Best Japanese Netflix Series | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Best Japanese Netflix Series

By Tony Tao Jul 15, 2020

Tokyo’s rainy season has come along with the emergence of a virus. Whether you are stuck indoors on a rainy day, or in the mood for a frenzied weekend binge, Netflix is such an invaluable source of comfort and entertainment to get lost in when you’re bored. The genre of anime offers a variety of titles every week including new series. Yet there are also beautifully crafted documentaries, heart-wrenching dramas and tv reality shows of guilty pleasure that are just as deserving of your time. Below are the best Japanese series currently streaming on Netflix, with English subtitles.

The Naked Director – Critical Thinking needed!

It is the show that we are all talking about. This full-front biopic series is based loosely on the true story of adult film director Toru Muranishi. The series is a humorous tale of his eccentric, frequently surreal life as an adult celebrity was blossoming at the height of the 1980s economic boom. The series is being renewed for the second season, Netflix has confirmed.

Considering the subject, it may not be shocking that female characters are not always handled fantastically, but it still presents a remarkably varied view of Japan ‘s sexual liberation, told with fittingly extravagant excess.

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories – Don’t watch with an empty stomach 

List this show under the heading ‘Don’t Watch Hungry.’ ‘Midnight Diner’ features a host of mouth-watering home-style dishes that will make you want all the Master’s recipes that night. 

Be warmed by your heart as you join these lone diners — from experienced lawyers to forlorn gamblers — at the table as they meet in this cosy dining room during the wee hours of the night.

The plot follows the unnamed Master, chef at a small Shinjuku restaurant, which is open from midnight until 7:00 a.m. In general, every episode is based around a dish ordered by one of the restaurant’s customers, each of whom has a particular relation to the food. Look no further for an insightful, contemporary Japanese drama that doesn’t require a cheat sheet.

Giri/Haji – Yakuza tales in Tokyo and London

After the assassination of the nephew of the Yakuza leader, Japanese detective Kenzo Mori flies to London to track down his uncle, Yuto. Yuto is also a Yakuza member, and he was charged with murder before he suddenly disappeared and thought he was dead.

Though produced in the UK, ‘Giri/Haji’ creates a surprisingly authentic thriller based on Japan’s notorious mafia-like gangs. With dialogue in both English and Japanese, this eight-part series weaves a riveting story of manipulation, corruption and fraternity. While the production of this ambitious intercontinental show took many risks, its razor-sharp script, slow-burning suspense and a host of compelling characters produce a profoundly satisfying experience.

Terrace House – Best Japanese reality TV shows?

Which set is going to be full of Japanese Netflix shows without Terrace House?

It’s not necessarily Big Brother, but sometimes the camera follows the ‘Terrace House’ participants as they leave home with friends for their different careers, dates or outings. Most recruits are single, allowing for plenty of chances for other participants to become romantically attached, then leads to numerous drama situations.

Every series begins with a different cast in a new place, ranging from Hawaii to rural Nagano to central Tokyo, and you can easily watch everyone’s first episode and find out which characters and atmosphere you get on best with your housemate

The Birth of Saké – a Sake documentary

It’s a particularly gruelling winter, and Yoshida Brewery’s saké makers are starting a laborious six-month cycle of historic saké making. The staff, between the ages of 20 and 70, face unwavering struggles as they strive to preserve the 2,000-year-old craft and retain the dignity of their world-class name that has been handed down over generations.

Sake is a critical aspect of the food and drinks scene in Tokyo, but the sake brewing process is less well known than winemaking. This stunning documentary provides a rare glimpse of the unseen world of independent saké breweries and the sacrifices that artisans have to make for their work.

Little Miss Sumo – a Sumo documentary

The oldest sport in Japan, Sumo, is one where women are still barred from entering the dohyo wrestling ring. Although Sumo is not officially recognized as a women’s sport in Japan, the sumo wrestler, Hiyori Kon, still aspires to become the world’s best female sumo wrestler.

After two women rushed out of the dohyo ring to support a Japanese mayor who suffered a stroke in 2018, there was heavy criticism of the Japan Sumo Association for allowing patriarchal gender roles to exist in modern society. Although the JSA apologized for an inadequate reaction to an urgent situation, there were no changes to the policy. This short but breathtaking documentary takes a realistic look at the sport, highlighting Sumo ‘s beautiful traditions and the negative stereotypes behind it.