nerds to the just plain weird. The one person Shuji cannot stand is Kusano Akira. To Shuji, Akira is just plain annoying. He laughs, talks and acts funny. Things heat up when a new student comes to school. Her name is Kotani Nobuko, a girl who has no self confidence at all and is content at being made fun of and bullied in school. Shuji and Akira come to an accord that in order to make use of their "youth" they will "produce" Nobuko as the next popular girl. One of the conditions, however, is that nobody should find out that they are working together as a team to make this concept possible. Unveiled here is the story of true friendship between three unlikely candidates who would not have been friends if not given the special circumstances. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
10.
Buzzer Beat (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Fate brings together Shirakawa Riko and Kamiya Naoki-but fate is fickle.While Riko is an aspiring violinist,and Naoki a hopeful pro-basketball player...
“ Kamiya Naoki is a young player from a professional basketball team. But due to his relatively smaller size and his tendency to crack under pressure, he is unable to show his true skills on the court. Meanwhile, Shirakawa Riko is a cheerful, strong-spirited music college graduate aiming to become a professional violinist. One day, Riko finds Naoki's lost cell phone on a bus, and their meeting begins a friendship that eventually turns into love. However, Naoki was already considering marriage with his current girlfriend. And it doesn't help matters that Naoki's coach has fallen in love at first sight with Riko! --Tokyograph ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
11.
Mr. Brain (2009 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A Japanese crime scene investigation team recruits a neuroscientist to aid them as they try to solve cases. With his intelligence, he uses logic to deduce who commits the crime and how. (58 mins.)
“ Tsukumo Ryusuke is a quirky, yet brilliant neuroscientist working for the National Research Institute of Police Science. Wielding a unique perspective and psychology, Tsukumo tackles the nation's most baffling crimes and scandals, going head-to-head with the most brilliant and twisted criminal minds. But his eccentricities and poor social timing can also aggravate people and circumstances, further complicating matters. --TBS ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
12.
1 Litre of Tears (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
This TV drama version of "Ichi rittoru no namida" tells the story of 15-year-old Ikeuchi Aya, an ordinary girl and a new highschool student... (47 mins.)
“ 15-year-old Ikeuchi Aya was an ordinary girl, the daughter of a family who works at a tofu shop, and a soon-to-be high schooler. However, odd things have been happening to Aya lately. She has been falling down often and walks strange. Her mother, Shioka, takes Aya to see the doctor, and he informs Shioka that Aya has spinocerebellar degeneration - a terrible disease where the cerebellum of the brain gradually deteriorates to the point where the victim cannot walk, speak, write, or eat. A cruel disease, as it does not affect the mind in the least. How will Aya react when told about her disease? And how will Aya live from now on? ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
13.
Brother Beat (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
“ Tanaka Misako stars as a woman struggling to raise her three sons - played by Tamayama Tetsuji, Hayami Mokomichi and Nakao Akiyoshi - after her husband dies. Kuninaka Ryoko will appear as Tamayama's girlfriend, Chisato.

They don’t know when to stop, and live life to the full—meet the never-a-dull-moment Sakurai family, where nobody holds their feelings back. Returning to serial drama for the first time in five years, Misako Tanaka and the three hyperactive sons provide a story with a heartbeat. Sakurai Harue (Tanaka) who has brought up her sons alone after her husband died, is absolutely hopeless at running a household. Her eldest, stickler Tatsuya (Tamayama), does the job in her place while keeping younger brothers Riku (Hayami), and Junpei (Nakao) firmly in line. The sparks are constantly flying, but that’s the way it goes in this home. Tatsuya, a serious-minded advertising agency worker, and his brothers, an easy-going swimming instructor and rather naïve student, are three good-lookers who, along with their useless live-wire of a mother, keep getting into all sorts of scrapes—in love and at work. This is the Sakurai household, where everything hangs loose and everyone always speaks their mind. Tanaka says she really loves this ‘perfect family.’ They are sure to win your hearts too! ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
14.
Kurosagi (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Kurosaki, aka Kurosagi (Yamashita Tomohisa), is a swindler who cheats other professional con artists... (45 mins.)
“ Kurosaki is a young man whose family was destroyed by swindlers. Despite that, Kurosaki grows up to become a con artist known as Kurosagi. As Kurosagi, he swindles other con artists and returns the money to the original victim. He works with the master swindler Katsuragi Toshio even though Toshio had a hand in the destruction of Kurosaki’s family. Kurosaki's life begins to change when he meets Yoshikawa Tsurara, a young law student who disapproves of his disrespect of the law. Can she persuade Kurosaki to give up swindling and his quest for revenge? ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
15.
“ "Please tell me who I really am."

