Japanese Rom Com Dramas are full of exciting love stories, sometimes they are about forbidden or impossible love, but love always wins. Usually, a Romantic Japanese Drama has one season and an average of 11 episodes. Sometimes, the series continues as sequels and even gets spin-off movies. Rom-Com (Romantic Comedy) is one of the most popular genres of Japanese dramas. So, If you are looking for the best romantic Japanese dramas, you have come to the right place. In this post, we have gathered a lot of recommendations that will captivate you to keep watching and to get started on your binge journey.
1. The Full-Time Wife Escapist (2016)
Let’s begin this list with a lesson. Just because you graduate from university does not mean you are guaranteed a job. That is the case in this Japanese rom-com drama about a 25-year-old Moriyama Mikuri (played by Yui Aragaki). Despite graduating with a psychology degree and becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, her career is halted. This leads her to take a job as a housekeeper for Hiramasa Tsuzaki (played by Gen Hoshino), a 36-year-old “professional bachelor“. They enter a common law marriage and develop feelings for one another.
The main draw of the series is the humor between Yui Aragaki and Gen Hoshino. While the story seems simple, the minor nuisances each actor gives to their character make it so memorable. There’s genuine chemistry between the lead actors. Probably because they got married in real life! It’s not easy dating someone who can analyze your behavior patterns and call you a narcissist (with the credentials to know what they are talking about). Not to mention the impact this series had on Japan too. The romantic Jdrama’s theme song was performed by Gen Hoshino, with the cast performing a cute dance. This dance was dubbed The Koi Dance (love dance) and became an internet sensation in Japan when the drama was released.
2. Boys Over Flowers (2005)
Ah, the classic romantic Japanese tv show. Seriously, there have been numerous adaptations of this story for a reason. In this rom com drama adaptation of the manga series of the same name by Yoko Kamio, we follow Makino Tsukushi (played by Mao Inoue), a lower-middle-class girl enrolled in the prestigious school Eitoku Gakuen. However, due to an accident, she is targeted by the elite F4, the most popular kids at school. However, after enduring so much bullying, she punches the leader of the F4, Domyouji Tsukasa (played by Jun Matsumoto). From there, their friendship grows.
We have talked about the Chinese drama adaptation Meteor Garden in another article. Whilst this adaptation is more faithful to the manga series than that one, fans loved this series so much that it garnered a sequel series (Hana Yori Dango 2) and a Japanese movie to finish off this love story. Makino Tsukushi is brash, headstrong, and more than ready to take on the F4. The scene where she finally snaps is considered legendary, with the musical flourish and the brilliant acting from Mao Inoue and Jun Matsumoto. However, we warn you that there are some dating ideas in this drama as it is a product of its time.
See Related: The Top 30 Best Chinese Tv Shows, Ranked
3. Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (2020)
Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity can make you a powerful wizard?! Kiyoshi Adachi (played by Eiji Akaso), is a 30-year-old salaryman who is a virgin. On his 30th birthday, Kiyoshi Adachi begins hearing people’s thoughts when he touches them. Much to his surprise, he finds out that his popular co-worker Yuichi Kurosawa (played by Keita Machida) has a crush on him. The series follows these two become closer.
What a name for a Japanese rom-com drama! In all seriousness, this is a fluffy feel-good Jdrama. Most of the comedy comes from the juxtaposition Adachi hears between the outside Kurosawa and his inner thoughts. On the outside, he is as cool as a cucumber. Inside … not so much! The humor is on point, but so is the romance. It’s believable that these two slowly get together and become more comfortable. Even though there is a bit of heartbreak, it’s not that long-lasting. This is an entertaining and hilarious drama to watch (even if BL is not your cup of tea).
