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Japanese Dramas to Add to Your Watchlist in 2024

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While the craze for South Korean dramas and reality shows continues, new Japanese dramas are gradually receiving the same kind of love from fans. Streaming platforms like Netflix are adding new Japanese content to their rosters and if you are looking for some suggestions, we suggest some shows that you should definitely look out for in the coming months of 2024.

While many instantly (and rightfully) think of cult anime such as One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Pokémon Concierge, live adaptations of Japanese content are gaining attraction globally. FX’s Shōgun, Netflix’s Alice in Borderland and House of Ninjas, along with other titles have recently captivated audiences in thrilling ways. Japan is a lucrative market for streaming services as well. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Amazon Prime (22%) and Netflix (21%) take up the majority of the $4.6 billion streaming video-on-demand revenue market in the US.

With high-quality cinematography and gripping characters, the roster of Japanese dramas in 2024, though few, offers quite interesting stories. From romance and biography to crime thrillers, this list has something for everyone. Keep an eye out for announcements for their release dates as most of them are yet to be revealed – but we’re sure that they are worth the wait.

Check out our list of the best Japanese dramas of all time

Exciting live-action Japanese dramas to watch in 2024

The Queen of Villains

Directed by: Kazuya Shiraishi

Cast: Yuriyan Retriever, Karata Erika, Gouriki Ayame

Synopsis: Dump Matsumoto (portrayed by Retriever) always dreamt of becoming a successful professional wrestler in a male-dominated wrestling community. In the 1980s, she became Japan’s most famous and beloved female wrestler. This show is an intense biographical drama that opens the world to the personal and professional hardships of Dump Matsumoto.

About the show: One of the key story arcs to look forward to in this Japanese drama is the rivalry between Matsumoto and Crush Gals, comprising Nagayo Chigusa and Lioness Asuka. Additionally, eyes are also on Retriever, a popular Japanese comedian, who will reprise the role of Matsumoto.

Tokyo Swindlers

Japanese dramas 2024 - Tokyo Swindlers
A still from Tokyo Swindlers. (Image: Courtesy of Netflix)

Directed by: One Hitoshi

Cast: Go Ayano, Etsushi Toyokawa

Synopsis: A group of land scammers con their way to stealing large sums of money in the real estate Business. With multi-million dollar properties at stake, the battle between deception and truth keeps getting intense and more people fall for the scam as detectives attempt to discover the mastermind behind it.

About the show: The show is based on the best-selling book, authored by Ko Shinjo, of the same name.

Beyond Goodbye

Directed by: Kurosaki Hiroshi

Cast: Kasumi Arimura, Kentarô Sakaguchi

Synopsis: Saeko’s (Arimura) life comes crashing down on the most important day of her life – the day of her engagement to her boyfriend Yusuke (Sakaguchi), who dies in a car accident. She is devastated and numb to her surroundings, until a few months later, when she chances upon Naruse and feels an unknown connection. What she is yet to know is that Naruse received Yusuke’s heart in a transplant operation.

About the show: According to Netflix, this 2024 Japanese drama is written by Yoshikazu Okada popular for “his
human drama works among the Japanese audience.”

Romantic Anonymous

Directed by: Shô Tsukikawa

Cast: Han Hyo-joo, Oguri Shun

Synopsis: A shy but smart chocolatier gets a job at a small chocolate factory. Her social anxiety makes her work a bit difficult but things take a comic turn as she gradually starts falling in love with another person who is just like her. The series is a remake of the 2010 French-Belgian movie Romantics Anonymous by Jean-Pierre Améris.

About the show: This is an exciting addition to the list of Japanese dramas in 2024 solely because of the star-studded cast. Han Hyo-joo is a leading Korean actress revered for her dramas and movies such as Moving and Believer 2, while Oguri Shun is an A-lister in the Japanese industry known for his roles in Boys over Flowers and Gokusen, among others.

House of Ninjas

Directed by: Dave Boyle

Cast: Kento Kaku, Yosuke Eguchi, Tae Kimura, Kengo Kora, among others

Synopsis: A dysfunctional but formidable ninja warrior family living an ordinary life is thrust into a crisis management situation. They abandoned their skills years ago but must now bring out their secret lives to fight emerging threats.

About the show: House of Ninjas was released on February 15 on Netflix, and has an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2 rating on IMDb.

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok.

FAQs

What is the most popular drama in Japan?

Global interest in Japanese dramas has been on the rise thanks to popular dramas such as Alice in Borderland, Tokyo Vice and Midnight Diner, among others. Although not a J-drama, Shōgun, set in ancient Japan, is currently one of the most famous dramas with its gripping storyline and action-packed cinematography.

Which is the best romantic Japanese drama?

Romantic Japanese dramas are filled with intense emotions, heartbreak and passion. Some of the best series that people swear by in this genre are An Incurable Case of Love, First Love, My Love Mix-Up!, Good Morning Call and Promise Cinderella.

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