This e-mail message was sent by Mika Kimoto, an editor working at a publisher in Daiba, Tokyo.

Coming from a wealthy family, Mika has always had everything she has ever wanted and more. She is a third-generation Korean living in Japan. She loves her job, and her Japanese boyfriend is a doctor.

There's one thing that bothers Mika though... Her father Masao is very conscious of his ethnic heritage and will allow Mika to marry only a Korean. When her relationship falls apart because of her father's interference, she just happens to post the above message on a mobile phone dating service.

Ryosuke, a blue-collar warehouse worker at Shinagawa Pier, replies to Mika's message.

Daiba and Shinagawa Pier are separated by Tokyo Bay. Mika is a career woman working at a major firm. Ryosuke lives a meager life doing manual labor at a warehouse. There seems to be nothing in common between the two. Still, destiny brings them together.

One day Mika happens to find her late mother Yuri's diary. Written within is the tale of Yuri's concealed relationship with a Japanese man before she married Masao. Mika finds out her mother's hidden past and her passion for the man she loved. Without knowing it, she is about to follow the same path as her mother.

-- Fuji TV ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
16.
Tatta hitotsu no koi (2006 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
(54 mins.)
Director: Hitoshi Iwamoto
“ A story of pure love between the son of a man who runs a ship repair factory beset with financial troubles and the well-bred daughter of a national jewelry chain store owner. The backdrop of the story is Yokohama.

If you feel you have lost the purity of your soul by watching stories about womanizers seducing impudent women, or by carrying out calculated maneuvers in your own love life, here is a story for you. A boy and a girl from highly different social backgrounds meet and fall in love. Their love, of course, faces a lot of obstacles. The setting is in Yokohama, a modern port city known for its romantic atmosphere. Hiroto Kanzaki (Kazuya Kamenashi) works hard every day and night for the survival of a small ship repair factory (inherited from his father) as well as the survival of his mother and younger brother, who are suffering from health problems. Living such an underprivileged life, Hiroto has forgotten how to smile. In contrast to him, Nao (Haruka Ayase) is the daughter of a popular jewelry shop owner in a fashionable street in Yokohama. She attends a prestigious exclusive women's college and grew up cheerful and blessed with affluent love. From the moment Hiroto meets her, his closed mind slowly opens up to Nao, who is so innocent that she utters whatever she thinks. Their three close friends, who are also 20 year old's, play an important role in their developing relationship.

The scriptwriter is Eriko Kitagawa, who earned the nickname "The Goddess of Love Stories." This classic love story enables those who are in the same generation to feel empathy, or be envious of the characters' lives; and the rest, who were once 20 years old's, to reminisce about their own "Love of My Life." ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
17.
Nodame kantâbire (2006 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Two musicians united in talent, divided by nature - the upper-class perfectionist Chiaki and the sloppy middle-classer Nodame - fall in love. (47 mins.)
“ Based on the hit comic book by Tomoko Ninomiya, this is a fun-filled quirky romantic story of two very opposite people.