4. For You in Full Blossom: Ikemen Paradise (2007)
How far are you willing to go to meet your idol? Most people line up for hours for autographs or simply show their support virtually. Not Mizuki Ashiya (played by Horikita Maki)! She instead decides to disguise herself as a boy and enroll in the all-boys boarding school her idol is staying in. Her model, the high jump athlete Izumi Sano (played by Oguri Shun), has given up the sport due to an injury. Now, it is up to Mizuki Ashiya to get him to jump whilst also keeping up her disguise. This drama is loosely based on the manga series of the same name by Hisaya Nakajo.
What is it with girls disguising themselves as men in these Japanese rom-com dramas? It often leads to hilarious comedic scenes when people find out their secret. Ok, some of these scenes are very over-the-top with their comedy, but it adds charm to the show. There’s a lot to this short Jdrama romance, but the most interesting is the story between our main characters. Horikita Maki and Oguri Shun act their parts brilliantly, with a heartfelt story developing between the two of them. The side characters don’t slack off either. This is a drama you will be invested in from start to finish.
5. Gokusen (2002)
The Yakuza are members of a powerful crime family. They are not to be messed with in any way. Our main character, Kumiko Yamaguchi (played by Yukie Nakama), is a Yakuza boss’s granddaughter and heir. However, she has no intention of being a yakuza boss. Instead, she wants to become a teacher. Given a class full of delinquents, her unusual teaching methods led her to be the person they needed in rough times.
This is one teacher you’d want by your side rather than antagonize. Yankumi (as her students nicknamed her) goes beyond her duty as a teacher. Each episode sees her teaching the students something new, both in the classroom and in life. Also, it is hilarious. Some scenes split your sides from laughter (any scene with the headteacher). This series was based on a popular anime, it was so popular that the romantic Japanese drama got two sequels and a movie. As for the romance, it’s hinted that love sparked between Yankumi and a student Shin Sawada (played by Jun Matsumoto). However, this is not really explored in the drama. This is still a legendary romantic comedy that holds up over 20 years later.
See Also: The Top 15 Best Fantasy Romance Anime
6. From Five to Nine (2015)
28-year-old Junko Sakuraba (played by Satomi Ishihara) is not where she wants to be. She is single, having never really been in a relationship. After being tricked into using a matchmaking service, she is matched to a handsome Buddhist Priest, Takane Hoshikawa (Tomohisa Yamashita). This sounds great, except this is not their first meeting. In their first meeting at a funeral, she got weak in the knees and decorated his hair with spilled ashes! Still, first impressions aren’t everything.
This Japanese love story is already off to a great start just from the first meeting! Satomi Ishihara’s and Tomohisa Yamashita’s performances juxtapose one another. You’d think after the whole spilling of ashes on his hair, Junko Sakuraba was the weird one! To be fair, she has her moments. But Takane Hohikawa is one of the most bizarre characters in Japanese romcom dramas you’ll probably see. Thanks to the cast’s acting, the plot is not the best, but it is still enjoyable to watch.
7. An Incurable Case of Love (2020)
Doctors are amazing. If you have a medical emergency, they are the first to run in and help as much as possible (even when they are off duty). They are an inspiration. This is the case for Sakura Nanase (played by Mone Kamishiraishi) when she saw Doctor Kiari Tendo (played by Takeru Satoh) save a stranger’s life. Falling in love with him, she is resolved to see him again. She is now a nurse working at the same hospital as him five years later. Doctor Kiari Tendo is known as the ‘Devil’ for his cold perfectionism and harsh words to his colleagues. Still, that is not going to stop Sakura Nanase. She is determined to win him over.
They say you should never meet your heroes in real life! In all seriousness, you do groan a bit at the beginning. Also, there were some instances where they were having a good Japanese rom-com moment, but then one of the characters said something cheesy that just took you out of it. Both Mone Kamishiraishi and Takeru Satoh bring their own charm. Even though Sakura Nanase is annoyingly persistent (to the point you feel second-hand embarrassment for her), she is also endearing to the audience during the emotional moments of this drama. Kiari Tendo is rude at times, but his controlled emotions balance the two character’s dynamics. That doesn’t stop him from expressing himself when he wants to.
