The Most Popular Japanese Drama, Ranked

Choose the drama you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jul 24, 2024 06:57
Fans of Japanese dramas understand that choosing what to watch next can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of available series. By assembling a frequently updated list of top-rated dramas, viewers can save time and dive straight into watching quality content. This ranking provides an accessible guide to identifying which dramas resonate most with audiences, helping new viewers and seasoned fans alike make informed viewing choices. Your votes directly influence the live rankings on this site, making it a dynamic and crowd-sourced tool for drama discovery. Whether you're a fan of poignant romances, thrilling mysteries, or intense dramas, your participation helps shape the list. This democratic approach ensures that the rankings reflect current trends and viewer preferences, providing a continually refreshed lineup of must-watch television.

What Is the Most Popular Japanese Drama?

  1. 1

    Hana Yori Dango

    Based on a popular manga, it follows the life of a girl enrolled in a school for the ultra-rich, where she encounters the F4, a group of the four wealthiest boys.
    • Year: 2005
    • Genre: Romance, Drama
  2. 2

    1 Litre of Tears

    A heart-wrenching story based on the real-life struggles of Aya Kito, a girl who suffered from an incurable disease.
    • Year: 2005
    • Genre: Drama, Family
  3. 3


    A comedy and drama series about a young teacher from a Yakuza family who ends up teaching a class of delinquents, aiming to guide them onto the right path.
    • Year: 2002
    • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  4. 4

    Nodame Cantabile

    A unique blend of music, romance, and comedy, this series tells the story of two very different music students who help each other grow and succeed.
    • Year: 2006
    • Genre: Music, Romance, Comedy
  5. 5

    Good Morning Call

    A romantic comedy that follows the story of two high school students who end up living together due to a housing mix-up.
    • Year: 2016
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy
  6. 6


    A suspenseful series about a man with an ability to prevent deaths and catastrophes by being sent back in time before the incident occurs.
    • Year: 2017
    • Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi
  7. 7

    Terrace House

    A reality television series that follows the lives of six strangers who live together while their relationships are observed and commented on.
    • Year: 2012-2020
    • Genre: Reality-TV
  8. 8

    Rurouni Kenshin

    Though originally a manga and anime, Rurouni Kenshin has been adapted into a successful live-action drama series, telling the story of a wandering samurai in Meiji era Japan.
    • Year: 2012
    • Genre: Action, History
  9. 9

    Shitsuren Chocolatier

    A romantic drama about a young chocolatier who tries to win over the heart of the woman he loves by perfecting his chocolate.
    • Year: 2014
    • Genre: Romance, Drama
  10. 10

    Midnight Diner

    Set in a late-night diner in Tokyo, this series explores the stories of its patrons, ranging from the heartwarming to the heartbreaking.
    • Year: 2009
    • Genre: Drama

Missing your favorite drama?

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Japanese drama. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or drama is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 109 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each drama once every 24 hours. The rank of each drama is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Japanese Drama

Japanese dramas, often called "J-dramas," have a rich history. They first appeared in the 1950s. These dramas quickly gained popularity. They became a staple in Japanese households. The format of J-dramas is unique. Each series usually has 10 to 12 episodes. This makes them concise and easy to follow.

The themes in J-dramas vary widely. They cover romance, mystery, comedy, and family issues. Some focus on social problems. Others highlight personal growth. This variety attracts a broad audience. People of all ages watch J-dramas.

One key feature of J-dramas is their emotional depth. They often explore complex relationships. Characters face real-life challenges. This makes the stories relatable. Viewers connect with the characters. They feel their joys and sorrows.

The production quality of J-dramas is high. Directors pay attention to detail. They use beautiful settings. Music plays a big role too. It enhances the mood of each scene. The acting is also top-notch. Many actors become household names.

Another reason for their popularity is the pacing. J-dramas move quickly. They avoid unnecessary filler. Each episode advances the plot. This keeps viewers engaged. They eagerly await the next episode.

J-dramas also reflect Japanese culture. They show customs, traditions, and daily life. This appeals to international viewers. They get a glimpse into Japanese society. Subtitles make these dramas accessible to non-Japanese speakers.

Streaming platforms have boosted their reach. People around the world can now watch J-dramas. This global exposure has increased their fan base. Social media also plays a role. Fans discuss episodes and share their thoughts online.

J-dramas often inspire adaptations. Some become movies or stage plays. Others get remade in different countries. This speaks to their universal appeal. The core stories resonate with people everywhere.

The influence of J-dramas extends beyond entertainment. They impact fashion and trends. Fans often emulate the styles seen in their favorite dramas. This has a ripple effect on the fashion industry.

In summary, J-dramas have a unique charm. They offer a mix of strong storytelling, high production values, and cultural insight. Their emotional depth and variety of themes make them appealing to a wide audience. With the help of streaming platforms, their popularity continues to grow worldwide.

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