Megumi Noda, or "Nodame" is a piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. An extremely talented pianist who wants to be a kindergarten teacher, she prefers playing by ear rather than reading the music score. She is messy and disorganized, takes baths several days apart and loves to eat, sometimes stealing her friend’s lunchbox when it is filled with delicacies.

Shinichi Chiaki, is Momogaoka’s top student. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. An arrogant multi-lingual perfectionist who once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy, he feels mired in Japan because of a childhood phobia.

They meet by accident. Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame’s unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Because of Nodame, Chiaki got the opportunity to lead a student orchestra and begins to have a broader appreciation of people's musical abilities. Because of Chiaki, Nodame faces her fears and enters a piano competition. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
18.
For You in Full Blossom - Ikemen Paradise - (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Mizuki disguises herself as a boy and transfers to the same all-boys high school her idol, Izumi Sano, a high-jump athlete that gave up on the sport, attends. In between the antics of their classmates, she'll try to get him to jump again. (54 mins.)
“ Based on a popular comic, this hilarious comedy follows the chaos, troubles and friendship at a boys’ boarding school after a girl-disguising-a-boy joins. Ashiya Mizuki has just come back to Japan from California where she was raised. She fell in love with Sano Izumi, a hopeful high jump hero, who has quit after an accident. As she wants him to go back to the sport once again, she enters the same high school as a boy! With a short hair, flattened chest and lowered voice, she starts sharing the same room with Sano. --Fuji Creative ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
19.
Gokusen (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The story follows Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a yakuza boss and teacher at an all-male private school.
“ The story of a young, idealistic teacher who enters Shirokin Gakuen with hopes of making a difference in the students' lives. However, Yamaguchi Kumiko (Nakama Yukie) is in for a rude awakening when she finds that she will be the homeroom teacher of 3-D, the hardest class to maintain in the school. The students have multi-colored hair, sloppy uniforms, and show absolutely no respect to her. The leader of the class, Sawada Shin is lazy but bright and shows some interest in Yamaguchi when he notices that she is very different from other teachers. The students try to bully her to make her quit, but their attempts don't get them very far.

What the class and the rest of the school does not know is that Yamaguchi Kumiko is actually the 4th generation heir to the Ooedo Group, a notorious yakuza clan. Even though her family would like her to take the title of Ojou when her grandfather dies, they have accepted the fact that Yamaguchi would rather be a teacher.

Eventually, the students learn to respect their quirky teacher because of her devotion to them, and even give her a nickname: Yankumi. ” - Nasser Al Jassem
 
20.
Dragon Zakura (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Kenji Sakuragi is a lawyer and former member of a motorcycle gang. He takes on the challenge of preparing a special class for a famous stupid school, Ryuuzan to enter the prestigious Toudai University.
Director: Takashi Komatsu
“ Sakuragi Kenji is a destitute lawyer and one-time member of a motorcyle gang trying to guide failing high school students with an average score of 36 into Japan's most prestigious educational institution, Tokyo University (Toudai).

"If you want to change your life, get into Toudai!"

For no other reason than Sakuragi's personal ambition, he has advertised his intention to produce 5 successful Toudai applicants from the students of a nearly bankrupt failure of a school.

"If you want to change your life, get into Toudai!" He will get them from this lowest of all schools into Japan's number one!!

Our protagonist, Sakuragi Kenji, played by Abe Hiroshi in his first role as a high school teacher, is a must see in this summer's new show. This third rate lawyer soon becomes the homeroom teacher for the special advanced class aiming for Toudai University entrance. Hasegawa Kyouko costars as english teacher and Sakuragi's opponent, and Yamashita Tomohisa from NEWS and Nagasawa Masami also appear in the role of students. This awaited original work and fascinating world view is brought to you from the popular serialized comic in Shuukan Morning (Kodansha) and has even been updated!

In addition to revealing essential test taking techniques for everyone who wants to know how to get into Toudai, Dragon Zakura will also teach the essentials of living one's life. ” - Nasser Al Jassem