8. The Wallflower (2010)
Free-rent for you four boys if you can turn my gremlin of a niece into a proper lady! Yeah, that’s how to summarise this short rom com Japanese drama. Kyohei Takano (played by Kazuya Kamenashi), Yukinojo Toyama (played by Yuya Tegoshi), Takenaga Oda (played by Hiroki Uchi), and Ranmaru Morii (played by Shuntaro Miyao) are friends who are ‘renting’ a mansion from Mine Nakahara (played by Reiko Takashima). Instead of money, however, they are tasked with helping Mine Nakahara turn her niece Sunako Nakahara (played by Aya Omasa) into a lady. With each of the boys having a different approach, and Sunako Nakahara prefers to run around in a cape and leave skulls everywhere … yeah, this will be a challenge.
What draws the audience in is that each character has issues. Granted, some are more serious than others. For example, Sunako Nakahara’s social anxiety is more severe than Kyohei Takano’s beauty problems (he has been fired from every job because he is pretty). However, each character has a story to tell and their own battles to overcome. Out of all the actors, we must give props to Aya Omasa. She really gave off the gremlin energy needed to portray Sunako Nakahara. However, the best bit about this rom com drama is the message of acceptance. Each of the characters has flaws, but they accept one another. That is a message everyone needs to hear.
9. Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo (2013)
We return to another Japanese drama about high school romance with Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo. At a high school entrance ceremony, the not-so-smart high school student Kotoko Aihara (played by Honoka Yahagi) meets and falls in love with fellow student Naoki Irie (played by Yuki Furukawa). However, when she confesses, he coldly rejects her as he does not want to date a “dumb woman”. On top of that, due to a meteorite, her house is destroyed. Thus, Kotoko Aihara and her father must live at her father’s friend’s house. Guess who lives there?
We have noticed that Japanese girls can become quite ‘clingy’ and ‘creepy’ when they are chasing their love. Also, there are some over-the-top moments since this is an adaptation of the manga “Itazura na Kiss” by Kaoru Tada. There is a reason this series is one of the few in Japan to expand past one season. It is the chemistry and character development both these characters go through. Naoki Irie gives mixed signals to Kotoko Aihara, even though he does not know he is doing it. It’s an innocent love story. This adds to the series’ charm. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable Japanese romcom drama.
10. Nodame Cantabile (2006)
For some, music is a passion and a calling. However, music talent is constantly worked on to be excellent. However, this doesn’t mean every musician works the same way. That is the case for our main characters, Shinichi Chiaki (played by Hiroshi Tamaki) and Megumi Noda (played by Juri Ueno). These two could not be more opposite in their music styles. Shinichi Chiaki is methodical and a perfectionist. Megumi Noda is sloppy but talented at playing by ear rather than following a sheet. This is a tale of two students who learn from one another and become better musicians.
When it comes to romantic musicals, this must be one of the best romantic Japanese dramas. The protagonists started off on the wrong foot, meeting by accident. However, their journey is enjoyable because their character develops past the things holding them back. Of course, this short Japanese romcom was based on a josei anime that focused on music, so the OST is something worth bragging about. They went ALL out. With Nodame Orchestra performing the orchestral music, the studio went so far as to have actual members in the supporting cast. There was also professional support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra on the music. Hats off to music director Daisuke Mogi, orchestra conductor James DePreist and music composer Takayuki Hattori for blending classics and original music together. The acting is probably some of the best on this list, with both actors receiving awards for their performances.
11. You’re My Pet (2003)
WAIT! Do not judge this drama just on the English title. Iwaya Sumire (played by Koyuki) works at a prominent newspaper. After calling out a client for trying to sexually harass her, she is not only demoted but also told to treat it as ‘an honor’ by her boss (who also tries to sexually harass her). Angry and lonely, she finds an injured and unconscious young man lying in a box outside her home. Taking him in and patching him up, she notices how he reminded her of a pet dog she had named ‘Momo.’ The man she took in is Goda Takeshi (played by Jun Matsumoto), who is currently homeless. He even says he will be her pet in a desperate move to stay with her. Thus, the name.
