5 Best Japanese Soap Operas

Thursday, January 20 by Annette Smith

If you like Japanese television drama, here are the five best Japanese soap operas. Combining drama with comedy, romance, and even sports, these entertaining soaps are very popular in Japan. Distinctly different from each other, these five shows offer something for every viewer.

  1. “Good Luck!!” “Good Luck!!” is a Japanese soap opera starring Takuya Kimura and Kou Shibasaki. The story centers on an airline pilot and his interactions with people on the way to becoming a captain. Like many Japanese television programs, this one combines drama with romantic comedy for a fun viewing experience.
  2. “Great Teacher Onizuka.” “Great Teacher Onizuka,” usually abbreviated “GTO,” is a unique Japanese soap opera. Based on shonen manga, the 1998 live-action drama is marketed primarily to teenage boys. The story centers on a former juvenile delinquent who works as high school teacher who uses unorthodox methods to reach his students. The series stars Takashi Sorimachi, Nanako Matsushima, and Aya Enjoji.
  3. “Love Generation.” “Love Generation” is a Japanese soap opera from 1997. The very popular TV series featured music by Cagnet, an American pop and R&B group that debuted in Japan. The show centers on two bantering, bickering colleagues whose work relationship turns to love. It stars Takuya Kimura, Ryuta Kawabata, and Yoko Moriguchi.
  4. “Pride.” The 2004 Japanese soap opera “Pride” features drama, romance, and sport. The series revolves around a corporate ice hockey team and their love interests. The lead roles feature Takuya Kimura, Noriko Nakagoshi, and Koichi Sato.
  5. “Waterboys.” “Waterboys” is another Japanese soap opera that blends romantic comedy with a sports theme. The 2003 series centers on the trials and triumphs of a group of high school boys as they learn synchronized swimming. The show stars Takayuki Yamada, Mirai Moriyama, and Eita Nagayama (known simply as Eita).