We know there is a 2018 remake of this short romantic Jdrama. However, something is charming about the older version. Not to say the 2018 version is terrible, but the 2003 version has something. After seeing so many emotional women in these dramas, Iwaya Sumire was a breath of fresh air. She knows what she wants. Of course, she is not heartless and does have her own issues with her self-esteem. When Goda Takeshi shows her the respect and kindness no other man has shown her, she opens up to him. This was filmed in 2003 when the feminism movement was not as strong as today. So, having a strong-willed woman like Iwaya Sumire is a real treat. It also does help that Koyuki and Jun Matsumoto are acting powerhouses.
12. My Love Mix-Up! (2021)
This Japanese Rom-Com Drama is one of the newer tv shows on this list. My Love Mix-Up! tells the story of Sota Aoki (played by Shunsuke Michieda). He has a crush on Mio Hashimoto (Riko Fukumoto). However, he borrows an eraser from her, only to notice a name on there with a heart. Aoki interprets the eraser as Ida-Kun, as in his classmate Kousuke Ida (played by Ren Meguro) to be Mio Hashimoto’s crush. Devastated, he drops the eraser. Kousuke Ida picks up the eraser and mistakenly thinks Aoki is the one with a crush on him. This leads to multiple interests and Aoki himself wondering whether he really does feel something for Ida.
How much trouble can one eraser cause? The best thing about this short rom com drama is Ida’s approach when he thinks Aoki has a crush on him. He doesn’t outwardly reject him or shame Aoki. Instead, Ida promises to take his time to discover what this is and how he feels because he is currently unsure. That is progressive thinking, and here’s hoping more dramas follow suit. The cast ensemble is brilliant, as each actor pulls their own weight. However, Shunsuke Michieda knocks it out of the park with his acting. Whilst it seems over the top in some scenes, it’s so enjoyable to watch because of the awkward goofball character he is. Ida is the perfect match, calm, and understanding towards Aoki. This is a high school romance comedy you can watch on repeat.
13. Rich Man, Poor Woman (2012)
Once again, just because you are graduating does not mean you are guaranteed a job! Makoto Natsui (played by Satomi Ishihara) is a recent Tokyo University graduate attending a job fair. This is where she meets Hyuga Toru (played by Shun Oguri), CEO of a software firm and head of the ‘Next Innovation’ company. After he dismisses her for not meeting his requirements, Makoto Natsui, under the name Sawaki Chihiro, immediately impresses him with the information she has on his company. She is then hired one day after Hyuga Toru needs her memorization skills to impress a government official who is also a Tokyo University graduate.
This classic rich girl poor boy Japanese drama is often overlooked because the 2018 South Korean version is so popular. However, that would be a mistake. This adaptation lives up to the comedy in its genre. Shun Oguri is hilarious as the eccentric, hot-tempered and socially awkward CEO. Against him, Satomi Ishihara balances him out with her energetic and bubbly character. Each character develops in and out of this relationship, which is always a plus. The storyline is impressive, hooking the audience in as you continue watching. If you liked the 2018 Korean adaptation, you’d like this.
See Related: 10 Hot Korean Drama With Lots Of Skinship
14. Love Of My Life (2006)
We’ve talked about a rich man and a poor woman falling in love. Now, it’s the opposite. In this romcom Jdrama, the rich girl falls in love with the poor boy. Tsukioka Nao (played by Ayase Haruka) is the daughter of a wealthy jewelry shop owner. She has lived a privileged life and thus has a more innocent view of the world. Kanzaki Hiroto (played by Kamenashi Kazuya) has had a hard life, with a struggling small ship repair factory and the health of his ill mother and brother on his shoulders. When these two cross paths, each of them influences one another.
If you are sick to death of unnecessary love rivals or drama and just want a love story between two people with different outlooks on life, Love Of My Life is the drama for you. Ayase Haruka and Kamenashi Kazuya play off each other so well. They each bring their own charm to the table. The romance is sickly sweet at times, but you know what you signed up for. It’s also positive that it has that same nostalgic feeling that You’re My Pet gives viewers of the early 2000s.
15. Dating: What’s It Like To Be In Love? (2015)
Yoriko Yabushita (played by Anne Watanabe) and Takumi Taniguchi (played by Hiroki Hasegawa) could not be more different. Yoriko Yabushita is an economics expert tracking trends concerning macroeconomics. However, she is slightly inept when it comes to her social skills. Takumi Taniguchi is unemployed, investing all his time in reading, arts, and entertainment. Supported by his mother, he knows he cannot keep up with this lifestyle. They see marriage as a contract and get put together through a marriage agency. However, they soon begin to see marriage another way.
Most of us have wondered what it is like to be in love with someone at some point in life. How do we know we have fallen in love with someone in that way? Yet, most of us weren’t looking when it just happened. That’s the experience this rom-com Jdrama gives off. These two characters are each different and have their own share of baggage. They are hilarious moments as the two of them must adapt to one another. However, at its core, this is a drama about the idea of love.
16. Rebound (2011)
What do you pick – food or relationships? Food! Ok, that was way too quick of an answer on my part! However, this is the dilemma facing our protagonist Nobuko Oba (played by Saki Aibu), who gains and sheds weight like no tomorrow. She is convinced that she will get her dream man and career if she is skinny. After being dumped by a guy because of her weight, she loses 45KG. She is then hired by a prestigious fashion magazine, and her first assignment is to do a feature article on a new pastry shop owner. When romance blossoms between her and the chef, it’s time for Nobuko Oba to pick her priorities.
Not going to lie; this did cause some jealousy. If we all had a fat suit, we could just remove it and be skinny. Anyways, one of the reasons why this Japanese Rom-Com Drama is so high on the list is the discussions about weight and stress. We all tend to neglect ourselves one way or another. At some point, life happens, and it takes a toll. With all the hilarious moments, there are also emotional ones. However, this drama has a little fat-shaming (by a little, we mean a lot). If that thing triggers you, look at another drama on this list!
17. Hapimari: Happy Marriage!? (2016)
This Japanese rom-com drama follows two strangers placed in an arranged marriage to benefit each other. Chiwa Takanashi (played by Nana Seino) is an office lady with a part-time job at a club to pay off her parent’s debt. One day, she gets into an argument with a wealthy customer, which ultimately causes her to be fired. Returning to her workplace, she finds the man from before, businessman Mamiya Hokuto (played by Dean Fujioka). He proposes a deal with her, a contract marriage in exchange for her debts being cleared. There’s more to this arrangement than meets the eye.
Another arranged marriage storyline! Many people complained about the pacing and plot, but others said it was good. Because of the fan base, we speak to investigate it yourself. It has a stellar cast and looks impressive. But, with this romance Jdrama and the others on this list, you should give it a watch and decide whether it’s your cup of tea.
18. My Little Lover (2015)
Remember that liquid in Alice in Wonderland that Alice drinks to shrink? Well, that can’t explain what happened here. Chiyomi Horikiri (played by Maika Yamamoto) is a smart girl. For as long as she can remember, she has had a crush on her childhood friend Shunichi Minami (played by Taishi Nakagawa), who was close to her but became distanced after his father disappeared. After arguing with her parents, Chiyomi Horikiri wanders off and sleeps in a cave from her childhood. When she wakes up, she finds out she is only 15cm tall! Shunichi Minami manages to find her, and together they must figure out a way to turn her back to normal.
This is such a light-hearted drama in comparison to the last two. The premise is unique and silly, and the drama takes full advantage of its comedic elements. It also lends itself to heartfelt moments. The actors here are young but show incredible promise. Looking at what they accomplished after this drama, this assumption is correct. It’s not trying to be anything revolutionary. My Little Lover is just a happy-go-lucky drama to binge when you want something cheerful and happy to watch.
19. Overprotected Kahoka (2017)
There comes the point where every child becomes more independent and must face the world on their own. Nemoto Kahoko (played by Takahata Mitsuki) is overprotected. Even though she is a university graduate and job hunting, she is heavily reliant on her mother, Nemoto Izumi (played by Hitomi Kuroki), for simple tasks such as waking up and picking up clothes. This changes when Kahoko meets Hajime Mugino (played by Ryoma Takeuchi). He slowly helps her become independent.
Honestly, we all need a friend like Hajime Mugino at times. The quest for independence is challenging, making this one of the most relatable Japanese romcom dramas. Takahata Mitsuki plays the out-of-depth and innocent girl so well. She resembles Rachel Green from Friends without knowing basic things like cooking or driving. But she is so endearing that we can’t help but root for Kahoko to find her way. It’s a simple drama but effective and tells the story it wants to tell. You know it’s a good romance when the actors don’t even have to kiss or hug to have chemistry whilst on screen.
20. Pretty Proofreader (2016)
Based on the novel “Koetsu Garu” by Ayako Miyagi, this is the story of Etsuko Kono (played by Satomi Ishihara). Etsuko Kono is an aspiring fashion editor who finally joins a publishing company, only to be put in the copy editing section. There, her job is to be a pretty proofreader. From there, it’s a journey to get to where she wants to be.
We’ve all had to take jobs we don’t want, for one reason or another. However, it would not be so bad if we had this hilarious banter in the office. Each episode is funny, with Satomi Ishihara bringing her own charm to the role. The supporting cast does not slouch either. For a good laugh, check out this romantic tv show.
21. A Story to Read When You First Fall in Love (2019)
A Japanese love triangle drama. Harumi Junko (played by Kyoko Fukada) should be living her best life. That is not the case. After being rejected from her dream university, Harumi Junko finds herself working as a teacher at a private clam school. To make matters worse, her job is in jeopardy after multiple students repeatedly drop her class. However, within a day, Harumi Junko went from having no romance prospects to having various. Three different guys confess their feelings to her. They are her long-time friend, Masashi Yakumo (played by Kento Nagayama), student Yuri Kyohei (played by Ryusei Yokohama) and Yuri’s high school teacher Kazuma Yamashita (played by Tomoya Nakamura). Well, now what?
There are no inappropriate scenes and apparent boundaries regarding the relationship between a student and a teacher. Overall, the way Yuri and Harumi’s relationship is platonic. He loves her because she is the teacher who stood up for him. Part of the humor comes from Harumi’s absolute lack of awareness that three guys are trying to win her heart. The characters in this 2019 Jdrama are well-written, and the central characters have complex personalities. Also, props to the characters for not turning into douchebags for her love. When it comes down to it, all the characters are there for one another. Just because they like the same person does not mean they lose their humanity towards one another.
22. Legal High (2012)
Ace Attorney comes to life in the final drama of this list! Not really, but it sure feels like it with these two characters. Legal High is a courtroom drama with two main leads. Kensuke Komikado (played by Masato Sakai) is a lawyer who has never lost a lawsuit by gathering powerful testimonies and creating solid arguments. However, he is not an honorable man and no longer cares about justice, just winning. His foil is Machiko Mayuzumi (played by Yui Aragaki), an upcoming lawyer with a strong sense of justice. These two butt heads on their law views but ultimately work together for their clients.
This rom-com drama is not that heavy on the romance but is this show funny. Masato Sakai is hilarious. Speaking at lightning speed and with exaggerated movements, he is brilliantly contrasted with Yui Aragaki’s more subdued acting. Each case is different and well written, with intelligent dialogue both in and out of the courtroom. This is probably the show’s biggest strength, the different perspectives on justice from a young hopeful to a lawyer who has seen it all. This and their talks and growing relationship are just as interesting as every speech in the courtroom. It’s a drama that will stay with you for some time.